One of the biggest things that will eat into any food budget is waste. The funny thing about waste is, you often don’t realize how much you are truly throwing away because it is usually little by little that it happens. Waste is a huge issue in many American households and it not only cuts into budgets, but makes our carbon footprints much bigger. Imagine this; every time you throw out food that was wasted, that is time it spend growing, time it spent harvesting and time spent getting it ready for market. That is wasted water and nutrients from the soil. It is very odd to find a home gardener or farmer that wastes food because they know the value of what it takes to get to the table.
In our far removed society, we have the luxury of eating food that we never saw growing. It’s almost as it we are so detached, that we think food just shows up in the stores for us to eat.
Not only do we waste a lot of food, we waste a lot of other things like paper products, plastic and more. So much garbage from our homes comes from the kitchen! This is not a post about making you feel guilty, but rather to hopefully open your eyes to what you can change in your own home. While it may not be possible to have a zero-waste kitchen for everyone, it is possible to reduce the amount of waste you produce in your home. Here are some tips on how to have a zero waste kitchen.
How to Have a Zero Waste Kitchen
Look at the packaging you buy. While paper means we cut trees, paper is also a renewable resource, too. We can grow more trees, we can’t un-make plastic. Look for paper packaging on items and choose them over plastic ones. Another option is glass. Glass is sustainable as well.
Make a meal plan for the week and shop for only that food. If you make a list with exactly what you will need for that m\week’s menu and only pick up those amounts, you are fer less likely to have extras and waste things.
Buy in bulk. Buying in bulk not only saves you money, but it also uses less packaging and many bulk items allow you to only buy what you need without wasting that which you don’t need. Bulk purchases also help you use more dry goods as they are non-perishable so there is less waste overall.
Re-grow vegetables and fruits when you can. Did you know you can regrow many vegetables from just small parts of the harvested plant? For instance, I re-grow my green onions in less than a week! Check out my tips on how to re-grow green onions in nothing more than a cup, some water and a little sunshine indoors!
Freeze things that are about to expire. Many things that we don’t buy frozen freeze just fine. For instance, you can freeze milk easily and many fresh vegetables can be blanched and frozen as well. This allows you more time to use them up rather than just tossing them in the trash.
Re-use what you can. Egg shells can be used in the garden, citrus peels make wonderful degreasers and garbage disposal fresheners and coffee grounds are awesome for cleaning out cast iron skillets. Stale bread makes great croutons. Use whatever you can instead of throwing it out. You can also use plastic containers that your food comes in to store leftovers. If you don’t already, compost trimming on produce as well as egg shells and other things, too. Just don’t compost meats.
Encourage your family to only take what they will eat at meals and snack time. Remind them there is always seconds.
Don’t use paper products when you don’t need to. Use cloth towels instead of paper towels, ceramic plates instead of paper ones and sponges to clean with instead of wipes.