You might not realize it, but a good portion of your household’s trash comes from your cooking and dining rooms. In fact, the average American family throws out around 200 lbs. of kitchen waste annually. These consist of various biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and recyclable waste products.
Should you spend less time in the kitchen to reduce waste? Not necessarily. Many first-timers find the idea of creating a zero-waste so intimidating that they end up making drastic, impractical changes. Panicking does more harm than good.
To help you get a good starting point in reducing kitchen waste, we listed seven easy, actionable ways to make a more sustainable kitchen.
1. Prepare Your Meals Ahead of Schedule
The country has a growing food waste problem. Statistics show that Americans end up wasting around 40% of the country’s food supply. Meanwhile, another research suggests that every individual wastes at least one pound of food daily.
This wasteful, neglectful lifestyle stems from the fact that food is always readily available. People would rather cook and buy more food than they can finish than risk not feeling full after their meal. Modern society takes food for granted. At this rate, not even the most abundant food resources would last.
Reduce your food waste through meal planning. Prepare your food ahead of meals ahead of schedule and only cook what you can finish. Avoid overindulging in excessive amounts of junk. Not only is it wasteful, but it’s also extremely unhealthy.
Pro Tip: Store your meals in BPA-free food storage containers from the Fine Dine Store. If used properly, these durable glass containers could last for several years, thus eliminating the need for Ziploc plastic bags.
2. Repurpose Recyclable Items
Always be on the lookout for quality items that you can repurpose. Store your herbs and spices in old jars, try restoring damaged pieces of furniture, and start segregating the recyclables from other kitchen waste.
3. Track Your Kitchen’s Trash Bin
Are your efforts to live sustainably working? An excellent way to gauge how much waste your household produces is to keep track of your trash bin. Filling trash bins in less than a day indicates a wasteful lifestyle.
Of course, you don’t actually have to weigh the amount of garbage in your trash bins. Just keep track of how often you take out the trash. Ideally, you should not have to dispose of your kitchen waste more than a couple of times a week.
4. Eliminate Single-Use Waste Products
For most families, their kitchen waste primarily consists of single-use waste products like napkins, cotton pads, plastic bags, and tissue paper. While these items make cleaning more convenient, they’re quite harmful to the environment.
The best approach is to swap out single-use items for reusable products. For example, instead of using disposable cotton pads, switch to cotton rounds that are sustainable, like the LastRound from LastObject. Each pack can be used 1,750 times, so just imagine how much cotton products that saves.
You can follow the same rule with other items. Instead of wiping the kitchen counters with paper towels, use the sustainable microfiber towels from Zwipes. As long as you clean these cloth products properly, each piece would last more than a year or two.
5. Buy Grocery Items in Bulk
Buy groceries in bulk. Individually packaged items with their own wrappers or retail cartoons are detrimental to the environment. Your trash bin is probably brimming with these items. Also, individual packages are too small and fragile to undergo the recycling price, so they often go straight to landfills.
6. Compost Biodegradable Kitchen Waste
Don’t throw out your food scraps! Gather your biodegradable kitchen waste such as meal scraps, fruit peels, and unused vegetable parts, then throw them in your compost. For best results, strive to make a well-balanced garden compost bin. Poorly prepared compost consisting solely of food scraps tends to attract harmful insects and viruses.
7. Filter Your Tap Water
Over 60 million plastic bottles go straight to landfills every day. Continuing to buy water per bottle or gallon would only contribute to the country’s growing plastic problem.
Instead of buying water, get a reliable water filter. High-quality water filters go for around $25 to $50 online. Most of these models require minimal maintenance. For example, you can use the Brita Basic Faucet Water Filter System for months on end without having to replace anything but its built-in filters.
Building a More Sustainable, Eco-Friendly Kitchen
These tips are some of the simplest ways to cook and eat more sustainably. There are dozens of other techniques, so feel free to modify your strategy however you want. Find a plan that suits your lifestyle.
Overall, the key to creating a zero-waste kitchen is making more responsible, mindful choices. Throw out less food, keep an eye out for recyclables, and ditch single-use plastic. Incorporate these habits into your family’s daily routine, and you should start producing less trash after just a few weeks.
Also, don’t let the term “zero waste” intimidate you. Stressing over its semantics will only make you feel sad and guilty whenever you throw something in the trash. Focus on reducing kitchen waste instead of eliminating it.