5 simple ways to start having a “zero waste” kitchen

(read in Italian)

There are plenty of ways in which you can easily reduce waste in your home and use less plastic or single-use objects: the kitchen can be a great starting point for this kind of changes. I truly see as part of a lifestyle that is a real support for my well-being, even things such as:

  • being creative in the kitchen: useful not only to reduce waste but also to keep learning and remain curious about food (find here 5 simple and delicious recipes made with leftovers)
  • re-connecting with the nature around me
  • taking more conscious choices and being more aware of what we can do to reduce our negative effects on the planet

It’s always a good idea asking yourself from time to time “is my lifestyle exactly how I’d like it to be?“, “what can I change/improve?“, “if right now I’d take a step back and look at my lifestyle from a different perspective, what would I notice?”, etc.

Food market in Dublin
5 simple ways to start having a zero waste kitchen

Let’s talk about 5 ways to start having a more Earth-friendly lifestyle

1) GET CREATIVE, SAVE MONEY, AND REDUCE WASTE

You can put this idea into practice in several ways. For example:

  • leftovers can be a chance to have some food ready for your next meal or a starting point to get more creative in the kitchen
  • since cereals or legumes can have quite long cooking times, you can decide to prepare more than what you need for 1 meal and store them (plain) in the fridge for a few days: in this way, they’ll be ready whenever you need to put together a quick meal
  • start cooking more from scratch: obviously, there’s no need to suddenly go from only putting together a toast to start making bread, yogurt, tomato sauce, and fresh pasta for all your family every day! Start doing it step by step, following your own schedule, cooking skills, and needs: there’s always room for improvements!
  • start discovering food markets, local producers, organic products, and seasonal foods. It’s a good way to reduce waste (usually in a food market most of the products have less packaging), eat more according to the seasons, and get involved in all the social part that’s around food markets
  • do you have some empty glass jars? Recycle them properly or give them a new life!
  • when possible, try to buy more products without packaging or avoiding plastic. Try also to think about what are you buying and which kind of packaging are you choosing (an example: “for 2 people, should I get the bigger yogurt (500g) or 6 of the small ones?“)

2) BRING YOUR OWN REUSABLE BAGS

Whenever you plan to go for your grocery shopping, remind yourself to bring the bags with you. It can also be handy having one of them with you all the time: keep it in the car, in your purse or in the pocket of your coat (here there are some examples).

3) RECYCLE

Get organised with the different bins and be sure that everybody in the house knows how to use them. Wondering if you can or can’t recycle something? Check with your local recycling station or have a look online for specific guides made for your city/area.

4) CUT DOWN ON ALL THE SINGLE-USE STUFF

I’m talking about paper towel, cling film, parchment paper, aluminium foil, plastic bags, etc. First, take a step back and check how much of this kind of stuff are you using and start choosing reusable alternatives more often. Here there are some examples:

  • get a few beeswax wraps (there are also alternatives made with soy wax) to cover bowls, plates, or to store an open lemon or watermelon (an example: check out Bee’s Wrap)
  • get a reusable baking mat (here there are some examples)
  • be sure to have always a tea towel and a sponge on hand so it will be easier to swap the paper towel for them for example when you spill something
  • get cotton produce bags and air-tight containers to store everything properly. Some examples: the lunch boxes from Black+Blum, sandwich bags made with the beeswax wraps mentioned above, and reusable silicone bags like the ones from Stasher
  • what do you use to pack your lunch for the office? What can you change/improve? A couple of examples: swap single-use cutlery for a reusable option (you can consider a bamboo set) and get a reusable cup for you coffee on the go (like the KeepCup)

5) GIVE “UGLY” FRUIT AND VEGGIES A CHANCE!

It’s pretty common to choose the apple that looks perfect over one that has some imperfections – we have all done that! But by choosing every time those perfect looking fruit and veggies, you keep sending a message to the shop about customers’ preferences so they will adapt the offer. The result? More waste! So, give those not-so-perfect apples a chance and you’ll find out that they are tasty and nutritious exactly like they are supposed to be!

Now it’s your turn: have a look at your cooking/buying habits and check what you can start improving right now! You can also check out my product recommendations HERE

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