We all need to make an effort to reduce waste and the kitchen is a great place to start. So much food gets wasted because people buy too much or store it incorrectly, and we tend to waste a lot of energy in the kitchen too. You also have to consider the issue of packaging and look for ways to cut back on the amount of plastic that you use. This all sounds quite daunting but don’t worry, there are some simple changes that you can implement which will help you reduce your waste. These are some of the best ways to start creating a zero-waste kitchen.
5 Steps To Creating A Zero-Waste Kitchen
#1 Switch To Reusable Items
Things like paper towels or plastic wrap create a lot of unnecessary waste. But you can easily eliminate all of that waste by switching to reusable alternatives instead. For example, instead of using plastic wrap, get some beeswax wraps, which do the same job but are completely reusable. You can even make your own quite easily with some pieces of fabric and some wax, which you can get online. Alternatively, you can just use a small plate to cover food when you put it back in the refrigerator.
Cotton towels are an easy alternative to paper towels but people often go for the more wasteful option because it’s convenient. You don’t need to worry about washing them and you can just throw them away. But if you get a few cotton towels so you have a good supply of clean ones, you only need to wash them once a week or so and it’s not really that much trouble.
#2 Improve Food Storage
Good storage is vital if you want to prevent food waste. If you can keep everything organized well, it’s easier to make sure things get used up in the right order and they don’t get lost at the back of the cupboard where they will go bad and eventually be thrown away. If you want to make some simple upgrades to your kitchen, you should always start by improving storage. Even if you don’t add more cupboard space, you can use dividers and organizers to keep track of things more effectively and you should find it easier to stay on top of waste.
#3 Learn How To Preserve Food
Preserving food is one of the best ways to cut back on waste. It’s important to plan your shopping well so you don’t buy more than you need but even if you do that, you will still end up with fruits or vegetables that are going bad sometimes. When that happens, you can avoid throwing them away if you learn how to preserve food. Most vegetables can be pickled and it only takes a few minutes to do. You don’t necessarily have to pickle in vinegar if you don’t want to, you can do it with some salt instead. So, if you have vegetables that you don’t think will be used, why not chop them up and pickle them instead?
Any leftover fruit that you are not going to eat can be made into jam or marmalade. Once you preserve food in this way, it will last for months, so it will always get eaten.
#4 Use Your Food Scraps
If you are serious about going zero-waste, you need to use the food scraps like skins or ends that you chop off when cooking. The most obvious use for this is compost, so if you have a garden, you should start a pile right away. You can also make vegetable stock out of all of those offcuts. Keep a bag in the freezer and add your food scraps to it whenever you cook. Once you have a good amount, you can boil them down to make homemade stock. This prevents food waste and you cut back on packaging waste too because you don’t need to use shop-bought stock.
#5 Repair Appliances Instead Of Replacing Them
Food and packaging waste are both big problems that need to be tackled in the kitchen, but appliance waste does more damage to the environment. Refrigerators are particularly bad because the chemicals used to cool them can be incredibly harmful. The problem is, we have a very wasteful mindset towards appliances and when they stop working, we usually replace them right away and throw out the old ones. If you really want to cut waste in a significant way, you should consider repairing them instead. You can easily find reliable appliance parts and in many cases, the problem can be fixed by simply replacing a single part. The cost of buying the parts and calling somebody out to fit them is much lower than the cost of a new appliance, so you’re saving money as well as reducing waste.
Creating a zero-waste kitchen might seem like an impossible task but it is achievable. Make these simple changes and you will be well on your way to eliminating waste from your kitchen.