Tips for Reducing Waste in your Kitchen
The kitchen has always been my biggest problem area when it comes to plastic packaging. Buying individually packed items, storing things in cling film, cartons that can’t be recycled, and the list goes on…
In this post (which is connected to the video below) I’ll show (and link) you some of the swaps I’ve made. Some of these may also be covered in my Reduced Waste Swaps for Home post.
If you have any other suggestions for me please feel welcome to leave them in the comments below!
First I will address some problem areas that I am stuck on how to fix:
Meat (I will not be changing to a vegan or meat-free diet, as that diet isn’t super sustainable either - such as top soil degradation etc, it would be bad for my PCOS, and very low protein - which is not ideal for my training goals)
Sports supplements (training aids we use in combination with a high protein diet)
Snap frozen fruit/veg (we go through enormous amounts of produce so at this point in time it still makes sense for us to buy frozen to prevent more spoilage than necessary).
Now for the good stuff..
Bring your own bags
I feel like this point doesn’t even really need announcing because it is so basic, but bring your own canvas bags to the store.
To pick up fresh produce or goods from a bulk food store bring some muslin or tight-weave produce bags along with you. This will eliminate the need for small plastic bags, and can mean you don’t need to bring as many glass jars (making your trip lighter).
Buy package free
Look at me rolling through with the amazing tips you’ve probably never heard before (sarcasm, clearly haha). Where you can opt for fresh fruit/veg with no packaging. I find the markets are the best place for this.
AMBER SPRAY BOTTLE
1L PRESERVE JAR
Glass for storage in your fridge
A big problem I would come across frequently was half-finished produce. I don’t know why I didn’t think of it earlier, but instead of using zip lock bags or cling film to keep things fresh, I just put them in recycled glass jars, or my glass meal prep containers from IKEA.
Make what you can
This one is definitely easier said than done, and it will depend on how much time you have to devote to these things. When it comes to the kitchen I find the easiest things to DIY and save some packaging on are:
Crushed walnuts (I used to buy the pre-cut ones all the time)
Buy in bulk
Depending on where you’re based you should be able to find a package free shop or two around. They’re still not common, but I’m definitely seeing more spring up. I like to do a big trip for dry goods once a month or so, and pick up my fresh produce more frequently.
Reuse glass jars
If you do buy something in glass jars (for me the main culprits are sugar free maple syrup, peanut butter, strawberry jam - Mitch prefers the store-bought one haha, and almond butter) you can simply wash them up to reuse later on. I find them handy for storing chopped or half-used produce in the fridge, as well as dry goods that I keep in smaller amounts (cacao, cacao nibs, some nuts).
Plastic-free tea bags
Did you know that not all tea bags can be composted? Some contain plastic! So I opted for 100% cotton reusable bags instead.
I have been slowly swapping my kitchen utensils (this will probably take years) over to bamboo when they need replacing, rather than picking up new plastic ones.
Biodegradable dishwashing tools
We still use our dishwasher when we can stack it full because it requires very low water consumption, but we do need to have scrubbers and things on hand. I bought a bamboo set and also paired it with a wooden vegetable scrubber and coconut scourer.
Instead of going through rolls of paper towel I picked up a few hemp cloths that can be washed and reused for cleaning my kitchen surfaces.
XL KITCHEN JARS
GLASS STORAGE CONTAINER
Grow some things
I like the idea of growing what I can, at the moment I have basil, coriander, sweet potatoes, and strawberries. I don’t have a yard where I live, so I have bought and built some garden beds.
With the food scraps that we can’t use or can’t give to the rabbit we like to compost. I use the liquid from this compost diluted with water to fertilise my indoor plants.
RE-USEABLE TEA BAGS
I hope this gives you some ideas to reduce the plastic in your kitchen!