Five ways to set up a zero waste kitchen

Filed in Uncategorized by on June 28, 2018 1 Comment
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bowl of plums on a kitchen worksurface to illustrate a zero waste kitchenOne of the most popular topics for Zero waste Week is reducing food waste.

Part of the attraction is that it can save money and well as reduce waste. And it’s something that affects us all. We all have to eat, right?

It got me thinking to other areas of waste in our kitchens. It’s not just food waste, there’s storage, gadgets and appliances, and even the kitchen itself to think about!

If you’re ready to spread the zero waste concept throughout your home, here are some ideas to consider:

Food storage

One of my mantras is that there are never leftovers, only ingredients! By that I mean that with a simple shift in mindset, we can begin to see the value in those little bits of food we might usually throw away. Maybe there’s a tablespoon of tuna left in a tin, half a portion of sweetcorn from tonight’s dinner or quarter of a red pepper in the fridge. If you put these together with some mayonnaise, you have the beginnings of tomorrow’s lunch.

But the out of sight, out of mind approach can lead to waste, so it’s important to store these ‘ingredients’ in a prominent place. I like to use glass containers in my fridge. This keeps things in my field of sight and reminds me to use things up. Read this article for more ideas on reducing food waste.

Food shopping

Supermarkets are brilliant for convenience, but the packaging isn’t always conducive to a zero waste lifestyle. By taking your own reusable containers to the deli counter, fishmongers, butcher and bakery you can bring home your shopping with much less packaging. For this I like either stainless steel or plastic boxes, as they are so much lighter to carry and they don’t break.

Your kitchen!

Have you ever stopped to think about your actual kitchen? I’ve been thinking about them a lot recently as our kitchen really is getting past its best. Yet I’ve hesitated to organise a refit because the construction industry is one of the most wasteful sectors. Recently I’ve come across companies like the Used Kitchen Exchange where you can both buy and sell your kitchen units and fixtures. It’s a brilliant way to keep valuable resources out of landfill, save money and perhaps pick up something unique.

Gadgets and appliances

If you’re anything like me, you’ll have at least one ‘must have’ small appliance that gathers dust and takes up space. It’s tough to go against powerful marketing and advertising, but so many gadgets are a quick hit that don’t earn their place in your home. So before you rush out to buy the latest trend, ask yourself if you really need it. Take a look around your gadgets and take an honest appraisal of what is providing value for money. For me I can’t live without my slow cooker and smoothie maker. But the juicer wasn’t a great buy as it’s too time consuming to clean. I’ll be offering that up on Freecycle and reclaiming some space!

Disposable items

Do you buy sandwich bags, clingfilm or wipes? Now is the time to reconsider your options. Where could you swap out a disposable item for a reusable one? Kitchen towel can be replaced with washable cloths – you can even make your own from old cotton t-shirts. Here are several alternatives to clingfilm and why not put sandwiches straight into a small box, or use beeswax wrap rather than spend money and resources on plastic sandwich bags?

What about you – what steps are you taking to organise a zero waste kitchen?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

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  1. Penny Thompson says:

    I love this site as i pick up tips we try not to have much food waste and with a hungry guineapig to feed we don’t end up with much waste keep up the good work

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