9 Easy Steps For A Zero Waste Kitchen

The kitchen is a household hub for the creation of waste. If you are trying to live a more sustainable life, you may feel overwhelmed by your kitchen habits.

Vegetable scraps, spoiled leftovers, and all of that food packaging; where do you even begin?

Relax:

Turning your kitchen zero waste simply requires you to change your perspective on food and make a few easy household product swaps.

zero waste kitchen

To live sustainably, we need to only use what we need to be less wasteful. In a world of excess, this may seem like a foreign concept, but it really is easy to employ.

Think about this:

Over 1/3 of all food produced globally goes to waste.

zero waste kitchen

If you just open your mind to being a little more conscious about your consumption, you are already well on your way towards living a sustainable life.

In addition, I would like to share with you some easily adaptable tips to transforming your very own zero waste kitchen.

1. Baby Steps: Reusable Bags

We all know that plastic bags are bad for the environment, yet a lot of people still use them.

zero waste kitchen

Get this:

It takes at least 500 years for a plastic bag to fully degrade in the landfill.

That is, if they even make their way to the landfill! Often times, plastic bags end up in waterways and can harm wildlife.

Do not fret:

It is beyond simple to incorporate reusable bags into your daily life. Keep them in your car or get one that folds up and always have it in your purse. Think ahead before leaving your house in the morning.

Do you plan on going grocery shopping after work?

Don’t forget your reusable bag!

If you already are dedicated to reusable shopping bags and want to take it a step further, try eliminating plastic produce bags from your life.

zero waste kitchen
EcoRoots Reusable String & Produce Bags (15$ – 25$)

My favorite alternatives are the EcoRoots String Bag and their set of Cotton Produce Bags.

2. Buying in Bulk & Avoiding Packaging

For some unknown reason, many companies love wrapping their food products in an excessive amount of packaging.

Here’s how you can avoid it:

zero waste kitchen

Buy in bulk! Many health food stores allow you to buy items like pasta, granola, rice, beans, and other grains in bulk. Some stores even sell bulk dish soap, shampoo, and other products like that.

What does this mean exactly?

zero waste kitchen

It means that the store has large, unpackaged containers of each item. You can bring a reusable bag, jar, or container and take as much or as little of the product as you want.

It’s easy:

You just pay by weight!

Buying in bulk is a such a simple way to avoid packaging waste and it tends to be cheaper than it’s pre-packaged cousin.

It’s so worth it!

3. Eco-Friendly Cleaning Solutions

Have you ever thought about the packaging waste created by cleaning products?

Besides generating waste, many household cleaning solutions contain chemicals that are actually toxic to yourself and the environment. Ah!

zero waste kitchen

Here’s an alternative:

Sure, there are eco-friendly, nontoxic cleaning products on the market, but to be a true zero waster, why don’t you try a do-it-yourself solution?

If you follow any sustainable living blogs, you probably have seen DIY recipes for toothpaste, dish soap, etc.

One of the easiest recipes to start off with is your very own non-toxic all purpose cleaner.

Here’s how to do it:

Get a glass spray bottle and fill it halfway with water. Fill the rest of it with white vinegar and then add 15-20 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Voila!

You are ready to clean up any mess and did not even have to combat any packaging along the way. Also, the glass spray bottle can be reused over and over again!

4. Swapping Disposable With Reusable

Always think about how you can swap single-use products with things that can be reused.

Remember, reduce, reuse, recycle!

Here’s an idea:

How many napkins do you think get thrown into your garbage each year?

paper napkins

Consider replacing napkins that you dispose of with reusable napkins that can be washed.

It may seem more expensive up front, but investing in some quality napkins is more cost-effective over time since you will not have to constantly keep buying more.

zero waste kitchen

It may seem insignificant, but swallow this:

If 50% of the United States population used one paper napkin per meal three times a day, over 164 billion napkins would be used in a year. If that does not bother you, think about the 11.5 billion gallons of water it takes to produce all of those napkins.

