A significant amount of home waste comes from the kitchen. It’s hard to be perfect, and obviously no one is, but there are plenty of small steps you can take to eliminate some of that waste, or even reuse it!
Bamboo Due to its quick growth rate and ability to grow in various conditions without pesticides, bamboo is one of the most sustainable resources. Additionally, it produces 35% more oxygen than an equivalent stand of trees, and helps to decrease the effects of soil erosion. It makes ideal kitchen utensils because of its natural antimicrobial properties, meaning it’s naturally antibacterial, anti fungal, and odor resistant.
Glass Tupperware In addition to the many environmental reasons to decrease our plastic consumption, plastic Tupperware is especially dangerous because many plastic containers release toxic chemicals when heated. Glass Tupperware is both better for your health and longer lasting, therefore reducing waste. You can find lots of affordable ones at Ikea, and I’m a fan of Pyrex as well.
Cloth Napkins & Towels Invest in some cloth napkins and kitchen towels to cut down on paper towel usage.
Reusable Coffee Filters This goes for K Cups, coffee filters, and tea bags/steepers. Get a reusable version rather than ones that get thrown away every day, because that trash adds up. We use this metal one because we find it easier to clean, however these cloth ones work just as well and can easily be washed in the sink or laundry.
Reduce Food Waste You might not think of biodegradable foods as “waste,” but there are better ways of using your food scraps more productively than filling garbage bins. Anything that isn’t processed, meat, bones*, fish, fats, or dairy can be composted. So items like apple cores, banana peels, egg shells, coffee grounds**, nut shells, etc. should be placed in your kitchen compost bin. Most farmers markets and organic grocery stores like Mom’s Organic Market or Wheatsville have convenient compost drop off areas.
*Bones can be frozen and used to make homemade stock. Vegetable scraps like onion butts, garlic skins, potato skins, peppers, carrot skins and greens, and herbs can be included, or used without the bones for a vegetable stock. Simply cover with water in a large pot, throw in some herbs, and simmer for several hours until reduced by 1/3 and full of flavor.
**Coffee grounds and egg shells make especially excellent additions to your garden as awesome Nitrogen generators. These items can be thrown directly into your garden, potted plants, or window box. Just be sure to rinse off your egg shells and crunch them up to avoid attracting critters.
Buy in Bulk Buying in bulk is another great idea to implement, especially when using reusable bags/containers. Items like nuts, grains, rice, beans, etc. in the bulk aisle of the grocery store are usually more affordable because they bypass branding and packaging expenses, saving you a buck and saving the landfills a plastic bag.