This one thing keeps going around in my head at the moment, no matter how hard you try, you are never going to be 100% zero waste.
And you know what, it’s ok.
It sucks, but at the same time, it shouldn’t discourage us from trying.
So let’s tackle one of the biggest offenders, the kitchen. If you are new to the zero-waste lifestyle or are already an established pro and need a refresher, here is a list of 15 zero-waste kitchen tips for your sustainable home.
Ditch your plastic wrap and use beeswax wrap instead.
It is so easy to grab the cling wrap and wrap your food up, not thinking about the consequences they have—leaching chemicals into your food and breaking off tiny fibers that you end up eating.
I love beeswax wraps; when you have a kit of different sizes, you are pretty well covered (pun intended), and storing your leftovers is as easy as clingwrap, with the benefit that your food can actually breathe and stay fresh at the same time. I love the Abeego once, but they can be a little expensive, and if you prefer to make your own beeswax wraps, I have just the post for you here.
Ditch the plastic or silicone kitchen utensils for this zero waste option
Bamboo utensils are great. They are super sustainable due to their fast-growing nature.
They look really nice, and you can be sure that they will not leach any chemicals in your nicely cooked dinner.
I found this set on earthhero, my new favorite way to shop for sustainable and ethical products.
Currently, they have over 4000+ products on their website, and they are adding more daily. If you use the code zerowasteman, you get 10% off. If you want to learn why I don’t use silicone, check out this article.
Composting bin for your home
Not everyone has a garden and enough room to put a composting bin up. Also, not every municipality collects compost. But there is a solution. It’s called the bokashi method and is basically your home composting bin with a composting accelerator.
I haven’t tried these because we are fortunate enough to have a big garden compost. But for someone living in the city, this seems like a good solution. Unless you like worms… read on 😉
Learn the ultimate guide to composting.
Coffee maker that doesn’t use capsules
This is something I talked about over and over. I love my coffee made in a stovetop espresso maker. You get the most flavor out of it and without creating any waste that goes to landfills. Another one that gets a lot of hipe is the Chemex, and you can even get reusable filters for it.
This pod business that started a while back might be easy because a 2-year-old can make a coffee but the trash it leaves behind and the quality of the coffee is awful. If you like to read more about my rant check it out here.
Paper towels are the most common household product that creates tons of waste. The paper towel was actually a design mistake and was later marketed to us as the throw-away alternative to towels. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. We still use towels in our zero waste kitchen, and if you prefer, you can get unpaper towels from marleys monster, which are even organic.
You can also get a little stand for them and roll them up just like you would do with your standard paper towels, just without the environmental impact. WIN WIN
Ditch the wasteful plastic Dishwasher Pods
It’s no secret; I am a big fan of dishwashers; they save a lot of time and water. But if you are using single wrapped pods, you should consider swapping to droops. They have a biodegradable formula (and pod shell) plus eco-friendly, chemical-free ingredients, this dishwashing detergent pod works hard to remove grease and residue, fight stains, and leave your dishes sparkling with every wash. It is 100% plastic-free, compatible with all dishwashing machine types, and contains no artificial colors, synthetic fragrances, or dyes.
Stasher bags are made from platinum silicone. Stasher bags are completely free of BPA, BPS, lead, latex, and phthalates. Stasher has passed all U.S. and Canadian food safety standards in addition to the most strict guidelines of all, the European Union food safety standard. Even the colorants, which give Stasher bags their “to-dye-for” hues, are completely safe for food.
Yes, they are the best alternative to any zip-lock bag, and with any silicone product, if it is high quality, it is safe to use. Find out how to test if your silicone products are of high quality.
Avoid packaging with these easy bags.
This is something that I have been carrying around from day one. Sadly due to covid, most places won’t let you use your own bags or jars. There is no other way but to use the plastic bags provided. However, I hope that soon this will change again, and using reusable produce bags will be accepted again.
If you want to have a look around, earthhero has a nice selection of food produce bags, and if you use the code ZEROWASTEMAN, you get 10 % off.
