My kitchen is not at a stage of being ZERO waste, but it is something that I work on everyday. At the beginning it is overwhelming to think of every single sustainable alternative you should use or which eco-friendly habits you need to acquire.
In this blog post, I am going to share with you my first zero waste habits that I followed at the beginning of my zero waste journey. Once you get into a habit of following through with them, you can start adding more and more sustainable alternatives into your kitchen and daily purchasing habits.
What is zero waste?
Zero waste is a continuous process of reducing the amount of waste and carbon footprint that you produce on a daily basis.This involves things like buying less, reusing what you already have, and switching to sustainable alternatives. Zero waste is a journey of learning to make more eco-conscious decisions and reducing waste.
Zero waste does not happen overnight. It takes time to reevaluate every corner of your home, and declutter. While decluttering, remember that throwing away things is not the goal. Try repurposing the items you already own, you can also donate some to charity, or ask your friends if they need anything. The goal of zero waste is to use the already existing resources as much as possible to their full capacity before sending it to the landfill.
My advice: use your imagination and be creative!
Zero waste lifestyle will make you change your daily habits, purchasing habits and mindset overall. It makes you realise that you can go long with just the essentials…unfortunately with mass consumerism spread not many people notice the amount of unnecessary items we buy.
Zero Waste in Eastern Europe
I find it difficult to lead a zero waste lifestyle in my area, but it shouldn’t be this way. Government should take action toward recycling practices, make it accessible and encouraging for the whole population to acquire recycling as a daily habit.
At the beginning of my zero waste journey I was overwhelmed at the amount of waste I was producing on a daily and weekly basis. As someone who cooks a lot, most of my waste was coming from food packaging, my trash can would get filled up in just a few days. I started working around limiting the amount of waste I produced from grocery shopping, and coffee take out. I am committed to building a zero waste kitchen and sustainable purchasing habits that come along with it.
My first zero waste kitchen action plan looked something like this:
With zero waste lifestyle you always need to be prepared. If you regularly go to the grocery store or grab coffee in a coffee shop, you should pack these everyday essentials like a tote bag and a coffee mug beforehand. This way you can use a reusable bag instead of buying a single use plastic bag and the same goes for reusable bottles, and cups. If you prefer getting coffee from your favorite coffee shop, go ahead. Just ask the barista to use your reusable coffee cup.
I hope you find these zero waste tips useful and helpful for you to start creating your own purrrfect zero waste kitchen.
1 . Buy Local
Buying local is a great approach for reducing waste and creating a zero waste kitchen in your home. There are many benefits to buying vegetables and fruits from your local markets. The vegetables and fruits are sold in bulk, and are not packaged in a single use plastic. You can find seasonal produce and it is usually cheaper to buy from the local farmers market. The produce is usually much fresher and grown organically. This is a great way of contributing and supporting your local farmers community.
Oh most importantly no plastic receipts.
2 . Plastic Bags
Switching from single use plastic bags to reusable produce bags is the next step towards a zero waste kitchen.
I tend to cook at home so I am always after different fruits and vegetables at the farmers market and grocery store. I like to buy a lot of vegetables and fruits for cooking different nutritious vegan recipes. It has been 2 years that I have switched to using only reusable produce bags, and it makes my shopping more earthy.
In local bakeries you can go with your own reusable bread bag, and purchase bread without creating any waste. On the plus side, local bakeries have much better bread that is fresh and locally produced.
3 . Buy Less
Zero waste is not about buying new sustainable alternatives, it is so much simpler than that. My first step was to go over everything that I have, and figure out how to make what I have more multifunctional.
You do not need a separate tool for every single thing, I just want you to be creative. Before I was educated on zero waste, I did spend a lot of my money on kitchen tools and appliances. 5 years later, I still have most of those kitchen equipment, and I have found even more uses for them.
When you do need to buy a kitchen utensil or equipment do consider a sustainable alternative switch.
Here are some straightforward eco-friendly alternatives:
Baking paper -> Baking sheet
Foil baking shapes -> Reusable stainless steel baking pans
Plastic Sponges -> Sustainable wooden dish washing brush. For dish washing I switched to sustainable dish washing brushes, made out of wood and organic vegan bristles.
Dish washing soap -> Buy in bulk, or switch to an organic sustainable dish washing block
Paper Towels -> Reusable towels. Instead of buying paper towels I use reusable towels for cleaning counter tops or any kind of spillage.
4 . Plastic Cups&Bottles
Reusable coffee cups and a HydroFlask were the most pleasing zero waste switches. It pushes me to make my own coffee or tea at home or take it to go in my reusable stainless steel Starbucks tumbler cup. When I am running short on time, I grab my own reusable cup at a coffee shop, and ask them to use it. Most coffee shops have been extremely welcoming of such sustainable alternatives.
Bring your own reusable water bottle to stay hydrated throughout the day. My first reusable glass bottle was from an orange juice that I bought. [Remember tip #3 – Buy Less]
5 . Cute Jar Collection
I always preferred to buy food packaged in jars. I usually reuse jars at home for drinks, food storage, and for holding and storing kitchen utensils. I started buying more products that were packaged in glass jars, and tin cans instead of single use plastic. I do not have that many bulk stores around, so I try to focus on finding shops where I can get ingredients in sustainable packaging.
If you are struggling to find a nearby zero waste store, you can check out Eco Roots Shop that focuses on making sustainable and eco-friendly alternatives. They have a plastic free packaging, made out of recycled material that can be further recycled and used.