Yikes!

5. Changing Perspectives: Zero Waste Kitchen Products

Our kitchens are chock full of products.

Plates, napkins, cleaning brushes, sponges, cutlery, appliances, etc. If I were to offer you a sustainable solution to every single kitchen product, this blog post would never end.

Take note:

Having knowledge about materials is integral to making your own sustainable decisions. For instance, plastic should be avoided at all costs.

Plastic production emits greenhouse gases and it takes hundreds of years to break down in landfill.

Have you noticed more eco-conscious brands carrying bamboo products?

Here’s why:

Bamboo is a low impact, eco-friendly material. It is very regenerative and requires no pesticides, fertilizer, or irrigation to produce. In fact, it fully matures and is ready to be harvested in just 3-5 years.

bamboo utensils

There’s more:

Unlike plastic, bamboo biodegrades once you are done using it. When purchasing products, always consider the material. If it is made from something natural and can be composted once it’s life is over, then it is a better option than plastic. Try to stay away from synthetic materials.

Some good examples of awesome, eco-friendly kitchen products are the EcoRoots Wooden Dish Brush and Loofah Sponge.

zero waste kitchen
EcoRoots Wooden Dish Brush & Loofah Sponge (8$-11$)

The handles of both of these products are made from wood and the scrub part is made from loofah or sisal. These are both plant-based materials that are 100% biodegradable and compostable.

6. Shop Local

Food is the star of the show when it comes to your zero waste kitchen. You may be wondering:

How do you make your food consumption more sustainable?

As a species, humans have become increasingly distant from our food sources. We go to the grocery store, pick up what we need, and rarely ever think about the amount of water, energy, or time it took to get it on the shelf. Wasting food means wasting those resources.

First off, buy only what you need and really try to avoid throwing away leftovers. Secondly, shop local!

shop local

Here’s why:

Not only does shopping local help support your local economy, but it is great for the environment! Sometimes, produce comes to us from the other side of the country. It travels miles and miles, burning gas and emitting a ton of carbon monoxide along the way.

If you shop local, the produce is coming from a nearby farm, meaning it has to travel less to get to you. It saves a bunch of resources and therefore is more sustainable.

7. Earth-Friendly Food Storage

Now that we have our local produce, how do we sustainably store all of that yummy food?

My pre-zero waste kitchen was equipped with plastic containers, single-use zip bags, and saran wrap. Ew! Yeah, I was that person.

It was super easy to change my habits once I became aware of all the great sustainable alternatives there are out there.

For every single-use plastic product out there, there is a reusable alternative.

Here are some of my favorites:

Replace saran plastic wrap with reusable, beeswax wrap. Many of the ones available come in really cute patterns and designs. You could even make your own beeswax wrap!

zero waste kitchen
Bee`s Wrap (18$)

Instead of using those single-use zip bags for snacks and leftovers, switch over to a reusable silicone solution. These are much sturdier than their flimsy, cheap predecessor, so they can be used over and over again!

zero waste kitchen
Reusable Silicone Bags (8$)

My all-time favorite sustainable food storage product are mason jars. They can be used to store food, pickle veggies, or even just be used as a cup. They are so multi-functional and can be used a million times over again.

zero waste kitchen

8. Not All Waste Is Created Equal

There are three main waste streams: compost, recyclables, and trash. Keeping all of our waste organized and separate is an important step into making sure everything is disposed of properly.

Always check with your local waste management department for guidelines on how to deal with your waste. Every town has different rules and programs.

compost

You want to try to compost as much of your waste as you can. Most people keep their compost in a bucket and bring it to a facility, but you also can start a compost pile in your backyard.

Why does it matter?

Composting transforms waste into a nutrient-rich material that can be used to generate new plant life. In doing so, it prevents the carbon emissions that would have emerged if the waste was sent to landfill.

zero waste compost

Next is recycling. Again, check your local regulations. Some places allow you to mix all of your recyclables, while others ask you to sort it out by material. One of the most important rules in recycling is to always make sure the waste is clean before you place it in the bin.

