5 Simple Ways to Go Zero Waste in the Kitchen

The Kitchen: Where Sustainability Starts

When it comes to reducing your footprint, the kitchen is an easy and logical place to start. You can create a lot of waste in the kitchen but you also have the opportunity to offset all of that waste. Between the food you choose to bring into your house to how you deal with waste generated by that food to how you clean your dishes and the zero waste dishwasher soap you use, there are so many ways to make differences, big and small, with a few changes in the kitchen.

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Why Going Zero Waste in the Kitchen is Important

One of the biggest challenges to going zero waste in the kitchen is addressing wasted food. In the United States alone, $165 billion worth of food per year goes uneaten (that’s 40% of all food consumed in the country). Not only is this a waste of money, but it’s also a huge contributor to greenhouse gas emissions – the decomposing food in landfills emits methane, a potent greenhouse gas.

Aside from waste, how you clean your kitchen is just as important. Choosing a zero waste dishwasher soap or detergent, compostable sponges and dish scrubbers can help you reduce the waste stream coming from your kitchen as well.

Ways to Reduce Food Waste:

One of the easiest ways to go zero waste in the kitchen is to be more thoughtful about the amount of food you buy: Making sure not to purchase in excess can help reduce the amount of food you’re throwing out.

Plan your meals: Meal planning can not only help you save time, but it can also help inform your food purchasing decisions and reduce the amount of food waste produced by your kitchen.

Use a freezer: freezing individual meals in reusable containers is an easy way to save food, reduce waste, and make for a quick and easy meal when you’re in a time crunch!

Packaging is Another Large Contributor to Waste from your Kitchen

zero waste in the kitchen plastic packaging
Credit: Roberta Errani

Food packaging waste is another big issue. The average American generates about 1,500 pounds of trash per year, and much of that comes from single-use plastic packaging. By switching to reusable containers and bags and being more conscious of your shopping habits and where you source your food, you can drastically reduce the amount of packaging waste you generate.

Focusing on using reusable shopping bags at the grocery store or farmer’s market can help you reduce your use of single-use plastics for produce and other products dramatically. When at the store, keep an eye out for food items not wrapped in plastic or look for items packaged in compostable and recyclable containers (think eggs in non-styrofoam containers).

Compost Food Scraps

We produce a lot of food waste. With up to 40% of the food we buy ends up in the trash, it’s important to consider other methods to divert your food scraps away from landfills. Instead of throwing away billions of pounds of food every year, consider starting a home compost bin or find a local composting service that will pick up your food scraps for you!

zero waste in the kitchen compost
Credit: Lenka Dzurendova

Composting is a great way to reduce your food waste stream and reduce the amount of trash you’re sending to the landfill – and it’s incredibly easy to do. Composting is a process where organic materials are broken down into nutrient-rich soil. This can be done at home with very little effort.

By moving the decomposition of organic materials from an anaerobic process to an aerobic process, composting food scraps is great for the environment because it reduces methane emissions from landfills. Methane is a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change and is much more potent than CO2.

Composting, and the produced soil, can also help reduce the need for chemical fertilizers and pesticides, which can pollute water supplies and are large greenhouse gas contributors in their own right.

So next time you’re about to throw away some food scraps, think about composting them instead!

Doing the Dishes

zero waste in the kitchen dishes
Credit: Nathan Dumlao

You can make doing the dishes an eco-friendly activity, too! Using eco-friendly or zero waste dishwasher soap and other cleaning products like compostable sponges and scrubbers are easy swaps for you to make that can make a world of difference. Check out some of our favorite zero waste dishwasher soap and kitchen cleaning product options below!

Cook at Home and Ditch Disposables

Cooking at home is another great way to save money and benefit the environment. The average American spends more than $65 per week on food delivery. From that statistic alone, you could save over $3000 per year by cooking more at home. With each meal delivered, there comes a lot of single-use waste as well. Every time you decide to cook at home instead of ordering out, you’re avoiding sending that packaging waste to the landfill as well – another easy win!

In the same vein as cooking at home, you can look to avoid disposables in other areas of the kitchen as well. Invest in some reusable dish towels, sponges, scrubbers, and storage containers. This will help you avoid using paper towels, plastic wrap, disposable bags, and other plastic items that will ultimately end up in the landfill.

The Benefits of Being More Sustainable in the Kitchen

The kitchen is one of the most important rooms in the house when it comes to going zero waste. There are so many ways to reduce your waste in the kitchen we hope you can use some of the suggestions outlined in this article to help! From composting to meal planning to zero waste dishwasher soaps, these tips will help you cut down on your kitchen waste and save money in the process.