One of the best places to start going #zerowaste is in the KITCHEN.
It is the first place I looked at when we started our journey, and it is still an area where our family is constantly trying to keep the garbage out.
In our house we consider all plastic to be garbage.
Instead of recycling it, we simply REFUSE it.
When we look at the amount of plastic that ends up not being recycled and instead pollutes our water ways, this path is the one that makes the most sense for us.
Becoming “zero waste” does not happen over night – but we can all take steps in that direction, starting now.
Here are our best tips:
1. We shop in bulk
We always bring containers and cloth bags for items from the bulk shop. If you are like us and have no vehicle, I suggest using paper bags, cloth bags or yogurt containers to carry your bulk items in.
When you shop in a supermarket, ask if they will take your containers for cheese, fish and meat. At first you may think your favourite thing only comes in plastic and you don’t want to omit it from your diet. However, there is almost always a solution, and the only way to find one is to ask and explore until you find one.
3. Make your own
Making your own food like crackers, juice, granola bars, and broth is another way to avoid packaging, is surprisingly easy and not as time consuming as you would think!
My hardest packaged item to replace is dish soap. There are not many places that offer refill stations for household cleaning products. Making your own is not only better for the planet, but safer for our four legged friends and crawling babies. We simply use a very strong vinegar and lemon juice.
4. Buy Local Produce
Depending on where you live, you can shop at Farmer’s Markets or participate in a (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture program – not only does this avoid packaging, but it supports local farmers and ensures the food didn’t travel far to get to your plate.
If either of these are not available in your area, try bringing your own bags to the grocery store instead of using the plastic produce bags they provide. Avoid netting around onions/potatoes.
There are many different ways to preserve your fresh local produce if you want to survive the winter. You can freeze, preserve, dehydrate, or pickle. Personally, I freeze many of my berries, kale, corn, and tomatoes. There is also a faster way of pickling things that does not require sterilizing your mason jars, if you are going to eat them within the next tree weeks, like Vietnamese pickling(see recipe below).
5. Buy from a bakery
We buy bread at a local bakery. Sometimes we bring an old pillowcase to carry it in, and other times we accept the paper bags they provide, which we use to put our compost scraps in.
6. Avoid Food Waste
Did you know that about 20 per cent of Canada’s methane emissions come from landfills?* Here at our house we try really hard not to throw out food. I even keep all the green leaves from leeks, onions, celery, carrot tops, and mushrooms that have been getting older. All these I put in a great big pot on the stove with water and make a broth to make soups later on. The scraps eventually end up in the compost, but at least they have been used for food.
As an artist, I keep onion peels, beet peels to make homemade dye to make homemade paper and photographic backdrops. I also use vegetables to print with like acorn tops and celery hearts(full tutorial HERE). When I do this I feel great I feel somehow closer to nature.
What are your tips for going #zerowaste in the kitchen? Share them with us in the comments!
Have a happy green day!
– 1 cup sharp cheddar
– 4 TBSP of butter
– 1 cup of whole wheat non bleached flour
– 3/4 tsp of salt
– 1/4 tsp of cayenne pepper
– 2 TBSP of water
Pulse everything in a food processor or hand mix with a fork until it looks like coarse sand. Mix one TBSP of water at a time. Mix into a ball, chill for at least 20min. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.
– 1/2lbs carrots
– 1/2lbs Daikon
– 4c of luke warm water
– 3 TBSP sugar
– 2 TBSP salt
– 1/3 c of Rice vinegar
– Spices, garlic, green onions (optional)
Mix all of the wet ingredients with salt and sugar and spices. Julienne all of the carrots and Daikon. Place veggies in clean jar fill until full. Add the vinegar mixture. Pickle in refrigerator for 3 days, then enjoy your crispy pickled salad. Keep for up to 3 weeks. I have tried it with cucumbers, beets, and cabbage.