Today I want to share with you some Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps that can have a big impact in reducing waste in your kitchen.
I have wanted to make a video on this topic for a while now. In the last few years I have been working towards being less wasteful in our home and from that have adopted sort of a waste-less mindset. However, I am not anywhere near zero waste in any room of our home. I am just a work in progress. But I have found several small things that have been very impactful in our home that anyone can do. I figure starting by rooms is probably best and the kitchen seems to be the hub of most of our homes.
One of the first and probably the easiest thing you can do is to stop using and buying paper towels. It is my number one tip in terms of Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps. Instead invest in a little towel basket like I have here or a drawer and just keep folded towels ready to go for use. I have these blue striped towels that I replace every so often. They do look a little dingy now as they are not as white as when I bought them. But they still work great and I always have them handy for when I would need a paper towel.
Now on the subject of paper products we do not use any paper products and that was the next thing to go. Was any paper plates or cutlery and certainly, napkins were a big one of them that had to go. I swapped those out for real napkins that I got from the thrift store.
I purchased extra plates from the thrift store along with silverware so that way we always have them handy. We also have extra in case we have company. I keep an extra set of napkins folded in the buffet that are ready to use as well. This all goes in one large load with the towels once a week. Doing this is just a mindset and is part of the routine now.
Cleaning products are one of the best areas for Zero Waste Kitchen Swaps. Making your own cleaners is easy. We tend to think we need all sorts of different cleaning products when in fact one good all-purpose spray should do it. Right now I am making one that I use on my countertop, stove, sink, and butcher block. I will leave the link for the recipe for you below if you would like to check it out.
We have an orange tree on our property and so we get a ton of oranges. I like to make juice, marmalade is nice and just eating fresh of course. But with that comes a ton of orange peels and I do add them to the compost pile but another great use of any type of citrus peel are to make an all-purpose spray cleaner.
Just take the peels and pour white vinegar over them. Allow them to sit for a few days, up to one week. Then strain the peels, add the liquid to a spray bottle and use it for a natural all-purpose cleaner.
Now let’s talk coffee because after all, this is the kitchen. I don’t use a Keurig in my house because of the plastic waste it creates. If you have one I totally get it, they look super convenient. But I am guessing that if you are watching or reading this you are wanting to create less waste and small changes like how you brew coffee can impact that. So I just use my standard coffee pot or my french press most days.
But the actual brewed coffee itself is a great item in the kitchen that we can reuse instead of tossing it out.
The used coffee grounds and even leftover coffee work well to fertilize our plants. So I reuse my grounds by pouring them at the base of my rose bushes and the leftover coffee a lot of times I will save to pour into my house plants when I water them. You can also throw leftover coffee grounds into your compost if you have one. It is a great nitrogen addition.
On the subject of compost, you can use a countertop compost container or just a bowl like we do to save your leftover scraps from the kitchen. I either use them for compost or to feed our chickens. If you don’t have either that is ok. I like to save my veggie scraps in a freezer bag. Which I know is not zero waste but I, unfortunately, have not found any good alternatives to these.
I do wash them and reuse them which is something but if you have any good suggestions please let me know in the comments. When you have enough scraps saved you can pull the scraps out of the freezer. Add them to a stock pot with water and salt then allow them to simmer on the stovetop for a day to make your own homemade veggie stock.
Food Containers and Wraps
Something that I have tried and use currently in place of plastic wrap is these beeswax wraps. To make them you need grated beeswax and either a 100% cotton fabric or linen that you cut into squares and melt beeswax over the fabric. Today I am reusing an old 100% cotton t-shirt to make a few just to show them to you.
Directions for Making Beeswax Wraps
To Make Them. Cut your fabric into 12 x12 pieces. Cut or grate down your beeswax by using a cheese grater or adding your beeswax pellets to a blender. It is easier to melt them when they are tiny pieces. Lay the fabric on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Sprinkle the beeswax evenly over the piece of fabric. Place in a 170℉ oven for 7-10 minutes or until the beeswax is entirely melted. Remove from oven and allow it to dry. Trim any edges that don’t have beeswax. Use to top bowls, wrap foods, or cover plates.
To be very honest they work ok for a few items but are not a total solution. So I utilize glass storage containers for leftover food in addition to these beeswax wraps. The wraps last for up to one year and I keep a few in my towel basket to have handy in place of plastic wrap.
I try to buy food in bulk when I can and refill these glass food storage containers instead of buying several smaller packages. The bulk bins at some grocery stores are great to utilize for this as well. I love buying grain sacks full of beans, rice, oats, or flour. It saves money and also reduces waste too.
Well, that is it for today’s zero-waste kitchen swaps. I hope you found some of these tips helpful in your kitchen.
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