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!

10 Zero-Waste Bathroom Essentials [my favorite swaps]

Today I will go over my best swaps for a zero waste bathroom,

Let’s jump to it:

Over the years, we’ve all become aware of the movement to reduce the use of plastics in order to protect the environment.

300 million tons of plastic are produced globally each year.

zero waste bathroom

Of that, only about 9% is recycled, and an estimated seven million tons end up in the sea each year.

These numbers led me to make some changes in my lifestyle.

I set out to find low-impact, plastic-free products to replace the damaging ones I’d always used before.

These are products that will help prevent further damage to the environment, but there are other reasons you can feel good about making these swaps, too!

zero waste bathroom

Here are my favorite swaps, 10 zero-waste bathroom essentials:

1. Ditch the disposables for a long-lasting safety razor

Approximately two billion plastic razors are thrown away each year, according to the EPA.

Since they’re not recyclable, most end up in landfills. Instead of filling your garbage bin with one-time-use pink plastics, try out a reusable safety razor instead!

zero waste bathroom

EcoRoots Rose Gold Safety Razor is plastic-free, comes in recyclable packaging, and includes five stainless steel replacement blades.

It’s easy to use, great color and design, high-quality and leaves you feeling smooth.

zero waste bathroom
EcoRoots Zero Waste Safety Razor (32$)

If cost is your concern, don’t let that deter you. It comes with five replacements, and each blade will provide you with about seven uses.

When you consider how much it would cost to buy 42 disposable plastic razors, that price will easily exceed the cost of one safety razor. This was one of my favorite swaps.

Safety razors look better, work better, and they are more cost-efficient over time.

2. Swap out your old, plastic toothbrush for one made of biodegradable bamboo

Over five trillion pieces of plastic toothbrushes are currently floating in our oceans.

One billion are thrown away each year, in just the U.S.

Plastic toothbrushes take hundreds of years to decompose.

Do we really want our great, great-grandchildren pulling pieces of our old Oral-Bs out of the ocean?

zero waste bathroom

Instead, consider switching to an EcoRoots Bamboo Toothbrush.

They have a nice, simple design, are biodegradable, come in plastic-free, recyclable packaging, and unlike other bamboo toothbrushes, they’re about the same price as a regular toothbrush.

They also have natural, anti-bacterial properties.

zero waste bathroom
EcoRoots Bamboo Toothbrush (14.90$)

Our great, great grand-children can spend more time zooming around on their hovercrafts instead of scooping chunks of old, plastic toothbrushes out of the path of our ocean’s marine life.

As an added bonus, the bristles are surprisingly soft.

3. Use shampoo and conditioner bars as a substitute for traditional plastic bottles

According to Johnson & Johnson, more than 552 million shampoo bottles may be ending up in landfills every year.

The number thrown out in the U.S. alone each year could fill 1,164 football fields.

Shampoo and conditioner bars are plastic-free, made with more natural ingredients, and quite honestly, they’re more fun to use.

They’re also much easier to travel with than those little bottles that get squashed in your luggage and leak on your clothes.

If Ariel in The Little Mermaid had to use shampoo and conditioner to achieve that perfect, silky style, these are the ones I’d imagine she’d choose.

zero waste bathroom
Zero Waste Hair Care (10.50$)

EcoRoots makes shampoo and conditioner bars that are vegan, palm oil-free and SLS- free. They also last for 50+ washes, they’re color-safe (another plus for Ariel), cost-effective, smell great, and their website has different bars based on your favorite scent!

4. Replace your single-use tampons with menstrual cups and reusable underwear

In one day in 2015, The Ocean Conservancy collected 27,938 used applicators and tampons on beaches across the globe.

When flushed, they end up in our oceans. When disposed of properly, they sit in a landfill.

zero waste bathroom

In addition to being eco-friendly, menstrual cups and reusable underwear give you the freedom to live life on your own terms, not your tampon’s timeline.

The Mahina Cup, made of high-quality silicone, is safe, easy, and protects you for twelve hours.

It’s also cost-effective, and will save you about $250 per year.

zero waste bathroom
Mahina Cup Menstrual Cup (42$)

Alternatively, THINX makes reusable underwear that looks and feel like normal underwear, but absorb two tampons’ worth of liquid.

Thinx (34$)

They’re made of moisture-wicking material that controls odor and bacteria.

zero waste bathroom

I alternate between the two, depending on how much protection I need and what activities I have planned for that particular day.

5. Look for plastic-free toothpaste and floss instead of plastic tubes and containers

In the U.S. each year, 32 million pounds of plastic waste is attributed to floss containers and 26 million to toothpaste tubes.

If you’re not interested in making your own toothpaste to keep in a jar by your sink, I recommend trying Davids

zero waste bathroom
Davids Toothpaste (9.95$)

It comes in a recyclable metal tube, but what I like even more than that is that it’s made with natural ingredients.

Regular toothpaste tubes are covered in long, unpronounceable words, many of which have questionable effects on your health. Davids makes a natural toothpaste that you can feel good about.

