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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Why Go Zero Waste?

Recycling simply is NOT enough!

Recycling, especially plastic, is essentially green-washing.
Only a very small percentage of plastic that is sent to the recycling centres are actually recycled. Some plastics are considered to be higher value than others. Most of the time, it is cheaper to produce new plastic than to recycle. Low value plastics are often sent to the landfill or burned.
Then there is the issue of items that are made of multiple bonded materials like cardboard bonded to plastic, or plastic bonded to foil. Some cans and cups even have a thin layer of plastic inside of them.
Plastic that is recycled can only a small number of times before it loses it’s integrity.


Recycling centres vary so much from area to area. Check your local regulations.

Why recycling is not enough - go zero waste

The best thing to do is try to reduce your consumption and try to buy the items that involve the least amount of packaging — especially the plastic packaging.

Things last longer!

Non single use items will obviously last longer.
Reusable items are often built sturdier so you can get more life out of them. You can re-purpose items that you have.
Try to buy second hand, as this prevents another item from possibly being tossed away.
You can donate, gift, or even sell items when you no longer need them.

It makes your dollar count!

You save money by not having to constantly replace single use items. There may be a bit more of an upfront cost, but it will more than pay for itself.
The cost is sometimes higher because of ethical materials and labour.
Buying less is important too.
Making your items last and re-purposing items you already have not only saves you money, but prevents waste as well.
When buying new items, support companies who are striving to wards sustainability and protecting the environment.

Don’t forget to check out thrift stores, charity shops, yard sales, or even Facebook sale groups.
Buying second hand is usually easier on the wallet too!

why go zero waste - sustainable

You are reducing your impact!

By consciously making an effort to reduce your waste you are reducing your impact on the planet and it’s resources. The Law of Conservation of Mass-Energy states that the total amount of mass and energy in the universe is constant. Everything you buy or use comes from something and it doesn’t simply vanish.

Change starts with YOU!

Yes, big corporations need to be held accountable.
Support businesses who strive towards being environmentally responsible.
Buy local. Support sustainable companies.
Vote with your wallet.


But individual actions add up.
If 100 people use reusable bags, then that’s at least 100 plastic bags that aren’t being used. The more people who strive towards a zero waste lifestyle, the more people there are who can petition the corporations to act responsibly.


why be zero waste