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More and more households are starting to find ways to reduce kitchen waste. Global climate change is an enormous concern for all of us. It’s more important than ever to start making changes in our own lives to help minimize our carbon footprint. It doesn’t have to happen overnight, or be expensive or difficult. Slowly transitioning into one swap or adopting one practice at a time can go a long way. Here are 6 ideas to get you started.
1. Compost Food Waste
Composting sounds scary and complicated. But just think, your grandparents may have done it. Mine did. It’s a long-time practice that is hugely beneficial to the earth. In fact, the EPA found we could save 20%-30% of food waste from the landfill by composting. There are kits on Amazon for as cheap as $20 that can get you started. If you have no idea what you’re doing, don’t worry. There are composting communities on Reddit and Facebook ready to help.
2. Recycle, Recycle, Recycle to Reduce Kitchen Waste
This is a wildly important and yet only about 34.7% of Americans recycle, despite the vast majority support recycling. We need to start making it more of a part of our lives. Purchase two garbage bins for every room: one for recycling and the other for garbage. You’d be surprised how many recyclables you may be missing in rooms outside the kitchen where people most often do separate garbage from recyclables.
There tends to be a lot of confusion what your city may and may not recycle so it’s best to ask them directly. Call, email or visit your county’s recycling or utility authority’s website. They should be able to give you a complete list of recyclables and non-recyclables.
3. Buy in Bulk and Switch to Products with Less Packaging
Pantry staples such as canned food, rice, and beans can all be purchased in bulk. This reduces the amount of packaging required. Other things to try to buy in bulk: soap, white vinegar, trash bags, dishwashing detergent, coffee, butter, nuts/seeds, and dry pasta.
There are more and more products in the market or online with subscription services that use less packaging. I like Blueland’s cleaning products since you buy your spray bottles and soap dispenser once. Then you only need to buy refill tablets.
4. Eat Less Meat
This bears mentioning as an indirect way to reduce kitchen waste. I can write a book about the impact our meat consumption has on the planet. It is the number one cause of rainforest deforestation and the endangerment of certain wildlife, notably the orangutan. This is to house and grow feed for the cattle. Think of the sheer amount of grains and water it takes to feed billions of livestock meant for slaughter. It’s a huge waste of resources since we could feed more people if we ate less burgers. As Cornell put it: US could feed 800 million people with grains livestock eat.
It pollutes more than all of our methods of travel combined- that’s cars, trains, and planes. Factory farms are breeding grounds for the next superbugs, and these plants particularly affect marginalized communities. I don’t need to mention the egregious animal abuse practices of factory farms and slaughterhouses. The cruelty alone should urge us to eat less meat. Not to mention, you’ll probably save money and reduce your risk for heart disease.
5. Use Up Your Plastic Containers then Switch to Glass
Don’t throw away your plastic food containers yet! Once they are worn out it’s time to invest in glass containers. They will last you much longer and make better storage for food. Plastic is a terrible vessel for food. It can make your food taste funny and has a risk of containing BPA and other toxins.
6. Switch to Unpaper Towels
I’ve written before about how paper towels are detrimental to the environment. To create paper towels we have to cut down trees, transport those trees in large trucks, manufacture them in large polluting factories, wrap them in plastic and transport them to stores for us to buy them. It’s a lot of resources to use for convenience! Compared to washable kitchen towels, it’s barely a convenience. The level of care for reusable paperless towels is minimal. You’ll be saving money making the switch since you’re buying them once rather than buying paper towels again and again. If you want to learn more about them, check out my best guide to reusable towels here.
Where can you buy unpaper towels? Glad you asked! Check out our All Things Grow Collection to find the best unpaper towels on the market. These designer unpaper towels are hand-crafted and complement any kitchen decor, since they are designed with trends in mind. Don’t just tolerate the eyesore that is paper towels. Decorate your kitchen with soft, durable fabrics that serve you and your family.