You may feel or think that going zero-waste seems daunting and practically impossible. I can tell you it’s not. Attempting to live a zero-waste life is a goal and you must take many steps to reach it, which takes time. Having said that there’s no reason why you shouldn’t start, even though it seems like a far-away place right now. Your kitchen is a good place to start making zero-waste and plastic-free swaps.
In Europe, a person generates over 480kg of waste (Eurostat, 2017) with less than 50% of the waste gets recycled. Even if it does get recycled or composted, why are we generating all of this waste to begin with? How can average people like you and me, reduce the pressure on local resources, reduce the trash going to landfills and polluting eco-systems? We need to start at home and we need to be a bit more clever in what we buy and how we use things. It starts with us.
Before you start buying more things in a quest to start this journey (I know you’re excited to start, but hold your horses! Buying more is not the first step!) I advise you to read this post “How to transition to a zero-waste lifestyle.” I approach the zero-waste goal as a journey, with many steps. And like everything else, you will need to unlearn and break habits, understand what’s happening, make errors, realise, analyse and find solutions!
The zero-waste 4 step mindset approach is:
- Reconsider or Refuse
- Analyse & Learn
- Set new goals
Zero-Waste Kitchen Tools:
Here are some tools to help you make switches from single-use to more sustainable and reusable alternatives for a zero-waste kitchen:
1 | Ditch the plastic wrap: Store food in the fridge in reusable containers or beeswax wraps (I think beeswax wraps are quite versatile, you can even make your own) Or simply put a plate on the bowl to cover!
2 | Swap aluminium or plastic wraps for reusable snack bags – perfect options for on the go lunches, office lunch, school lunch, picnics!
3 | Swap Paper napkins with re-useable napkins – this will drastically reduce your paper consumption in the kitchen
4 | Swap synthetic cleaning sponges with natural biodegradable dish cleaning sponges.
5 | Compost your food waste: nowadays you can start the fermentation process indoors too! Use an indoor composter like this – I had a good experience using the Smart Bucket by Doko Recyclers in Kathmandu; however, you do need an outdoor space for the last process of fermentation and mixing with soil. I recommend teaming up with someone who has a garden or a nearby farm. As if they can complete the process for free compost!
Tips to achieve a Zero-Waste Kitchen that is plastic-free and chemical-free:
6 | Make your own Cleaning Products like these natural cleaning products with essential oils – Making my own cleaning products was definitely the game-changer and reduced household waste tenfold! From multi-purpose sprays to dishwashing liquid and floor detergent. No more wasting time in the cleaning aisle buying chemical-ridden plastic detergents that are also terrible for our health! Instead, I opt for natural cleaning agents and therapeutic essential oils that turned cleaning from a boring household chore to a therapeutic and experimental experience. Onward to a zero-waste and healthier lifestyle …. you can do it too!
7 | Zero-waste Tip: Buy in bulk / by weight: take your own containers to the meat shop or deli counter and if possible shop from zero-waste stores.
8 | Zero-waste Tip: Refuse plastic bags: take your own reusable shopping bag
9 | Zero-waste Tip: Save a collection of re-usable bottles, spray bottles, jars, Tupperware. They are essential when reducing waste. Buy and store bulk dried foods (pulses, grains, etc), preserve your cleaning products, soap nut concentrates etc. in these reusable jars. (I use tomato sauce glass jars and condiment jars)
10 | Make your own soap nut concentrate for an all-purpose cleaner, floor detergent and dishwashing liquid. They are biodegradable and can be used for a variety of cleaning jobs around the house. DOWNLOAD THE SOAP NUT RECIPES
So, after reading this – And I’m glad you’re still here and have not run away – what 1-3 changes can you implement this week? Or this month? And then what’s the next objective next month?
Comment below, I’d be happy to share some tips.