Let’s talk about the most important part of any house – the kitchen. Alright, that might be a bit of a stretch for some, but the kitchen is referred to as “the heart of the home” for a reason and holds a special place in our lives. After all, there is nothing better than walking in on the smell of a delicious meal and getting ready to chow down with your loved ones. However, the kitchen also plays a crucial role in our environmental footprint, making it an element we need to inspect on the journey toward zero waste living.
When it comes to food and the kitchen, we could probably talk for days, as this is one of those areas that the sustainability community is really passionate about and tends to cover. For example, as we mentioned in blog here, one of the best ways to go green is to inspect your diet and take little steps to cut down on meat. However, we’re going to tackle a different angle today: what’s the best way to change up your kitchen setup, purchases, and cooking habits to minimize environmental impact?
Ok, let’s break it down (literally).
First off, there is a really problematic misconception against composting here that goes something like, “food is going to biodegrade in the landfill anyway, so why does it matter where it goes.” This is far from true. Landfills are often so tightly packed that they create oxygen-free environments, resulting in a chemical reaction where biodegrading produces methane gas, which has 30 to 80 times the warming effect vs. the regular CO2 from composting.
That said, composting can get complicated around some corner cases, so we’ll make sure to put out a blog on the topic soon! However, in the meantime, check out our Instagram and this quick infographic on composting.
2) Reassess Your Tools
A kitchen is only as good as its tools! However, when it comes to sustainability and durability, traditional options have failed us for decades. It feels like when you look at any aspect of a typical kitchen, from storage to cooking, to eating, and to cleaning, this space is filled with wasteful plastics and chemicals that can be harmful to both us and the planet.
Don’t worry though, as a new wave is finally on the way. Sustainable kitchen tool alternatives are popping up everywhere, and they tend to get the job done better than ever while using more sustainable materials. Just at Zero Waste Hero, we’ve already started building a great collection. If you’re ready to start auditing your kitchen lineup and, for example, looking for some kick-ass cleaning tools, check out , Natural Non-Scratch Scour Pad, UNpaper Towels, and Biodegradable Dish Cleaning Brush. You can find the rest of out kitchen lineup here.
3) Buy in Bulk or Grow It
Bulk buying is one of our favourite sustainability hacks, as it leaves both the wallet and planet better off. Other than just being cheaper than traditional groceries, bulk buying has a set of environmental advantages, including reduced packaging and a more fuel-efficient / densely stored transportation setup. Not to mention, bulk stores allow you to get the exact amount you need at a fair price without over-purchasing and sample small quantities of new products that you might or might not like without risking food waste. Now, that’s a win for everyone!
Ok, so with all that, what’s the only thing better than bulk buying? You guessed it – growing your own! Now, you’re probably not going to turn into farmer Joe tomorrow, as growing crops takes time and dedication. However, even setting up a few common crops (e.g., tomatoes, zucchini, peppers) in your home garden will allow you to enjoy the freshest meal while practically reducing the footprint of that ingredient down to zero! Of course, many also just fall in love with that calming gardening experience!
4) Donate, Trade, and Barter
As much as we hate to admit it, there is always going to be some food waste. No matter how tightly we run the kitchen, sometimes, the batch will be too big or forgotten ingredients will sit there and go bad. That’s why a perfect last line of defence can always be to give it away!
You can get creative here. Got a few non-perishables that you don’t see yourself using? Give it away to a food bank! Went overboard and made a bit too much of your favorite meal? See if your neighbors or family want any! Just asks around, and you’ll do both yourself and the lucky recipient a favour.
The kitchen is one of those areas of the home where you can really do a lot to cut back on your footprint – all that’s needed is the willingness. So next time you cook, do a quick audit, analyze where the waste is coming, and get cracking! You might find the meal also tastes a whole lot better when you know it was prepared with sustainability in mind.
About Zero Waste Hero
Hey again! Welcome to Zero Waste Hero. If you’re not familiar with us, we’re a Canadian-owned one-stop shop for sustainable and ethically sourced home and beauty products. Our mission is to make the transition to minimal impact living as easy as possible. Naturally, a big part of this involves educating our consumers, so we’ve begun regularly posting blogs aimed at covering the latest news in the world of sustainability, sharing eco-friendly lifestyle ideas, and so much more.
If you enjoyed this read, sign up for the newsletter and keep an eye out, as we’ll continue to regularly release other informative pieces like this. Also, make sure to follow us on social media and visit zerowastehero.ca for a collection of the best eco-friendly products out there!