I tend to spend a lot of my home time in the kitchen. Children require a lot of meals, which really makes me dread the teenage years even more…at least they will be able to make their own food, right?
Grocery shopping is one of (in my opinion) the most important ways to reduce waste in the kitchen. If you have a package free bulk store I recommended buying what you can from there understandably, it doesn’t fit in everyone’s schedule or budget. I also suggest buying organic as much as possible to reduce the chemicals being sprayed in the environment and entering your body. Opt for more package free foods. Less processed and sugary – more fruits + vegetables without plastic packaging. Then the dreaded plastic bags – bring your own or ask for paper. If I’m going in for a couple things I don’t even bother bringing in my bags, I just ask the cashier for no bag and carry the items out in my hands (or I make my older kids carry the stuff.) Who knew hands were so functional? If you forget your bags often just load your groceries in the cart and load them up in your bags at your car or home. A couple times of that and I started to remember them!
Food waste is something I learned I needed to work on. Eating our leftovers, using foods before they go bad and composting are new habits I’ve worked on. I try to make a general meal plan by picking 6-7 breakfast, lunch + dinner ideas and really sticking to the grocery list so I’m not buying unneeded food items. I have a leftover day once a week of either making a meal with food that needs to be used, reheating up leftovers or having a fruit day where we finish up fruit that needs to be prioritized (slightly over ripe fruits make the best smoothies.) Composting is newer to us. I will eventually write a blog when I have more experience in the process and what works. Right now I just know composting is better for reducing greenhouse emissions + makes good soil for your garden. And if you have been keeping up with me lately, my garden is my newest baby.
Food storage helps with food waste as well as plastic pollution. Knowing how to store foods properly gives them a longer lifespan! I always really loved these drawings from @ecowithem_ illustrating how to store foods. She has some other great illustrations that help give a visual of living low waste!
For my cooking utensils I use mostly my wood and bamboo but I still use some of plastic contraptions I’ve collected over the years, especially for pancake flipping. Cooking with wood/bamboo is more sustainable but also plastic is known to leech chemicals when getting to certain temperatures, so cooking with plastic is probably not the best option. I also use a cast iron pan for most of my meals for similar reasons.
Paper towels are a handy kitchen tool for quick clean ups and wipe downs but they become overused and wasteful because they are so convenient. I try to use rags and dishcloths in the kitchen though we haven’t fully rid paper towels mostly due to Dan. That seems to be a hard limit for him. He uses the paper towels I use mostly rags though I do catch myself grabbing a paper towel from time to time just because they are by the sink. I leave a roll of rags by the sink as well and have caught Dan using them so we have really decreased our paper towel waste.
Reusable water bottles I only urge this for kitchen waste because it’s where they are stored. If you haven’t made this simple change I urge you too, unless obviously you don’t have access to clean water. We have about five water bottles but only really use three for our family + Dan and I both keep one at work. We fill them all up and share when we go out and about.
There are a few other things I would like for my kitchen some are more cleaning supplies (which I’ll be writing about soon as well) and others are kitchen gadgets. I try to make more sustainable consumer choices with my purchases – secondhand but still long lasting and ethical.
- Food Storage Containers – right now we have about 4 good food storage containers and some stasher bags. I would really like sustainable plastic free Tupperware that I can heat in the microwave at work. I haven’t found any used yet but I have seen some good options on the market.
- Bottle brush cleaner – My number one reason for wanting this is cleaning peanut butter from containers. I’m a peanut butter junkie so even buying in bulk I clean 2 peanut butter jars a month. So unless I find another hack I feel like a bottle brush would be handy.