5 Tips for Creating a Zero-Waste Home Kitchen

02/26/2016

By: Kayla Brown

Though the concept of a zero-waste home kitchen may seem overwhelming, it is a lifestyle change that purely begins with being more aware of your current waste habits. Here are some simple tips if you’re looking to reduce the amount of waste your household.

1. Balance Between Buying in Bulk and Multiple Grocery Trips

You may think that by buying in bulk you are reducing your waste. But in some instances, excess groceries make for excess waste later down the line. Dry goods, like rice and flour, are the perfect “bulk” buying items. Other items, like fruits and vegetables should be purchased as needed. Take multiple trips to the grocery store during the week for perishable items and be sure to buy less than what you need. You’ll soon see a tremendous reduction of waste in your kitchen.

2. Avoid Packaging

Another good tip for beginners is to buy products with little to no packaging. It may not be completely avoidable, but there is definitely be room to reduce. Making items instead of buying will also reduce packaging and also save you money and time at the grocery store. At first glance, making foods from scratch may seem tough and unnecessary, but you’d be surprised at how easy some items are to make. Bread recipes usually require minimal work and making your own batches of granola will taste great and significantly reduce boxes and plastic bag waste.

3. Simplify Your Cleaning Supplies

Baking soda and vinegar can be just - if not more - effective than most cleaning sprays on the market. Begin to eliminate any disposable spray bottles and other non-recyclable cleaning materials in your kitchen.  Steer away from toxic cleaners and transition to a safer environment by using natural cleaners.

4. Use Clear Containers

Opaque storage or Tupperware with dark tops have a tendency to keep the items they contain out of sight and forgotten about - resulting in them going bad. Begin to use items like lidded glass containers or mason jars to store food. You can easily see what’s inside, making them much harder to ignore.

5. Compost. Compost. Compost.

One of the most effective and hands on ways to deal with household waste is to compost! By composting, your waste doesn’t need to be shipped off anywhere and can be converted into soil on your own property. If you are someone who already grows their own herbs or has a garden, this may be a realistic goal for you. If a household compost system in your backyard or basement doesn’t sound all that attractive, you can always take advantage of city composting services in your area. If they’re not offered near you, look into subscribing to a private composting service. 

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