Here’s why:

If your container is still full of food, chances are the facility is going to have to send it to the landfill instead of being able to recycle it. Bummer, I know, so be sure to rinse!

The last and final option is trash.

You really want to make sure that this is your last resort.

Are you sure it can’t be composted or recycled?

If you are avoiding packaging and purchasing reusable products, you probably aren’t generating that much trash, anyway.

Avoid the landfill at all costs!

9. Goodbye To Single-Use

Single-use coffee cups and water bottles need to go and here’s why:

16 billion coffee cups that are not able to be recycled or composted are used each year. That’s nothing compared to the 480 billion water bottles that get used annually.

reusable over disposable

However, this does not mean that you have to say goodbye to your favorite local coffee shop.

Just start using reusable cups/mugs/bottles! It is really quite easy once you get the hang of it.

I hope now that I broke down some alternatives, you see how obtainable a zero waste kitchen truly is.

Here’s some take away tips: shop local, avoid packaging, and swap disposable with reusable. You got this!

How to embrace natural living – [Easy 10 step guide]

Today I want to talk to you about natural living,

Have you ever wondered how to increase your overall health and your impact on the environment?

Do you care about your well-being and want to make an impact on your body as a whole?

If so, it may be time to learn how to embrace natural living.

Living naturally can significantly benefit both your health and the environment.

Just by making a few simple and conscious changes in your life, you can embrace natural living and start making a more positive impact on both yourself and the planet.

What Does Natural Living Mean?

natural living

When you think of the words natural living, it is likely that you are confused about what this vague statement means.

In general, living naturally involves getting back to the basics.

Natural living goes back to the roots of humans by avoiding everything that is not naturally and ethically made on Earth.

Why Should I Embrace This Change?

By including green habits and nature as a part of your everyday life, you are more likely to experience greater physical and mental health benefits.

Not only will this benefit you, but it will positively impact the environment as well.

Aspects of natural living include avoiding chemicals and excessive waste and adding more sustainable habits in your life. If you do this, you will not only be happier, but you’ll reduce your impact on the planet.

Here are my 10 Steps to embrace natural living:


When you have a guide to tackle transitioning to natural living, the process could not be easier!

Here, you can follow this detailed guide in the best ways and steps to take to begin living naturally.

Let’s start!

1. Change Your Diet Habits

We are what we eat and we all know that a healthy diet is an important part of our lives.

Switching what you eat to organic, naturally grown foods, you can avoid putting unnecessary chemicals into your body.

The best way to do this is to shop from the farmers market or local food markets and to look for USDA labels.

These labels indicate whether the food you purchase is organic or naturally grown without pesticides.

Additionally, by focusing less on meat and eating less processed foods, you will reduce your own carbon footprint impact.

Just by reducing or removing animal products from your diet, you are saving the world of its horrendous water waste.

Statistically, it takes 53 gallons of water to produce a single egg, 468 gallons of water for a pound of chicken, and 1,800 gallons of water for a pound of beef.

Compared to this, growing a pound of crop or fruit only uses an average of 15 gallons of water. Because we only have a small amount of drinkable water available on Earth, it’s important to conserve it.

Keep this in mind the next time you reach for the meat instead of healthy vegetables! Consume responsibly and support the farmers.

2. Avoid Purchasing and Using Plastics

One of the major issues that humans contribute to on the planet is the amount of waste they produce.

When landfill builds up, the lighter waste tends to become airborne and make its way into our oceans.

For reference, there are currently five oceanic gyres of plastic that are twice the size of Texas floating in our oceans.

These plastics release chemicals into our water, and they also create harm to animals who mistake them as food.

When digested, plastic can lead to death from starvation and chemical poisoning. To prevent this, using less plastic will help the ecosystem.

