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Zero Waste Kitchen

8 Simple Eco-Friendly Tips For A Zero Waste Kitchen

by Helen
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ECO FRIENDLY KITCHEN

Sadly, the reality worldwide is that plastics are everywhere—they support modern-day convenience, and our dependency on and accepting them is just a disaster for the Earth.  Our daily schedules have increasingly become so busy that we lack time to seek, don't think about alternatives, or resolve not to purchase prepackaged, single-use convenience items.  You can have an eco-friendly kitchen with a bit of work and perseverance.

Although I am hopeful, as awareness can lead to action, which leads to change—in this case, change in reducing our dependence on single-use plastic and eliminating some waste produced in our kitchens, which seems to be the most wasteful part of our home.  Honestly, and I speak from my personal experience, starting your journey to switch is the most challenging part.  As you progress, it becomes rewarding, with each small victory adding to the excitement.   You can implement one eco friendly kitchen tip below at a time.  Once you have mastered it, then move to the next.

There will be the occasional guilt trip when you slip up, but it's all part of the process; stick with it.  In this article are some basic ideas for going zero-waste in the kitchen.  Adopting some or all of these practices means your family will produce almost no garbage from kitchen waste.  Remember that every little change makes a positive difference; others will notice and hopefully start their zero-waste kitchen journey.  Check out our Best Unpaper Towels Article To Give You ideas on how to swap to eco friendly towels.

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What Is The Meaning Of Zero Waste?

"Zero waste means that we send zero discards to the landfill or high-temperature destruction. Instead, products are designed and used according to the principle of highest and best use and the waste reduction hierarchy: Prevent waste. Reduce and reuse first. Recycle and compost,

1) REFUSE — Waste In The Kitchen

The first and most crucial step is to survey the cupboards, online grocery orders, or grocery carts and eliminate any unnecessarily overpackaged or single use items. For example, bottled water and coffee pods are prime examples. Search for alternatives like filtered water and a durable, reusable water bottle. Also, go zero waste with your coffee with a coffee press, a Chemex, a high-quality drip coffee maker with a reusable coffee sock filter, or sustainable, compostable coffee filters. Coffee made with a coffee press tastes better than a drip coffee maker but may take a little longer to make. The simplest way to start is to start slowly by swapping one thing at a time. The process will feel more natural, and you will not be trying to break multiple habits simultaneously—it will increase the odds of ongoing change and success.

2) PLASTIC WRAP - Low Waste

It is so gratifying to quit using plastic wrap products. It's wasteful and such a pain to use. And nonetheless, for some reason, it still finds a place in nearly every kitchen cupboard. Instead, Consider using beeswax wrap natural cloth embedded with beeswax. With your hands, warm the wrap, and it will stick to itself. But then it hardens as it cools in the fridge, sealing and preserving the contents of your container. 

The beeswax wrap breathes so that gasses that overripen fruit or vegetables are released, and excess moisture isn't trapped, keeping food fresher longer. Plus, the wrap is reusable for roughly a year and 100% biodegradable; toss it into your compost after use. To extend the longevity of your wrap, only wash using cold water when necessary, using a small amount of gentle soap when needed. You could also try linen bowl covers!

Beewax Paper

3) PARCHMENT PAPER

Another very popular in kitchens is disposable parchment paper. It's very versatile and straightforward to use, and we're instructed in cookbook recipes and tempted to use it regularly, especially when roasting, grilling, or baking. And it's just paper? Not really. It is made from some paper but then treated with an acid during its production to give it highly stable and heat resistant, which is then coated with a nonstick material, generally silicone. It is not recyclable, not compostable. It's just garbage that will end up in a landfill. The best alternative I have found is silicone baking/roasting mats such as Silpat or Sil Eco, which you can use indefinitely and work just as well. We genuinely love them at our home! 

4) KITCHEN ITEMS

From dishcloths to dish brushes, spoons to sink caddy, there are many tools we use in the kitchen.  While wooden spoons should be a classic must-have in your kitchen, consider replacing other items with biodegradable products, especially those used often.  Replace your dishcloths with reusable plant-cellulose versions that are compostable.  Swap dish brushes and other kitchen brushes with wooden brushes instead.  Redecker, a German family-owned brand, makes all its products by hand and makes fully biodegradable brushes of every kind.  What sets Redecker apart from other brands is that their dish brush features replaceable heads, and the removable metal parts are recyclable.  Wooden kitchen utensils are also best to use with nonstick and ceramic-coated cookware and are an easy swap for an eco-friendly kitchen.

5) REPURPOSE - GLASS JARS AND CONTAINERS

You can use mason jars to store leftovers and bulk foods.  Use them on the go and more.  Mason jars are affordable and versatile and can be purchased in most stores or online.  Additionally, since they are multipurpose, you can buy lid adaptors for drinking cups or smoothie containers.  For ideas on how to use these glass jars, there are cookbooks like 100 Easy Recipes In A Jar on how to layer food, breakfast, and salads so they don't go soggy for lunch. 

eco friendly kitchen

6) DIY CLEANING PRODUCTS- Green Cleaning

MAKE YOUR OWN—kitchen cleaners are another area you can easily find effective and inexpensive replacements.  Make your cleaners easily with vinegar, baking soda, water, lemon, thyme essential oil, or both.  If you are not a DIYer, there are various products like dish soap, disinfectants, and multipurpose cleaners to purchase, which are concentrates or refills. Make our green cleaning starter kit; you probably have everything you need in your cabinets.

7) KITCHEN RECYCLING

This may appear like a no-brainer, but it is easy to make mistakes that significantly reduce the chance of your blue bin contents being recycled without knowing what and how your district recycles. For best recycling success, inquire what exactly is recyclable and what is not, then buy accordingly. And also, make sure you know how to recycle correctly. For example, food contamination usually will not be recyclable, and your recycling will be diverted to the landfill. 

vermicomposting

Vego Garden In-Ground Worm Composter Outdoor

Beewax Paper

Zero Waste Food Wraps, Organic, Plastic Free

8) COMPOSTING - For A Zero Waste Kitchen

Between the two major players recycling and composting, you can have almost zero landfill waste in your kitchen. Because organic waste makes up 26% of landfill waste in the US, an anaerobic environment in landfills means that organic waste doesn't break down very well, contributing to harmful greenhouse gases. Managing a compost heap is easy to maintain but requires little time. For instance, you have options for composting, such as maintaining a kitchen compost bin, countertop compost bin, heaping piles, practicing vermiculture indoors, using a compost bin, or vermicompost. I find it much easier to vermicompost, and I use a compost bin.

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