It’s better for the environment, better for you, and it’s not tested on animals like most regular toothpastes are.

For a sustainable floss option, Lucky Teeth makes bamboo floss that comes in a cute little refillable jar!

zero waste bathroom
Lucky Teeth Bamboo Floss (9.99$)

Their floss is biodegradable and vegan, and contains charcoal and essential oils to keep your teeth sparkling clean without any harsh chemicals.

6. Let reusable facial rounds take the place of single-use cotton balls

Surprisingly, cotton production accounts for 16% of insecticide releases across the globe.

zero waste bathroom

Cotton beats out all other crops in the amount of chemical pesticides required to protect from insects and other pests. These insecticides can leak into the ground and pollute surrounding groundwater.

A well-placed jar of single-use cotton balls may look like a cute bunch of bunny bottoms, but they may contain traces of chemicals that are bad for your skin.

EcoRoots makes organic reusable cotton rounds without harsh chemicals.

zero waste bathroom
EcoRoots Reusable Facial Rounds (10.95$)

They’re more sustainable than single-use cotton balls, biodegradable, come in plastic-free recyclable packaging, and they’re just as soft.

7. Use sustainable, plastic-free toilet paper as a fill in for toilet papers wrapped in plastic

27,000 trees are cut down daily just to make toilet paper.

Each individual American will use the equivalent of 384 trees in toilet paper in their lifetime.

zero waste bathroom

Deforestation has a major impact on wildlife and ecosystems.

Regular toilet papers are also wrapped in plastic, which ends up in the ocean, like many of the other pre-swap products on this list.

Who Gives A Crap makes toilet paper without trees, they offer free shipping on most orders, and they donate 50% of their profits to help build toilets and improve sanitation in the developing world.

zero waste bathroom
Who Gives A Crap 100% RECYCLED TOILET PAPER (30$)

Their products come individually wrapped in paper rather than plastic. They offer toilet paper made of 100% recycled materials, and one that’s made of, you guessed it, bamboo. Those pandas are really onto something.

8. Cut out aerosol shaving cream containers and let shaving soap bars smooth your skin

The EPA has warned that emissions from hydrocarbons and various other gases increased by almost 60 percent between 1990 and 2009.

Hydrocarbons are another source of harmful greenhouse gases contributing to climate change.

Many shaving cream containers are made with recyclable materials, but because of the use of hydrocarbon propellants, many recycling centers won’t accept them.

Rather than buying plastic or metal shaving bottles, I recommend trying out a shaving soap bar, like Tierra Mia Organics.

zero waste bathroom
Tierra Mia Organics Shaving Soap (4.99$)

Their shaving soap bar contains cocoa butter and coconut oil, lathers well, and gently exfoliates.

It costs about the same as a name-brand can of shaving cream, but a little goes a long way. Its natural ingredients like goat milk and Vitamin A make it great for sensitive skin, too!

9. Remove plastic-tube-contained chemical deodorants from your life and try out a biodegradable, natural deodorant stick  

Recent medical studies have revealed that a large number of parabens (one of the main ingredients in regular deodorants) were found in over 70% of women with breast cancer.

The aluminum in deodorants is also a water pollutant, damaging ecosystems, and marine life if it ends up in the ocean.

The tube itself that deodorant comes in is usually recyclable, but not all of its component parts. So, like the aerosol shaving cream cans, deodorant tubes may not be accepted by all recycling centers.

Meow Meow Tweet makes a deodorant stick that not only has a really fun name, but is also free of harmful chemicals, and comes in biodegradable packaging.

zero waste bathroom
Meow Meow Tweet Deodorant (14$)

My favorite is the lemon eucalyptus & rose geranium, but it also comes in lavender bergamot, grapefruit, and cedar spruce.

They’re made with essential oils, and plant and mineral powders, so you can feel good about meow meow deodorizing!

10. Shift to recyclable, natural lip balms from conventional plastic lip balms

The EPA estimates that about 30% of waste discarded by the public consists of packaging and containers, including the ones used for your favorite lip balm.

Unless your favorite lip balm is Burt’s Bees. They offer a free mail-back recycling program if curbside recycling isn’t available for many of their products.

zero waste bathroom
Burt`s Bees Lip Balm (4.99$)

They also use recyclable materials for 89% of their primary packaging.

The lip balm itself is made with 100% natural ingredients like beeswax, peppermint oil, and vitamin E!

Confession: Burt’s Bees was my favorite far before I started on my eco-friendly journey, and I’ve been recommending them for years, but the recycling program is new information to me, so it just makes me love them even more.

zero waste bathroom

If you’re concerned about your impact on the environment, the ocean, your own health, or all three like I was, I’d recommend trying these products out and achieve a zero waste bathroom.

Pick the ones you think would have the biggest impact, or try them all.

Some may cost more up-front, but they’ll save you money in the long run. To me, this is just choosing quality over quantity.

Find what works for you and will also help make the world a little bit better!

Once you find your favorites, share them with your friends and family, too.

What is your favorite zero waste bathroom swap?