Zero waste is a set of eco-habits that don’t appear instantly. However, simple steps will not require a lot of effort and money but will make your kitchen cleaner. This article will tell you everything about it.
By Archie Adams
If you’ve decided to reduce your ecological footprint, but don’t know where to start, here are some tips on how to start producing less waste in your kitchen. The path to waste reduction is a process that takes time! It will not be possible to completely stop producing garbage in one day or even a month. Therefore, do not try to implement all the tips at once. On the contrary, try to get used to one thing and then move on to mastering new advice.
Of course, there can be a lot of such tips. We have collected the most basic and simple steps for your eco kitchen design that immediately give a good result. And if you are no longer a beginner, then these tips will help you easily introduce the concept of Zero Waste to your loved ones.
Dive into our Zero Waste kitchen ideas to find out more!
Try replacing the simplest disposable items that are not recyclable. For example, skip plastic bags. Buy a fabric bag or shopper and carry it with you in case of spontaneous purchasing.
Pay attention to household products without packaging—for example, solid soap or natural detergents that can be poured into your container. After using liquid analogs, beautiful plastic bottles end up in the trash can. But if you are using bar soap or natural products, then the bottle is not needed.
Try to buy everything in bulk. Today, you can buy not only food but also washing powder, dishwasher detergent, and soap in your own container. Reusable eco-friendly bags for vegetables and fruits eliminate the need to use disposable bags.
Try the bread from the bakery. It is not always more expensive, but at the same time, it is much tastier than in a supermarket. Besides, the bakery has the opportunity to abandon plastic packaging. There, you can take baked goods from the container with tongs and put them in your bag.
Many plastic containers, disposable appliances, and bags are often used for packing and delivering food to go. You can reduce waste by cooking more often at home and practicing slowfood. Or choose a delivery that uses eco-packaging. In the case of take-out food, feel free to bring your container and ask them to pack the food for you.
Replace disposable kitchen accessories with reusable items
According to zero-waste blogger Antonia Ko, your best choice is a beautiful reusable bottle – metal, silicone, or glass – and take your water with you. A reusable glass or mug (plastic, bamboo, cork) is also useful. The habit of taking a cup from home, like keys or a cell phone, will develop pretty quickly. Plus, you can reduce waste in the form of plastic bottles and coffee cups.
Reusable wax wipes will successfully replace the plastic wrap. They are convenient to use when traveling, storing food in the refrigerator and the kitchen cabinets, or wrapping a snack in them – fruit or a sandwich. The wax wipe takes up little space and is easy to clean.
Replace dishwashing sponges with eco-friendly counterparts. Ordinary foam sponges do not last long and cannot be recycled after use. Alternatively use:
- brushes made of natural materials,
- cellulose sponges,
- sisal sponges.
Dishwashing detergents are sold in plastic containers. Their composition is also not always healthful, and often after washing, the product is poorly washed off the dishes. You can find more sustainable options for a clean kitchen and save money. There are such alternatives:
- Soda. It cleans well, is inexpensive, and comes in paper packaging.
- Mustard powder. A natural remedy that works best with greasy covers.
- Laundry soap for washing dishes. Long-lasting and can also be used for washing anything.
- Dishwashing liquid in bulk. Bring your container to the store and take as much as required.
Baking soda is excellent for cleaning sinks and surfaces. The lemon peel with salt also does the job well and leaves a citrus scent. However, you should find out what kitchen worktops are best for such kind of cleaning.
Instead of tea bags, make tea in a teapot or strainer. In addition to paper, teabags often use nylon, nonwovens, adhesives and are bleached with chlorine. Tea for brewing is not only cheaper than packaged tea but also of better quality. Besides, a loose leaf tea can be easily found in bulk.
Sort and recycle waste
Most of the garbage that accumulates in your kitchen bins is packaging and old things: unnecessary or used up. Today there is an opportunity to give them for processing, and it is essential to use this option.
The contents of the bin usually consist of recyclable dry waste, packaging (plastic, paper, glass, metal), organic waste (peelings, shells, food leftovers), and non-recyclable (checks, tea bags, diapers). Start with the habit of collecting plastic and paper separately, which can be disposed of in your kitchen recycling bins. If recycling trash bins are not installed in your yard, you can bring recyclables to a collection point or call special services. Organic food waste can be shredded and then sent to the sewer.
Plastic packages and foil are difficult and often very expensive to process. Therefore, it is better to choose glass. It is the best container as it can be recycled endlessly. Remember, biodegradable bags are not the greenest option. They disintegrate into microplastics and, in this form, get into wastewater and then into the World Ocean. Not only fish and animals suffer from microplastics, but also people: tiny particles inevitably end up in food.
Find out what kitchen waste can be composted. Even in a city apartment, you can make a compost bin a part of your kitchen accessories: you need a plastic container and a particular solvent. The whole house can be organized to be waste-free, but the main thing is not to bring garbage from outside.
Plan your purchases in advance
Most of all, household waste is generated from food: packaging and food waste (half-eaten/spoiled food). With the right shopping experience, waste can be significantly reduced.
- Make a list of all the meals you cook.
- Choose some fast-to-cook meals you know well.
- From this list, take only those recipes that allow you to regularly buy ingredients without packaging or get them from your kitchen garden.
- Skip new and exotic recipes that require cooking for three hours; leave them for special holidays.
- Make a menu for the week from the general list of foods. You can use applications that automatically generate a shopping list from recipes.
- Check your foods at home, so you don’t buy what you already have.
- Buy groceries once a week (or split your purchases 2 times a week if something can get spoiled).
- Find unpackaged products available to you in your area.
- Based on the grocery list, prepare pouches, jars, and shopping bags.
- If you have not compiled a grocery list in advance, create a minimum set of jars and pouches and carry them with you or put them in the trunk of your car.
Zero waste is not just giving up a disposable bag or plastic cover for a coffee cup. Instead of hundreds of products, use several environmentally friendly, natural analogs. Start small to believe how much one person can do for the planet’s ecology.
We’ve only given you basic tips on how to minimize your trash and start the Zero Waste journey in your life. The kitchen is the heart of the home and the most important place to start with. Pick one or two points and work your way towards your goal in growing steps, allowing your life to rebuild. We wish you success in this important endeavor.
Tell us, have you tried to make your own kitchen Zero Waste? Share your tips in the comments below.
Archibald was a builder for more than 40 years. After his retirement, the enthusiastic electrical has become a vegetarian on his homestead. He is happy to keep a healthy way of life with his garden and self-build kitchen. He writes for blog mykitchenadvisor.com to share the idea that it’s never too late to make some healthy changes in your life.