Making Your Kitchen A Zero-Waste Space: 12 Top Tips
If you’re hoping to live a zero-waste life, focusing on changes you can make in the kitchen is crucial. There is a lot of waste that can occur in the kitchen, but fortunately, there are plenty of ways to try and prevent and reduce the amount of waste you create.
Some of the ways you can reduce the amount of waste created in your home may require hard work, while others are practical changes that you can quickly adapt to throughout your daily routine. Here are some of our essential tips to help you make your kitchen a zero-waste space.
Start A Compost Heap
Composting is an excellent way to reduce wasted food. Much of the waste in the kitchen comes from leftover food or things like peelings. A home compost heap will allow you to reduce the amount of waste in your kitchen bin and provide you with free food for your plants. It is important to know what you can and can’t compost. For instance, anything dairy or meat waste should not be composted in some heaps as this can attract pests.
To start a compost heap, you will need a suitable container to place in your garden. This should be large enough to fit all the leftover food you might add to it. It can be made of plastic, wood or any other durable material.
Buy In Bulk
Buying in bulk can help reduce the amount of waste produced by packaging. This works best for foods that are non-perishable or have a long shelf life. Instead of buying small packets of everyday kitchen staples, look for bigger options to reduce the amount of packaging needed. You could also consider shopping in a zero-waste shop that allows you to fill up your own containers.
Freeze Food Early
If you know that you won’t use some of the food in your fridge, ensure that you freeze it as soon as possible. This can help avoid spoilage and ensure that you can use the food when you need it.
Donate Unwanted Food
If you have food that you no longer want or need, rather than throwing it out or composting it, consider donating it to a local food bank. This can help ensure that the food goes to people who need it and reduce the amount of waste coming from your home. It is a good idea to contact your local food banks to find out what kind of foods they are currently accepting so that you can be certain your donation will be welcome.
Use Sustainable Utensils
Finding utensils made from sustainable materials can be invaluable to prevent kitchen waste. When buying new utensils, switch any plastic items for sustainable materials like bamboo. You can find plenty of excellent Eco Products UK options from Zero Zen to suit any budget and kitchen need.
Buy Products With Less Packaging
When shopping in the supermarket, look for items that use less packaging. By switching up your buying habits, you will contribute to lowered demand for products with excessive packaging. Over time, this will make food producers sit up and take notice. It may help to carefully review your options when shopping and make a conscious choice to buy only products with minimal to no packaging. If you do purchase products with packaging, ensure that the packaging is recyclable.
Drink Tap Water
Given that tap water in the UK is safe to drink, buying bottled water is not only an unnecessary expense; it is also a huge waste factor. If you need to take water on the go, invest in a reusable water bottle made from sustainable materials such as glass.
Prepare Your Meals In Advance
Preparing your meals in advance can help you ensure you buy only what you need when you head to the grocery shop. You could consider making a list of all the meals you will cook throughout the week and filling out your grocery list with only the items needed for these meals. This can reduce the chances of impulse buying or shopping without a clear plan in mind. This, in turn, will result in lowered food waste.
Buy Sustainable, Reusable Shopping Bags
When you go shopping, it is an excellent idea to take reusable shopping bags with you. This will ensure that you don’t need to buy plastic bags to transport your shopping, contributing to unnecessary plastic waste.
You should look for sustainable shopping bags made from materials that you can recycle. You could also consider investing in crates or boxes. Many grocery shops offer ‘Bags for Life’, which they will replace for you if they break, which can be a great option to help cut costs and keep your shopping habits sustainable.
Do Your Grocery Shopping Online
Grocery shopping online is a great way to reduce the chances of impulse buying. It can also be much more convenient for those with busy lives. In addition, when you shop online, you cut out the emissions from transporting yourself to the shops by car or public transport. When many people do this, it can reduce the overall emissions from multiple shoppers.
Grow Your Own Veggies
Growing your own vegetables means you will be less reliant on store-bought produce. Anything grown in your home or garden won’t require any packaging, and you can pick the vegetables you need when cooking. This can also reduce waste, as the vegetables you don’t need can remain fresh in the ground until you use them. It may be beneficial to start by growing simple veggies like potatoes and gradually increase in difficulty.
Freeze Your Leftovers
If you have leftover food from meals, you should ensure that you freeze them as soon as possible. Even if there is only a small amount of food left, you should avoid putting it in the household waste bin. You could instead freeze this in a small container to add to your next batch of cooking. This can be particularly useful for foods like pasta sauces. Many people cook large meals to freeze them and reduce the amount of cooking they need to do throughout the week.