In order to use less plastic, you can avoid purchasing foods, such as fruits or vegetables, that are wrapped in plastics.

It helps to buy in bulk or to purchase loose products, as you can customize how much you need and waste less. Additionally, be sure to bring your own reusable bags to the store when you shop.

This allows you to forego using tons of plastic bags that could end up in landfills polluting our fragile environment.

3. Recycle and Compost

Recycling is the process of converting waste materials into new materials and objects. It is an alternative to “conventional” waste disposal that can save material and help lower greenhouse gas emissions.

Just by recycling, you can efficiently conserve materials. Recycling involves re-purposing used materials into new products instead of tossing them away.

This can be done with any material, especially plastics. One example of recycling is composting, which involves using your food and paper scraps to create dense soil.

Compost, made of 100 percent organic matter, can save you water because natural matter absorbs up to 5 gallons per pound of compost. This means that compared to traditional soil, you’d be using less water to contain moisture for your plants.

To start composting, collect your food scraps and paper waste in a container.

Things that you can put in a compost pile include sawdust, pine needles, dried grass and leaves, shredded cardboard and newspaper, greens tea bags, coffee grounds, fruit and vegetable waste, and weeds or flowers.

Some things you should avoid putting in compost include ashes, dairy products, diseased plants, seed-bearing weeds, and either human or animal waste.

Make sure to chop the pieces into small chunks and add them to brown and green plant material.

Keeping this moist and turning the mixture will ensure your compost will form properly.

4. Consider Ethical and Cruelty-Free Beauty Products

There is often a hidden truth behind many of the beauty products you may use.

Companies tend to test their chemical composition on innocent animals.

During animal testing, laboratories either place drops of these compositions into animals’ eyes, or they’ll shave a patch of fur off the animal and topically apply the cosmetics.

In more extreme cases, force-feeding takes place. These can lead animals to get extensive rashes, have organ damage, internal bleeding, blindness, convulsions, and even death.

Protect animals by avoiding beauty products that have been tested on animals.

Some brands that test their products on animals include NARS, L’Oreal, MAC, Maybelline, Revlon, Lancome, Burberry, Almay, and many more.

Instead, check out eco-friendly and ethical beauty alternatives like Axiology, Lilah B., Josie Maran, ILIA, Kjaer Weis, Antonym Cosmetics, Elate Cosmetics, RMS and Tata Harper.

5. Avoid Fast Fashion Companies

A big issue in the clothing industry involves fast fashion companies.

This is not a common or known topic, and conditions are often hidden.

Fast fashion means that inexpensive clothing is produced rapidly and unsustainable in order to produce high turnover rates for faster sales.

In the process, a lot of water is wasted, excess clothing and carbon emissions are created, making our environment less stable.

Rapid consumption of apparel and the need to deliver on short fashion cycles stresses production resources, often resulting in supply chains that put profits ahead of human welfare.

Statistically, 12.8 million tons of clothing are sent to landfills each year in the United States alone.

The more clothes we make, the more waste we contribute.

Additionally, these fast fashion workplaces are expected to lead to a 60 percent increase in current levels of carbon dioxide emissions. The more excess carbon in the planet, the more greenhouse gases erode the ozone layer.

Examples of fast fashion companies that lead to this issue include H&M, Bershka, Guess, Forever 21, Topshop and more.

Instead, stick to sustainable stores like People Tree, Patagonia, Reformation, HARA the Label and Everlane.

sustainable clothing

These companies provide their workers with good working conditions, sustainable and ethical fabrics and they focus on improving the environment rather than harming it.

Check the documentary “The true cost” for more info in this niche.

6. Consider Purchasing Second-Hand Clothing

If you purchase clothing from a second-hand or thrift store, you are minimizing the amount of clothing that are sent to landfills every day.

One of the best ways to help the environment is by reducing the amount of garbage waste you produce and send to landfills, and this can easily be done by reusing materials.

Getting hand-me-downs, shopping at thrift shops, and using fewer materials will ensure that your carbon footprint is smaller.

