Easy Tips for a Zero Waste Kitchen

How to have a zero waste kitchen

The kitchen is easily one of the biggest waste producing areas in our house.
Here are some quick tips and tricks to help transition to a zero waste kitchen and reduce your waste, without having to invest a lot.
Baby steps are okay.
And I am all about being frugal.

Stop Using Paper Products

One of the easiest steps to take on a journey to a zero waste kitchen is to stop using paper towels and napkins.
Replace them with cloth.
You can buy specially made “un-paper” towels or even just regular tea or bar towels or any type of cloths. I have a designated pattern of weirdly small hand towels that we use in place of paper towels in the kitchen.
For lunch napkins, I have some cute bandannas and handkerchiefs that were either gifted or bough at thrift stores.
I have been known to cut up flannel blankets and pyjama pants that are not repairable to make unpaper towels and reusable napkins.
If you aren’t ready to go paperless, then switch to bamboo as it is more sustainable.

Bonus for me: Not having to do the complicated “paper towel math” to see if I am getting the best deal. It’s similar to toilet paper math.

Zero Waste Kitchen

Save Your Jars – Zero Waste Storage!

Save your jars to avoid needing to buy new ones.
You can use them for left overs, or to store dried goods in.
If you are going to freeze things in jars, make sure the contents have cooled down first.
I use them sometimes to make protein shakes in.

Zero waste reuse jars

Ditch the Plastic

Stop using cling wrap and plastic baggies.
Opt for jars, beeswax wraps, metal, and glass containers.
I use cloth baggies for my children’s school lunches as well in an effort to reduce waste.

zero waste reusable lunch bags

Keep Veggies Fresher Longer

Store onions and potatoes in a basket in dark cupboard to keep them last longer.
Salad greens, beans, and peas can be stored in the fridge between damp tea towels. You can stand celery in water, and float carrots in water.

. . . and Regrow Them!!

I have regrown lettuce, green onions, and celery.
After cutting off that I need, I just planted them into a pot to let them grow again.

zero waste regrow produce

Compost

If you can, composting in an important step in reducing what goes to landfill. You are giving your scraps a second life. When I lived in a rural area, I composted everything that I could and used it in my garden. I once had compost potatoes and found pumpkins growing in my compost that I ended up giving away to neighbours.
My landlord does not have our units supplied with composting bins. We are lucky to have a friend who accepts our compost.

Don’t. Use. Disposables.

This is pretty much a no brainer.
It may make clean up a bit easier, but think of all the trash that it creates — and the plastic that is never going to go away.
I developed the habit from my Grama to clean and reuse disposable cutlery.
I am also that weird family member who will clean and take your plastic cutlery home with me if you’re only going to throw it away. My family is starting to come around…
I send the rescued plastic forks and spoons in my kids lunches and they know to bring them home so they get washed and reused.


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5 Super Easy Eco-Friendly Swaps for your Bathroom

First off, DO NOT replace these items unless it really is needed.
That would defeat the purpose of being minimal waste.

If at all possible, buy from a local shop who supports local producers, crafters and artisans.

1. Shampoo + Conditioner Bars

These last forever!
Eliminate the plastic bottles by switching to shampoo and conditioner bars.

The green one I bought July of last year before I went on on my Geography field camp. It came from a cloth diapering and zero waste store at the mall.
I can not for the life of me remember the brand of it. I know it was made in Quebec and was sold as an outdoors-y soap. It has citronella and lemon grass, which I thought would be handy being in the bush for a week. The bar was supposed to condition as well, but I found that it didn’t so well for me.

The pink one is my “American Cream” conditioner bar from Lush. I bought it because I had read that it was “Curly Girl” friendly. I’m a wavy, so sometimes I like to just co-wash with the conditioner bar.

Bonus: Soap Tray

I bought this soap tray at a smaller store that focuses on local products.
It only cost me $5. I kept an eye out at other stores and window shopped online and most that I saw were at least $20. My shower has little shelves with ridges for soap, so I was perfectly fine with using the one furthest from the shower head for my shampoo and conditioner bars.

2. Tooth Paste Tablets

I got these at a semi-local zero-waste grocery store.
You would have to understand the local geography, but even though it’s only a 15 minute drive it is technically in another city and in another province.
Super easy to use. You just chew them up into a paste and then brush your teeth. Most tooth paste tubes are not recyclable due to being made of a combination of plastic and aluminium.

3. Safety Razor

This was one of my first swaps.
I got this one at Walmart as it was less than $20. I buy my blades from local stores. It has a nice weight and feel to it.
There is a difference in shaving techniques.
You have to hold the razor at a 45 degree angle and DO NOT apply pressure! The weight of the razor will be enough. It is the closest and cleanest shaves that I have ever had. Another pointer, do short strips.
If you’re nervous, watch some youtube videos.

4. Soap Bars

I consider myself lucky that my aunt makes soap.
She grows and uses her own herbs.
The one pictured is an orange detox soap.
When I happen to run out, I usually buy a locally hand made soap that benefits the Children’s Leukaemia Society. At only $5 a bar, this is an amazing soap.

5. Soap Bag

I have done away with plastic loofahs in my shower and replaced them with this soap pouch. They are designed to hold tiny pieces of soap together as one big bar. I noticed that I would go through my natural soap bars really fast as the kids always managed to splash water on the little shelves in our shower. My solution was to place the bars of soap in these bags and use them instead of loofahs or facecloths. We hang them to try in the shower on the shower curtain hooks to dry out.
When the bar of soap runs out, I wash it out and let it dry then add another bar of soap.

What about you?
What are some of your favourite minimal waste bathroom items?