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Five easy zero waste kitchen swaps

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Read for even more ways to get your home zero waste? Check out my zero waste bathroom post!

Is it just me or is the kitchen the biggest waste-generator of all, no matter how low waste you get? From food waste to packaging to water waste, the kitchen is a minefield of potential trash. Here are five easy zero waste kitchen swaps you can make with minimal pain and big payoff!

Excess food. 

Roughly 50% of all produce in the USA is THROWN AWAY. That’s about 60 million tons of food heading to the landfill each year; or $160 billion. Remember – food going to the landfill doesn’t have the chance to decompose, so it’s just sitting there without a chance to return to the earth!

What you could be using: no problem, right? You’re refusing excess food you don’t need and rotting anything extra in your shiny new compost bin!

Plastic produce/grocery bags. 

This is a no-brainer but something people still struggle with – especially on a quick stop between obligations. Take a look around any store and you’ll see tons of mindless consumption.

What you could be using: make sure you always have a cloth bag with you, hanging next to the door, or tossed in your car. I keep some of these mesh bags in my purse at all times – they don’t take up any space but often come in handy! Never let the excuse of being unprepared make you fail!

Paper towels. 

I’ve never been a paper towel person, so I never had to transition away from them. However, it seems like a lot of people feel the pain of letting them go. Paper towels are an unnecessary waste (and cost!), though, with a simple alternative!

What you could be using: rags, ideally sourced from t-shirts which recently bit the dust. You stop using paper towels and save a shirt from heading to the landfill. Win-win! (I like to keep a small container under the sink so I can just toss the rags in when they’re too dirty. Then it’s easy to just toss them in the washer!)

Plastic wrap. 

So convenient, so easy, so wasteful. I never even thought about my plastic wrap use until I used up a box once and realized just how much plastic I’d used for just 1-2 uses. Terrible! Avoiding plastic wrap can be difficult, but not impossible once you break the habit.

What you could be using: wax wrap that mold into shape when you warm it up. BeesWrap is a big company with some amazing products or you can do it yourself! If you don’t have that, go old school: stick your food in a bowl and cover it with a plate.

Sponges and cleaners. 

Plastic sponges and chemical cleaners are cheap and convenient, but not great for the environment. Plastic sponges are also huge cesspools of bacteria that aren’t easy to clean. Traditional commercial cleaners have ingredients that I personally wouldn’t drink, so I don’t really feel comfortable washing down into our water stream.

What you could be using: rags or a bamboo scrubber instead of sponges. Bulk castille soap is a great alternative to chemical laden dish soaps or counter cleaners.

What are some easy zero waste kitchen swaps you’ve used that have helped you reduce your waste? Please spread the knowledge in the comments below!

Five easy zero waste kitchen swaps - Green Indy Blog

9 thoughts on “Five easy zero waste kitchen swaps”

  1. Isn’t it so funny how we are so used to using some of these things that life without them seems impossible? Until you stop. Then you realize how odd it is to use them in the first place. Like plastic wrap (aside from being plastic) is literally buying something to throw it away.

  2. I have switched everything up, except I haven’t tried bees wax wraps (though we only use plastic wrap or aluminum foil once or twice a year). With the extra food we have a worm compost and pet rats, so we are lucky in that area.

    1. I like the bees wax wrap (I did a DIY, though, didn’t purchase) though it’s not as wildly helpful as you’d think. I find most of the time it’s pretty easy to get by without it.

  3. I currently live with my parents, thought I have gotten them to switch a ton of stuff, they still wont get rid of the tissues and paper towels. They see my alternative as being unsanitary. Stupid Western Consumerist Society Marketing that has forced them into believing anything but napkins, tissues, and paper towels is unsanitary….. Instead of forcing them to change, I have seen all of their other changes as positive movements forward. It takes everyone some bit of time to change their lifestyle, in time I hope they see the positive aspect of not wasting their money on these unnecessary items.

    1. Heck yes! Sometimes it can be really hard to pick out the positives when those glaring negatives are right there in front of us, but you’re exactly right – we’ve got to appreciate what’s going right. Otherwise, we’ll just end up frustrated and fighting!

      Good luck on your journey – can’t imagine doing it at home with the parentals!

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