An alternative to purchasing clothes is to rent them.

There are plenty of online stores that offer you to rent and return clothes for a scheduled amount of time.

Doing this allows you to use a fashion item for an event and return it, saving you both money and waste.

Check out Rent the Runway for an ethical and sustainable company that does this.

Did you know that the fashion industry itself creates 20 percent of the world’s waste?

When you shop at second-hand stores, you’ll not only save money, but you’ll meet some people with similar interests and save the environment while doing so!

7. Live a Minimalist Lifestyle

Minimalism is a new trend that’s going around the United States.

The idea of minimalism preaches that simplicity and freedom are more important than material possessions.

By minimizing the number of materials you have, you will declutter your house and your life.

Additionally, doing this means you create less waste in the world.

When you have fewer products, you’ll contribute less to landfills when its time to toss them out. This will reduce significantly your waste since you’ll be throwing out less.

To start living a minimalist lifestyle, it’s best to declutter what you currently have.

A tip to do this is the five-second rule. Take an item and take five seconds to determine if you’ll use it soon. If you will, put it in a keep pile. If not, create two separate piles – one to donate and one for recycling.

The recycling pile should only contain products that are so badly worn out that nobody else could get good use from the item. This allows you to reduce your possessions while donating or recycling what you don’t need.

This rule works with things you’re looking to purchase as well.

If you see a product that you’ll get good use out of, get it. If you think for five seconds and determine that you’ll only use it once or twice, don’t purchase it.

The key to minimalism is to buy less and to be less impulsive with the items that you do want to get.

Living a minimalist lifestyle will improve your quality of life, as well as your environmental surroundings.

8. Spend Time in Nature

Because people are beginning to rely more on technology, people often forget to spend time outside.

Spending more time in nature, such as going on a picnic or hike, will make you healthier.

Studies conducted by the University of East Anglia have proven that if you expose yourself to nature more, you reduce your risk of type II diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and even premature death.

In order to ensure you lead a healthy, meaningful life, getting outdoors is the way to do so.

Some ways to spend more time in nature include going on more walks, having outdoor picnics, meditate or even doing any work you may have to do outside.

If you find yourself riding in your car or using useless amounts of electricity inside, take a walk or a bike ride instead.

Not only does this give you the health benefits of spending time outdoors, as mentioned above, but it helps the environment.

9. Drive Less

The less you use your car, the more you reduce your environmental impact.

For every gallon of gas burned, a car produces 24 pounds of carbon dioxide and other various global-warming causing gases.

This means that about 30 percent of the world’s greenhouse gases come from driving alone.

Another option is to carpool or take public transportation. This, while still contributes to pollution levels, makes it so that on one tank of gas, multiple people get to the same place.

This saves each individual person from using copious amounts of gasoline, which would produce insane amounts of pollution.

Opting to walk or take a bike ride will reduce your carbon footprint on the planet significantly.

10. Drink Lots of Water

Staying hydrated is one of the most important features of life.

Your body is made up of cells, and each and every one of those cells needs water to function properly.

Certain functions that would be inhibited if you were to drink less water include your bodily waste production, muscle output, and the ability for your blood to carry oxygen.

The long-term benefits of drinking lots of water and staying hydrated include having proper bowel and kidney function, having clear and smooth skin, and your eyesight can even improve!

Some tips on how to drink more water include always having a reusable bottle of water handy.

If you have water, you are more likely to drink it rather than purchasing something that you don’t readily have.

Get a reusable water bottle that you love.

Whether that be because of the pattern it has or the shape, a fun water bottle will encourage you to drink more liquids.

The more hydrated you are, the better your body will perform, so be sure to drink up!

Embrace Your Natural Living Today

When you live naturally, not only will you be saving yourself from health issues, but you will be helping the environment and world around you as well.

For a healthy, beneficial way to live life, embrace natural living, one step at the time in the right direction for a sustainable future!