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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Earth Day 50 – Make Everyday Earth Day!

This year marks the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!

While most people are stuck at home during this global health crisis, it is still possible to celebrate Earth Day! It’s a good time to be able to slow down and appreciate this giant hunk of rock that we all call home.

Here are some practical ideas to inspire you to make every day Earth Day.

Food

local sustainable food
  • Eat Organic
    • Organic food helps to preserve the richness of the topsoil and helps protect biodiversity.
  • Eat Local
    • Local foods help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions involved in transporting food. Food is also fresher and it helps the local economy.
  • Eat in Season
    • Food that is in season is fresher, travels less, and tends to come from local farmers.
  • Reduce Food Waste
    • If food waste was a country, it would be in the top three countries for greenhouse gas emissions.
    • Eat leftovers, make soup, freeze food for later. Compost.
  • Reduce Meat
    • Try a meatless Monday!
    • Livestock is responsible for a lot of greenhouse gas emissions. Cropland is used primarily to grow crops for livestock.
    • The treatment of animals leads to animal suffering in mass commercial settings. Try to source meat locally. Local farmers usually provide better care for the animals and the meat tends to be of a higher quality.

Energy

wind energy
  • Switch to Greener Options
    • In some areas, there are green energy alternatives available. Take advantage of wind, solar or hydroelectric alternatives.
  • Replace Light Bulbs
    • Energy-efficient light bulbs consume 80% less electricity than conventional bulbs. I have noticed that they last much longer and in some jurisdictions are recyclable.
  • Lower the Thermostat
    • The average thermoneutrality of a healthy adult is about 19°C. This means that a person can maintain their body temperature without needing to use any extra body energy. This means that there technically isn’t a reason to need to heat your house above that.
    • If you’re chilly, you can always add layers. I’m always the coldest one in our house so I have some wool socks and a hoodie that I wear indoors.
    • Lowering the thermostat can also save your wallet!
  • Turn off the Lights!
    • With the energy efficient bulbs we have today, I get laughed at over this one. We should still turn off lights when we aren’t going to be in the room for a while. It can help prolong the life of your bulbs, save on every costs and even if it’s a tiny amount — reduce your energy usage.

Waste

Reduce Waste
  • Move towards Zero Waste
    • Reduce the amount of single use products in your life.
    • Buy products with the least amount of packaging.
  • Classic “3 R’s”
    • Reduce
    • Reuse
    • Recycle
  • Compost
  • Shop Second Hand
    • Thrift stores, re-sale stores, consignment stores, yard sales. You can also organise swaps at school or work. Facebook has “Buy Nothing” groups tailored to you neighbourhoods.
  • Stop Buying Stuff!
    • Do you really need it? Think about the whole life cycle of what you’re about to buy. How long will it still be around after you don’t

Nature

  • Grow a Garden
    • Whether its a smaller container garden in the city, a community plot, or a garden in a rural area it’s rewarding to grow your own veggies. I use it as a tool to show my kids where food in the store comes from.
  • Natural Fertilisers
    • Compost!
    • Chemical fertilisers can lead to soil depletion and lead to loss of biodiversity.
  • Plant Pollinator Friendly Plants
    • Planting nectar giving colourful plants will attract pollinating insects.
  • Plant a tree
  • Don’t Pick All the Dandelions
    • Dandelions are usually one of the first flowers in the spring and are an important food source for bees.
  • Collect Litter
    • Even if it’s just one piece on a neighbourhood or nature trail walk, that’s one less piece of litter.

Sustainable Transportation

  • Walking
    • Good for your health.
    • Cost effective.
    • Zero emission.
  • Cycling
    • Quicker than walking.
    • Some cities offer bike rentals.
  • Public Transit
    • By using public transportation, you can reduce your greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Vehicle Choices
    • Hybrids and electric vehicles are becoming increasingly popular and are becoming more affordable. Some areas offer discounts, incentives, and rebates to encourage you to make the switch.
    • If hybrids or electric vehicles are not a viable option, then try to get a vehicle with the best fuel economy. Generally, a smaller engine is more fuel efficient.

Keep Calm and Carry On Linking Sunday

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