What’s not to like.
Why not have WORMS?
See, I told you to read on. This one brings me back to dumb and dumber. Remember when he had worms in his living room? I think this is just a brilliant idea and way of composting in a small space.
I do not own one myself just yet but I know how precious worm juice is. Especially when you have a garden, even for your beautiful plants at home, but be careful not to overfeed them. Urbalive came up with this clever design.
If you get me, let me know if it smells at all.
Zero waste kitchen Cleaning Tools
Did you know that the little yellow sponges with the green bottom on them are also made from a type of plastic? We use a Swedish dishcloth that is made from cellulose, cotton, and non-toxic vegetable dye. And the dishwashing brushes that most of us have are just like a massive toothbrush. They never go away. I love the Redecker dishwashing brush. Not only because it is what I grew up with, but it is made from high-quality materials and 100% recyclable. The best part is you can buy refill heads. No harm is done. And while you are swapping your kitchen brush, you might as well get a bamboo toothbrush while you are at it. 🙂
Shopping Bags from Earthhero
I love the minimalist design from earthhero, and this is probably the most important item to have in your car, backpack, zero-waste kit, or satchel. How often does it happen that you need to get some groceries to make the best dinner and forget your bag? This earthhero bag goes super small but is super strong, 40lbs.
We use 56 trillion plastic bags each year; that’s my excuse.
Avoid buying plastic bottles and drink tap water.
This one breaks my heart every time. We know that plastic bottles are terrible for your health and the planet. But your tap water might not be the best either. Sure it has less microplastic, but it still has some. Depending on where you live, it may contain hormones and other substances you might not want to drink. The best is to install a filter. We love the Pur filter, and on the go, I throw a binchotan charcoal in my bottle. I am yet to try out the Gopure pod.
But if you want to be super safe and test your water, here is a home testing kit that tells you if your water is of good quality or not.
Bye bye plastic bottles and hello Soda Maker.
While we are already talking water, we might as well jump to the carbonator in our home. I love fizzy water, and for years, we have used a SodaStream. You can buy them in glass bottles in Germany, but here in Canada, I haven’t found them. Well, and to be quite frank, the one from Aarke looks way better. Sure it cost more, but there are so many different ones out there; have a browse.
Otherwise, if you buy carbonated water in bottles, make sure they are made from glass. Cheers.
Alternative food containers like the stainless steel tiffin
I love my stainless steel tiffin. They are so well built that you don’t spill anything; you can turn this thing upside down with a hot soup inside, and nothing happens. We even manage to get a takeaway soup in a container. Often you just have to ask, and the restaurant is more than happy to serve you. Or when you eat out, and it is too much, you can easily take the leftover with you. Just like with most of the zero waste products, you got to make sure you have them nearby, like in your car or backpack.
Tea leaches microplastic like crazy, get a tea infuser.
This one shocked me when I learned that a lot of teabags leach microplastic into our beloved beverage. You can avoid that really easily by buying loose leaf tea and a metal tea infuser.
Apparently, many teabags are closed with a tiny dot of polyurethane which in combination with hot water turns your tea into a plastic soup.
Not cool if you ask me.
Sometimes, when I accidentally buy tea, and the bags look suspicious, I open the content into my metal tea strainer. But you will also notice that the quality of the tea in a bag is much poorer than the loose tea, similar to the coffee pods.
Lastly some thought on your zero waste kitchen
You probably noticed that most of the items are nothing out of the ordinary. Most zero waste products are actually essentials that your grandma used.
Somewhere along the way, we have been made believe that using things once and then throwing them away is a better way to live our life.
It turns out that they were wrong, (whoever they are). We are experiencing the consequences of climate change, an ocean that is becoming acidic and food containing microplastic.
The best part is we can start by turning our kitchen zero waste or almost. The more we start taking these little steps, the better for us and the planet.
Let me know if you have some ideas that I didn’t mention here or you would like to share some feedback. Feel free to send me your thoughts. I am just one zerowasteman trying to make a difference