Low-Impact In The Kitchen
When we made the decision to limit our waste and our impact there were a few big areas in our home that needed an overhaul. One of the biggest offenders was the kitchen. There were a few “zones” we needed to hit and hit hard in order to make a difference: the pantry, the cleaning supplies, and the fridge.
Our pantry was a big culprit of our waste and it all came from food packaging. Everything from granola bars to flour to trail mix was in boxes, plastic, and sometimes even both! Now the fix for this is easy but what was as easy was the mindset shift. We started shopping at grocery stores that had a good selection of bulk items. We shop at Fresh Thyme and Hy-Vee and can get most of what we need package free.
Basically, we bring mason jars and other containers, get them weighed first (this is important so you don’t pay for the weight of the jar!) and then fill with whatever we need! Our weekly staples are trail mix sesame sticks, coffee, and granola. They even have bulk candy so we occasionally have a treat yo self moment because...priorities.
I truly enjoy being more mindful when I am shopping and I treat grocery shopping like a game, trying to see how little packaging I can purchase. But it does require some thought on your part!
This one is short and sweet. Ditch the paper towels. It’s rough, I know, paper towels are so convenient! I was resistant at first but we use rags for everything now and yeah, at times it would be more convenient to reach for a paper towel but long gone are the days of convenience winning out when the state of the environment is what’s at stake!
Another easy swap is to ditch your gnarly sponge for a something a little more sustainable. I am looking to get a bamboo brush at some point but right now I am loving this little silicone sponge I found at TJ Maxx. Here is a similar one on Amazon. I know it’s not the most sustainable choice but it was what we had and throwing it away before it was done being useful really defeats the purpose ya know?
The last big culprit of waste in our kitchen was our fridge. We had an embarrassing amount of bottles of dressing, sauces, etc. Now I am a big proponent of tasty food but I make sure to use every bit of the sauce in the bottle and always try to opt for a glass bottle because at least then I can reuse it.
I also started buying my kombucha by the gallon in a growler as opposed to individual bottles! We have a Natural Grocers by us and they sell GTS Kombucha on tap which is awesome!
Finally, we started composting and that drastically reduced our waste. I will go so far to say that at least 80% of our trash can was food waste. Now that waste is being put to good use and we can make one trash bag last at least 2 weeks or more.
So there ya go! I want to know, what kinds of things do you do to help reduce waste in your kitchen?