While the kitchen seems to be the most obvious place to start reducing waste, I found it to be much more of an effort because it required planning and changes to my shopping habits. Like all habits, it’s become much easier now I’ve done it a few times but if you’re struggling, take your first steps to zero waste in the bathroom. Remind yourself how good it feels to make a difference, then focus on the kitchen.
I fill an average of six grocery bags while shopping each week, that works out to be well over 300 plastic bags per year. Add on bags from clothes shopping, take away meals, garbage etc and I’m easily contributing a bag per day straight into landfill. Shocking.
“Green” bags are a solution. They are biodegradable, reusable, and available in most large supermarkets. I personally prefer the Cotton On cotton shopping bags because they are far more compact, stylish and affordable. Bags are just $2 and proceeds go to providing clean drinking water to kids in Africa. By saying no to bags while clothes shopping, and using cloth bags for my groceries I’ve easily saved myself from at least 20 plastic bags in just a few weeks.
Until I saw a friend using these, I didn’t know an environmentally friendly version of fruit bags existed. When searching for them online they are listed as produce bags, and while there are heaps out there I like these transparent ones so it’s easy to see what you’re taking through the checkout.
Access to bulk stores could be a challenge, and the price can often be high as most products are organic at bulk food stores, but when scooping your food into paper bags or jars, you are creating zero waste while purchasing your nuts, seeds, flours, lentils etc.
If this isn’t an option, consider bulk buying non perishable items either at Costco or by simply buying the larger volume of a product. For example, instead of single serve yogurt tubs, choose the 1kg tub, saving on the amount of plastic tubs your throwing out. Same with flour, pasta and other non perishables.
Stainless steel straws are now available, they look elegant, come with a cleaning brush, and will last forever. If you’re a straw user, make the switch.
Tea Towels & Dish Cloths
Remove paper towels from your kitchen. A good dishcloth is all you need, and a tea towel for drying. I’ve also brought my own tea towel into the office so I’m no longer using tissues or paper towels to dry my mug or lunch Tupperware at my desk.
Pack your Lunch
Just like a reusable coffee cup, use a lunch box each day as well! On the odd occasion I buy my lunch I feel guilt ridden from the plastic bag, plastic container, and plastic cutlery that comes along with it. Times that by the 240 working days in the year and suddenly you’ve got a huuuuuge pile of rubbish to explain. Your wallet and the environment will thank you for packing your lunch each day.