Looking for tips for starting a zero waste kitchen? Today I am sharing six great steps to creating a zero waste kitchen!
Have you ever taken out the kitchen trash only to find yourself questioning just how a family the size of yours has so many trash bags? Chances are you have at least once in the past year. The answer to the question at hand is waste; wasted food, wasteful products, and more. If the amount of waste your family has bothers you, taking a few simple steps to have a zero-waste kitchen may be the answer you are looking for.
Zero Waste Kitchen Tips
The kitchen is one of the worst offenders in your home for disposable products. Paper towels, sponges, paper plates, and plastic flatware are all just a few disposable products you may be using in your kitchen. These disposable products are not only wasteful in their very nature but they’re very wasteful in the amount of money you’re spending on them. Instead, replace them with a reusable option that can be washed as needed. For instance, a few unpaper towels can replace a hundred rolls of paper towel waste without much adjustment pain.
The great thing about replacing disposable items with reusable, even if only in your kitchen, is that it typically spills over to other areas of your home. This can lead toward working toward a zero waste home as a whole which is never a bad thing.
Plan a Menu
One of the biggest causes of food waste in homes is the age-old question of “what’s for dinner?” This can often lead to each person fixing their own meal which ultimately leads to food waste. Instead, take the time to learn how to menu plan for yourself or your family. Even if you only plan dinners each day, you will still be able to reduce wasted food significantly and save money doing it.
If you’re looking to really reduce food waste, planning a full menu is an option. This includes three meals a day, snacks, and any school or work lunches that may be needed. This type of menu planning takes quite a bit of work and requires quite a bit of discipline. Be sure you’re ready to commit to that and that you use an actual menu planner before taking it on as one of your steps to a zero-waste kitchen.
Mind What’s Leftover
Does your family eat leftovers? If not, that is wasted food and likely a big part of what is in those trash bags you’re throwing out. Instead of tossing them, eat them for lunch or even dinner the following day or two. If you would rather not eat them immediately after, see if they can be frozen. If so, freeze them in individual servings if you’re freezing for lunch or as a whole if you are going to use them for dinner again. By freezing the leftovers, you will be able to use them if you do have a night where you aren’t sure what dinner is and the food you cooked and paid for won’t go to waste.
Use What You Can
If you’re wanting a truly zero-waste kitchen, you’ll need to do more than plan what you’re eating and change disposables. The biggest part of being zero waste is to do what you can with everything you have. This means that you go out of your way to find a reason not to throw something away without getting as many uses out of it as possible.
For instance, when you roast a whole chicken, do you toss the bones and fat? That seems pretty wasteful, doesn’t it? It seems that way because it is. Instead of tossing them, get one or two more uses out of them. The fat can be saved until you have enough to render into a lard-like product and the bones can be used to make chicken stock or bone broth.
If you apply this principle across your whole kitchen, you are taking several huge leaps toward reducing waste in the kitchen.
Food and disposable products are not the only kitchen waste you have. Have you considered tin cans, glass jars, and even something such as a cereal box? Glass jars can easily be repurposed into storage. Tin cans and paperboard-type products are perfect for crafts. The more you can reuse an item, the lower your waste output will be.
Finally, a surefire way to increase your kitchen waste is to have an unorganized kitchen, pantry, and fridge/freezer. In an unorganized situation, food and other things you may need often can hide. This can make you think you don’t actually have what you need which causes you to go buy it again and the original product to expire or spoil. When you have an organized pantry or fridge/freezer, you are able to clearly see what you already have, giving you no reason to buy it again and no reason for the products to become unusable. If you have trouble in this area, a fridge organization system or rotating can organizers can be of great help.
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