The kitchen is often the largest contributor to household waste, with food packaging, food scraps, and much more. Throughout my experience moving towards a more eco-friendly lifestyle, I have come up with five different ways to reduce kitchen waste!
Buying food in bulk is one of the best ways to reduce your kitchen waste by ridding of excess food packaging in the landfill. Not only this, but bulk food is also cleaner for the planet and more efficient in shipping! Foods such as rice, pasta, beans, granola, dried fruit, flour, and much more are popular foods that can be found in bulk in grocery stores across the U.S. The best way that I have found to buy food in bulk is to purchase jars from secondhand stores (or reuse old ones) and bring those to the grocery store to fill up. Most grocery stores that sell food in bulk are willing to subtract the weight of the jar from the food you’re purchasing. Confused? Here are a few great resources to get you started on buying food in bulk.
Ditching paper towels is another great way to reduce waste. When I have a roll of paper towels out on my counter, I often find myself reaching for them every time I cook or eat and end up using far too many. Now, I have opted to using rags and reusable napkins. Cutting up old t-shirts and towels to use as cleaning rags also gives the fabric an extra life! For meals, I use cloth napkins. Not only do they cut down on waste, but they also look much classier than a paper towel or napkin! Impressing your guests is just a bonus!
If you love sauces, salsas, and dressings as much as I do, I can almost guarantee that your fridge is full of glass containers. Instead of tossing the glass containers when they are gone, it is good to clean them out and removing the label for later use. If you have done this before, you may also know how tedious it can be removing the labels. Below I have included a link on how to remove labels and its residue with more ease! Glass jars can be used for bulk grocery shopping, as herb and spice containers, adorable little vases or decor, or as more storage for art and office supplies. The possibilities are endless!
If you have access to a yard waste bin, it is acceptable in most cities to throw your food scraps in the yard waste bin. I have found that keeping a large class container or bin with a lid under the sink or on my back porch is the easiest way to keep food scraps before throwing them in the yard waste bin, as this keeps the smell locked away. If you do not have these, you can also throw your scraps in a paper bag and empty it more often. Access to a yard waste bin is not always available! If you are feeling savvy, you can also start your own at home compost bin! Below are a few different resources to get you started on composting, as the idea can at first often be daunting.
Don’t have access to a composting site? No worries, you can also reuse vegetable scraps to make broth! I am a lover of stir fries and homemade veggie pizzas, but I often find that my trashcan is being filled with zucchini ends, onion skins, and carrot tops. I have searched the internet and found a few great broth recipes for both you and I to try! Homemade broth can be stored in jars or frozen in small cubes. I have found that having broth on hand is good for making gravies, lentil soups, noodle soups, and more!
I hope that this blog post has given you ideas and new ways to reduce your household waste! Assessing how much waste you are producing and where it is coming from is the first step to creating a more eco-friendly kitchen. After that, taking small steps such as these not only supports a healthier planet, but can also turn your kitchen into a classier, more sophisticated style.
Conservation Made Simple