The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s also one of the places where we generate the most waste. From food scraps to packaging, forgotten fruit to spills, it can feel like our kitchens are a bottomless pit of wastefulness. It can feel as though we’re taking one step forward and two steps back in our journey to a zero-waste lifestyle, especially in the kitchen.
But it doesn’t have to be this way! With a little bit of planning, you can make your kitchen a waste-free zone. When it comes to zero-waste living, the key is to plan as much as possible. By taking some time to think about our wastefulness and how we can avoid it, we can significantly reduce the amount of waste we produce.
Here are some tips on how to plan your zero-waste kitchen like a pro!
Meal planning is the number one way to reduce food waste in your kitchen. By planning out your meals for the week, you can ensure that you’re using all your food and not letting anything go to waste. Not only will this save you money, but it will also reduce the amount of food waste you’re producing.
Make a list of all the meals you want to make for the week, and then make a shopping list. This way, you’ll only buy what you need and won’t have anything sitting in your fridge going bad.
Complete Your Food
One of the biggest waste culprits in the kitchen is unfinished food. Whether it’s half a can of tomato soup or a few bites of your dinner, we often throw away perfectly good food simply because we didn’t finish it. Or even worse, we let it go bad in the fridge because we forgot about it.
Also, we sometimes cannot finish what we have started because it is too much. For example, we cook a big pasta pot but can only eat half of it. So the other half goes to waste. We make ourselves a big plate of food but can only eat half of it and throw the rest away.
To avoid wasting food, make sure you finish what you start. If you’re not hungry enough to finish your meal, put it in a container and save it for later. If you have leftovers, eat them for lunch the next day or freeze them for another time. And if you find yourself cooking more than you can eat, try portioning out your meals, so you’re not left with too much food.
Remember, when it comes to food waste, every little bit counts. By finishing your food and not letting anything go to waste, you’re making a significant impact on reducing the amount of waste you produce.
Store Your Food Properly
Sometimes we throw away food because we don’t know how to store it properly and let it go bad. This is especially true with produce. We buy too much produce and then let it go bad because we don’t know how to store it properly.
To avoid this, learn how to store your food properly so it can stay fresh for longer. This includes everything from storing fruits and vegetables in the fridge to keeping bread in a bread box. For example, certain fruits and vegetables need to be stored in the refrigerator, while others can be stored at room temperature. If you’re not sure how to store something, do a quick Google search or ask the person at the grocery store.
Clean as You Go
Another way to reduce waste in your kitchen is to clean. This means taking a few minutes to clean up after each meal or snack instead of waiting until the end of the day. This will help keep your kitchen clean and clutter-free, and it will also reduce the amount of food waste you’re producing.
For example, if you’re cooking a meal and you have some food scraps, put them in the compost instead of letting them sit on the counter. Or if you’re making a sandwich and have some bread crusts, put them in the freezer to use later.
Eat Up Your Scraps
One of the best ways to reduce food waste is using your food scraps. If you have vegetable scraps, why not turn them into veggie stock? You can use fruit peels to make homemade jam or add to smoothies for extra nutrients. There are many uses for food scraps that would otherwise end up in the trash.
So, next time you’re about to throw away your food scraps, think about how you can use them instead. You might be surprised at how many uses for things you would normally throw away.
Reduce Packaging Waste
One of the easiest ways to reduce waste in your kitchen is to reduce the packaging you’re using. Whenever possible, choose products that come in recyclable or reusable packaging. Avoid single-use items like paper towels and disposable dishes, and opt for reusable alternatives instead.
You can also reduce packaging waste by shopping at bulk stores. This way, you can buy exactly what you need and avoid having excess packaging.
A new concept — package-free or zero-waste grocery stores — is also popping up in cities worldwide. These stores allow you to buy your groceries without any packaging at all. You will either bring your own containers or purchase reusable ones from the store. This is an excellent option if you’re looking to reduce your packaging waste further.
Compost Food Waste
Composting is a great way to reduce food waste in your kitchen. By composting your food scraps, you can turn them into valuable nutrients for your garden. This is a great way to close the loop and productively use your food scraps.
There are many different ways to compost. I love the Bokashi method, but there are many other options. If you’re not sure where to start, check out my ultimate guide to Bokashi composting here to see how to do it.
Zero-waste living is all about reducing the amount of waste we produce. In the kitchen, this means being mindful of the food we’re buying and the packaging we’re using. By following these tips, you can make your kitchen more sustainable and reduce your impact on the environment.
Do you have any tips for living a zero-waste lifestyle? Please share them in the comments below!