Switching to a zero-waste lifestyle can be intimidating, but it doesn’t have to be! Making small changes overtime, and creating eco-friendly habits, can ensure to a successful transition to a zero waste lifestyle. There are many ways to create a zero waste kitchen, below are nine easy ways to start!
Transforming Your Kitchen Into an Eco-friendly and Zero Waste Space
Slow and consistent changes can make all the difference when creating sustainable and eco-friendly habits. Be kind to yourself as you start this transition. Remember that every step creates less waste and a healthier home.
Composting is an easy step to re-using scraps that would normally end up in the landfill. There are many ways to build a compost pile, however, all compost piles work the same way. Compost should be a mixture of green matter and brown matter. The kitchen scraps and indoor items below can be added to the compost bin.
Green matter includes: fruits and vegetables, coffee grounds, tea bags and egg shells. DO NOT INCLUDE: meat, cheese, oils or bread.
Brown matter includes: cardboard or shredded paper. DO NOT INCLUDE: animal waste.
Buy In Bulk
There are many benefits to buying in bulk. Buying in bulk reduces the waste of individual packaging. You end up with less plastic and throwing less trash away.
Because there is less packaging, the price is much lower per weight of the food item. Although it may seem more expensive when purchasing, you’ll find that fewer trips to store mean no impulse buying of things that aren’t necessary. The upfront cost of buying bulk is worth the investment. You can buy in bulk from local farmers, or shop at bulk stores like Costco and Sam’s Club.
Wooden utensils are a great way to be more sustainable. Most of these are made out of bamboo or teak wood which is naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. Bamboo is also a sustainably sourced product. Wooden utensils don’t scratch dishes and, if taken care of properly, can be used for years.
If you are looking for a tutorial for caring for your utensils, Rocky Hedge Farm has a great guide to help you keep those utensils lasting a long time.
Throw Out The Teflon
Teflon is a substance that coats pans in order to make them non-stick. The problem with Teflon is that after a few years it begins to flake off of the pan and little pieces fall into your food. This substance is toxic, and they should be replaced immediately.
Teflon is not something that should end up in landfills. Instead of buying a new Teflon pan, consider switching to a cast iron pan. Cast iron can last forever, and once you get the hang of it, is pretty easy to clean and care for. You can find them at thrift stores, but you can also buy them new.
Use Cloth Instead of Paper Towels
Paper towels are an easy go-to in the kitchen. It’s a simple fix, however, to use washcloths or cheap tea towels instead of using paper towels. Not only will this save you money of paper towels, but using cloth will keep all of that paper out of the trash.
I buy washcloths in bulk and have them tucked away in a cabinet drawer in my kitchen. This leaves more counterspace and looks nicer than having paper towels laying out too. There are many tutorials about how you can switch to homemade paper towels, but I find them unnecessary. It’s easy to buy a bunch of washcloths and use those in your kitchen to clean up messes.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products
Store bought cleaning products are full of harmful chemicals. Making your own products allows you to save money, and provide a healthier home for your family. Most of my cleaning products use vinegar as a base. Vinegar is non-toxic, budget friendly and does a great job disinfecting!
Some things cannot be cleaned with vinegar (think hardwood floors and granite countertops). However, there are other homemade cleaners for those too! Check out these 5 homemade household cleaners that I use to get my home spotless, without using harsh chemicals.
Buy and Use Reusable bags
Plastic bags create such a large amount of waste. Although they can be used for other things, unless you need plastic bags for something, it’s always helpful to have reusable bags on hand. The most important thing to remember though, is that you need to buy reusable bags that are sustainably sourced.
Using reusable bags for shopping and produce at home can cut down on waste. Be sure to wash your reusable bags because they can carry bacteria, like e-coli, from old food particles stuck inside the bags.
Meal Plan to Reduce Waste
Meal planning is a life saver for so many reasons. To help create a zero-waste kitchen, meal planning cuts down on food waste. When you are buying in bulk, and planning out what you will eat, each food item has a purpose.
Although food waste is inevitable, meal planning prevents a lot of it, keeping costs down for you, and waste down as well. This helps create a cleaner and healthier kitchen. The other benefit is that you don’t have to worry about what you’re going to eat everyday!
Recycle As a Last Resort
Believe it or not, recycling isn’t as helpful as we thought! Many of the things we throw into the recycle actually end up in the landfill. Although I will always encourage recycling (and I recycle as much as I can), keeping things out of the trash and the recycle bin in the first place, makes more of a sustainable impact. It all starts at the store. Reducing consumption and re-using what we already have will go a longer way than recycling.
There are many other ways to build a sustainable kitchen. However, these nine steps can get you started in the right direction. Slowly introduce on change at a time and make it habit. Soon you’ll be living in a zero waste kitchen and all these changes will be habits!
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