Zero Waste series: How to have a zero waste kitchen

I’ve been mulling over how I can cut back on plastic in every aspect of my life. Because let’s face it: plastic is evil.

Did you know that since the 1950s 8.3 BILLION tons of plastic have been made? And only 9% of it has been recycled. (source)

And by the year 2050, it’s estimated that there will be more plastic in the ocean than fish. Let that sink in.

While being zero waste goes far beyond just cutting out plastic, this is a crisis. And we need to change our ways.

So today I’m kicking off my zero waste series! Every week (Monday, to be exact) there will be a new post on the blog for the next 4 weeks detailing how to cut out the waste in different rooms and areas of your life. Starting with the kitchen!

how to have a zero waste kitchen

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How to have a zero-waste kitchen:

A lot of plastic, food waste and single-use items come traipsing through our houses. The kitchen, in my opinion is where most of the wastefulness happens. We can cut back on most, if not all of this waste by simply changing the way we do things and the things we use.

1. Use cloth napkins and reusable rags – Napkins, paper towels, and disposable wash rags can really add up over time. Especially when the items become useless after just one use.

Swapping to reusables will not only cut out waste dramatically in your kitchen but will also save you a ton of money in the long run.

2. Reusable snack bags – Ziplock bags are pure plastic. Use them once and they’re here forever. Especially when you’re saving snacks or taking them on the go, pop them in a reusable, silicon bag and save yourself the money and the waste.

3.To-go lunch kit – Out with disposable brown paper bags and in with a stylish re-usable lunch bag you can take with you wherever you go!

4. Glass jars – Mason jars are perfect to use as cups, storage, freezing food and even for shopping! Yup, you can use your glass jars at the grocery store for bulk items to avoid those awful little plastic baggies.

5. Reusable containers – I swear that I couldn’t live without my “meal prep” containers. (As I like to call them!) They’re the perfect size for, you guessed it, meal prepping. But they also make for great food storage with their airtight lids. They also freeze well for more waste-free storage!

Bonus idea: take one of these bad boys along to a restaurant to avoid taking leftovers out in Styrofoam.

6. Water bottle – If you’re still buying and using plastic water bottles, what are you doing?? Just kidding, no shame here. But it is time for you to switch to a reusable one.

Bring it with you wherever you go to avoid temptation to grab a disposable one in a jiffy.

7. Reusable coffee cup – Same as your water bottle, bring a reusable coffee cup whatever you go to avoid the excess waste.

It’s estimated that 25 BILLION coffee cups are thrown away each year in the USA alone. Do your part, bring a cup with you. These are perfect for at home or on the go!

8. Metal Straw – You know I had to include this on the list. This one’s pretty self-explanatory. Whether you’re making drinks at home or taking out! Always use your reusable straw!

9. Plastic-free sponge – Sponges and most dish cleaners are filled with plastic and frankly quite disposable. Switch to a plastic-free sponge that can be washed time and time again and a scrubby or brush with a wooden handle.

10. Dishwashing soap block – Not only is conventional liquid dish soap filled with chemicals (another topic for another time) but it most likely comes in a plastic bottle. If you’re serious about cutting down on waste try switching to a dishwashing soap block.

11. Beeswax wraps – Say goodbye to plastic wrap once and for all! It’s an insane amount of waste for something that’s only usable once and then useless.

Beeswax wraps are a plastic-free alternative to get the same job done. They mold perfectly to fit to any bowl, pan or even around fruit!

12. Tea infusers – Most tea bags contain plastic and therefore they are not biodegradable. Meaning they’ll be around for a very, very long time. Switch to loose leaf tea and grab an adorable tea infuser to cut down on your tea waste.

13.French press– There’s lots of debate around the wastefulness when it comes to coffee. Do you use a Keurig? A pour-over? A french press? What’s the least wasteful? Well, that always depends.

To weigh the odds, check out my zero waste coffee routine here.

My personal favorite is the french press. There’s very little to no waste involved and a much cheaper option than a Chemex/pour-over system.

If you’re sticking with you’re Keurig, switch to reusable coffee pods to cut down on the excess waste.

14. Composter – And finally, my last essential for your zero waste kitchen is a small compost system. This small, sleek one fits right on your countertop and contains the smell. (So, no worries there.)

You can really cut back all sorts of waste by throwing most food scraps into the composter and other items including Q-tips, napkins, paper towels. But you won’t need to do that for long once you get the reusable version of those items 😉

You can do a little research to find out where your town or city does mass composting, or if you have a garden it makes the perfect fertilizer!

how to have a zero waste kitchen

And there you have it! 15 essentials to help you kick waste to the curb and truly live a more waste-free life.

If you’re sitting here thinking: “That’s a hefty investment to go zero waste” I totally get it! It definitely can be. It’s important to remember to use all of your current disposable items up before investing in reusable items. And that by investing in these items, you’re actually saving a ton of money in the long run.

If you’re still on the fence you can check out my post all about how to cut back on waste by using the things you already have, here.

Check out part two of our series: Your guide to a zero-waste bathroom, right here!

Part three: Zero waste laundry routine, here!

Part four: Zero waste grocery shopping, here!

zero waste kitchen

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