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Simple Zero-Waste Swaps You Can Make In The Kitchen Right Now

Real talk: did you realise that most of our trash at home comes directly or indirectly from the kitchen?

Food waste is a real thing, from the plastic wraps that house our fresh produce to the leftover food that we inevitably toss out.

Given how much waste we produce every single day, it’s time we got a better grip on our waste production and started working towards creating zero-waste zones in our own kitchens. 

There’s no doubt that it’s easier to just turn a blind eye towards it, but if we only realised how the little steps we take can go a long way in creating a zero-waste environment at home, we’d stick with it anyway. 

With that said, here are some swaps you can make to get started on creating a zero-waste kitchen.

1. Switch To Beeswax Wraps

Hands up if you’re guilty of using clingwrap for just about anything in the kitchen.

We get it — you want to preserve the freshness of your food. So do we! But every bit of plastic that you use to clingwrap those little bits of pasta or fruit (or even your sandwiches) add up to A LOT of plastic.

The solution? Swap the clingwrap for beeswax wraps like these from Bee’s Wrap. These are made out of cotton cloths and coated with either beeswax, vegan plant-based candelilla wax, or non-GMO soy wax.  

The best part about them is that they’re washable so you can reuse them over and over again. Just like regular plastic clingwrap, they can be used on fresh produce, sandwiches, and to cover your bowls.

Once they’ve reached the end of their lifespans, just cut them into strips and bury them in your garden, since they’re compostable. 

The result? Plastic: 0, Mother Nature: 1.

2. Try Silicone Ziplock Bags

Another single-use plastic item that we often go through easily in the kitchen is ziplock bags.

Whether you’re using these to store fresh meat, chicken stock, fruits, or even to sous vide dishes, we unassumingly go through boxes and boxes of ziplock bags month after month. 

Your best solution: Swap them for food-grade silicone ziplock bags instead.

There’s a whole bunch available online now, with some better tailored for dry snacks, and others better for liquids and sauces, like these from No Plastic Oceans.

They work just like a regular ziplock bag, except you can now wash and reuse them over and over again.

3. Swap Your Sponge For A Loofah

Think about how many regular sponges you go through a year just to wash dishes. Uncountable? Swap those for a compostable, better-performing loofah sponge instead.

They’re not just meant for you to have a good scrub-down in the shower —they also make great dish-washing sponges. They’re hardy to get out tough stains out, but gentle enough to use on your non-stick cooking ware.  

When they’re no longer good for washing, simply bury them in your garden to degrade naturally.

4. Use Cloths Instead Of Paper Towels

7 Simple Zero-Waste Swaps You Can Make In The Kitchen
(Image credit: IKEA)

Paper towels are so handy to instantly wipe up spills and pat down wet produce.

However, they’re not the most environmentally-friendly option out there. Switch to dish cloths instead, which can be washed and reused over and over again. 

These dish towels from IKEA are perfect examples of super affordable dish towels that can do all the job and more.

It’s time to make that switch!

5. Start Composting

Food waste is a real problem when it shouldn’t be.

Unlike plastics, food is biodegradable — so it shouldn’t end up in the trash mound, bound in a plastic bag.

To keep your organic food waste in check and not in plastic, try investing in a compost bin (we love this one from Utopia Kitchen) and begin composting them. Think of all the vegetable trimmings, fruit cores, mouldy bread, and dairy products that you’ve tossed out — these can easily be composted and turned into fertiliser for your plants, making it a truly a zero-waste effort.

Try it out and you’ll soon see your trash halved. 

6. Store Leftovers In Glass Containers

Don’t you just hate it when you follow a recipe online, only to find out afterwards that it’s actually meant to serve six when there’s only two of you at home?

We can relate. But all those leftovers don’t have to go to waste.

The remedy: Just pack it up into glass containers and bring it to work for lunch the next day. You end up saving a ton of money and keep your food waste to a minimum.

Why glass containers? 

For starters, you’ll avoid purchasing more plastic containers if you don’t already have them.

Glass also makes a better (and healthier) option since it’s hardier, looks better, can be safely at higher temperatures and just as importantly, doesn’t contain toxic chemicals that can leach into your food.

7. BYO Produce And Grocery Bags

Picture this: you head to your local supermarket to buy some fresh produce. You buy some tomatoes, potatoes, a head of broccoli, and maybe some garlic and onions. 

You bundle them up to the cashier and head home, only to find that you now have five extra plastic bags that you need to throw away after just one use. 

Sound familiar? Well, you can actually save on using extra plastic bags by bringing your own reusable grocery and produce bags. You can either reuse any cloth drawing pouches you have lying around or purchase them to keep your fresh produce. 

If you love having a juicy DIY project to dive into, we’ve got a couple of nifty little DIY tutorials that you can follow to make your very own reusable bento and shopping bags, and they won’t cost you anything. Get them here: