In our society, we are conditioned to think that the more things we have, the better. But this is simply not true when it comes to your kitchen. The best way to create a zero waste kitchen is by swapping out disposable items for reusable ones and embracing sustainable practices. Here are 7 simple swaps for a zero waste kitchen!
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What is a zero waste kitchen?
A zero waste kitchen is one that produces no trash. This means you need to be mindful of what goes into your garbage and recycling bins, as well as how much food gets wasted in the process (even if it’s not yours).
The first step towards a green-friendly home starts with understanding where our rubbish ends up after we throw something away or recycle an item – which can seem daunting at times! But don’t worry; this article will walk through it all.
How can I make my kitchen waste zero?
It’s astonishing how much debris we produce in our homes. Whether it be old food, plastic spoons from takeout, or even wrappers from candy bars. It all adds up to what the average person creates in a year: 2 million pounds of waste!
The first step is understanding where your garbage goes and how recycling works so that later on down the line you are prepared with knowledge should you want to go green.
It’s important to reuse any items you can, as well as make more environmentally friendly switches. To help you make those green swaps towards a zero waste kitchen, read on.
7 Simple Swaps For A Zero Waste Kitchen:
I never advocate for throwing out items, but I’m going to tell you about something that might change your mind.
Do you know how there are so many new zero-waste products coming out? Well, the next time you’re cooking with a Teflon pan, just think of all the perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA) it contains! It’s super toxic when it enters the environment and can last forever. It’s also harmful to your health too – the EPA has recently proven that PFOA can cause reproductive, developmental, liver, kidney and immunological systems to harm.
That’s why I recommend switching to stainless steel pans instead. They’re sturdy and heat up really quick–plus they don’t contain any PFOA! Switching over is easy and better for your environment.
If stainless steel pans aren’t your thing, then GreenPan is a great brand for eco-friendly pans.
Green Pan, the maker of non-stick pans made from recycled metals, is a company I can get behind. This company is so environmentally friendly that they have solar panels on their roof and an amazing recycling program! They even use a curing process which results in 60% less CO2 emissions than other methods.
The coating on their pans are made with sand and the body of their pans are made using recycled metals. The metal handles stay cool to the touch; even if you’re cooking at high heat. What’s more, they’re oven-safe so you don’t have to worry about switching out your cookware when it comes time to transfer from stovetop to oven. All this for less than $50 – what do we have here? A match made in heaven.
You don’t have to throw out your old items to get new items. Most of the time you can reuse and repurpose items. Think about it— do you really need to throw away your tupperware just to buy a whole new set? Consider using that same item (or something else from your current stash) for more than one job, as I sometimes do with my plastic tupperware.
I personally use mine for bits and bobs in the shed, bobby pins, hair ties, etc.
I’m all about avoiding needless plastics in the zero waste kitchen. I don’t use Tupperware and opt for good ol’ trusty glass containers with lids. There are a few other types of glass food storage you might want to consider too!
- Ecozoi Stainless Steel 3-In-1 Metal Box
- DE Plastic-Free Glass Food Storage Containers
- Ecozoi Extra Large Leak-Proof Stainless Steel Box
3. Single-Use Bottles
Nowadays, many people are choosing tap over bottled water. Not only is it more regulated, but the longer we drink our local water supply the better our bodies will be because of the natural minerals in it.
Bottled water may be regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, but tap water is regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency. The EPA’s regulations are more strict and transparent than those of FDA. This means that tap water is better regulated than bottled water, making it safer and more environmentally friendly.
Is the taste of your water leaving you unhappy? Consider getting a filter and ditching the single-use bottles. You could also invest in a stainless steel bottle which will last longer and is plastic free.
4. Dish Sponges
You know that sponges should only be used for two weeks before being thrown out, right? But I don’t think about it because I use compostable dish scrubbies.
Dish scrubbies are a great way to avoid using dish sponges. They’re made from biodegradable materials, so they won’t be sitting in landfills for years and decades like traditional sponge-ware would!
Check out some of my favorite swaps below:
- Natural Plant Based Scrub Sponge 12 Pack
- Natural Hemp Sponges for Dishes
- ECOLULU Eco Friendly Sponges
5. Cloth Towels
I used to be a paper towel addict. I would go through those things like they were candy and it wasn’t even that good of an experience!
One day, when I was at Costco browsing around the cleaning goods section, I finally got fed up with how much money I was wasting on paper towels – paper towels are bad for your wallet and the environment.
So instead of buying more towels and continuing my addiction, I took a chance on making the switch to reusable cloths since there are so many benefits for giving it a shot!
I’ve tried so many different types of towels, but I think that bamboo towels are the best because they soak up wetness better than other fabrics like cotton or linen. They’re also reusable! I bought a pack of 12 clothes for about $12 and I’ve been using them ever since. They’re easy to clean, they don’t take up much space in my kitchen cabinet or on the countertop like paper towels do (which is important because we all know how small most kitchens are).
6. Compost Bin
This is a great way to go green in your household and save money.
Investing in a compost bin will allow you to turn your food waste into valuable fertilizer for your garden. It’s economical, effective, and doesn’t smell! Imagine how much waste you could reuse by buying a compost bin!
When organic material goes through the process of decomposition, it produces rich nutrients that help your plants grow. What’s more, compost can act as a natural fertilizer by giving back to the soil what we take from it!
You can buy a compost bin from your local hardware store or online. They’re not expensive and they last for years! I’m so glad I bought that compost bin! It’s been awesome for my plants.
7. Ziplock Bags
Plastic bags were the bane of my existence before I went zero waste. My lunch everyday was packaged in a ziplock bag. I can’t believe how much waste I use to throw away and I still feel guilty about it. Thankfully now I have found many zero waste alternatives.
Here are a few of my favourite zero waste ziplock solutions:
- UNNI 100% Compostable Ziplock Bags
- BeeBae Reusable Food Wrap Packaging
- KITHELP 18 Packs Reusable Storage Bags
FAQs – Questions you may have
What is a zero waste product?
Now, you may be asking yourself “what is a zero waste product?”
A zero waste product is a product that is designed to be used until it’s empty or broken.
What this means for you, the consumer: You won’t have any waste left over from your purchase!
Is a zero waste society achievable?
Whilst the idea of a zero waste society may seem impossible, it’s really not.
If we all work together and make small changes to our lifestyles, we can make a huge difference.
The first step is understanding what zero waste means and how it’s achievable for you – whether that be in your home or on the go!
What are some ways I could reduce my household trash?
You may want to start by looking at all of the items you buy that come with packaging – such as food products like cereal boxes (which often have plastic inside), toothpaste tubes etc. Then try reducing these types from day one until they’re no longer needed altogether. This will help cut down drastically the amount of waste you produce.
You can also reduce the amount of trash you create by using reusable items such as cloth napkins, coffee cups and water bottles instead!
What are some ways I could avoid waste when travelling?
You may want to start with packing a zero-waste kit in your bag. This will help save space for other things like clothes or shoes that might be needed on vacation too (and it’s better than having an overflowing suitcase!).
Another way you could avoid waste when travelling is by bringing your own reusable water bottle. This will help you avoid buying plastic bottles of tap or bottled waters that are often not recycled and end up in landfills, oceans etc., which is bad for the environment!
You could also invest in some toothpaste tablets, instead of using toothpaste tubes. This is a great way to avoid waste and save some money too!
You could bring a cloth napkin with you when eating out at restaurants instead of using paper ones. This way they won’t be thrown away after one use.
Is going zero waste expensive?
Surprisingly, going zero waste isn’t expensive.
In fact, it can be cheaper in the long run.
Even if you find zero waste products that cost a bit more, it’s important to remember that the products will last longer and are better for the environment.
You may find that you save money in the long run by not having to buy as many products too.
How do you go zero waste on a budget?
There are a few ways to go zero waste on the budget:
- Buy in bulk – Buying products that come in larger quantities will help you save money and reduce your packaging footprint at once! You can find these items online or from local stores like Costco, Walmart etcetera… The downside is they may not be as fresh when purchased this way, but it’s worth considering if going completely plastic-free isn’t an option for now.
- Buy things without any type of package – Meat and fish will always have to come in packaging, but you can find fruit and vegetables without any packaging. In some organic food stores, you can also buy products like rice, beans and pasta without a package to reduce your waste footprint!
- Buy things in glass jars – Buying items that come packaged with reusable containers is another way you could go zero-waste on the budget because they will last for years if cared for properly. So it’s worth investing in now even though there may be an initial upfront cost involved.
The zero waste movement is not just about recycling, repurposing, and reducing. It’s also about re-thinking what we’re cooking up in the kitchen. I want to know your favorite way you’ve saved money and time by swapping out some of those single-use items or ingredients with a more sustainable alternative!