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With the global population growing at a rate of knots, it is no wonder that waste generation is at an all-time high. But there is something we can do about it, and that is aim to adopt a zero-waste lifestyle. And what better place to start than in our kitchens?
‘Zero-waste’, ‘low-waste’, ‘minimal waste’… all terms that describe the process of reducing waste down as low as possible. Whilst achieving 100 per cent zero waste in a modern house hold is perhaps somewhat ambitious as a starting point, it is possible to reduce waste by a good 50 to 90 per cent, especially so if we focus on the kitchen, where a great deal of waste is generated.
If you are keen to join the growing waste-reduction movement, the following tips on working towards a zero waste home kitchen should prove helpful. Even if you can implement just a few of these strategies, it will go a long way towards a more sustainable future for us all.
Tip #1 Shop with re-usable bags and containers
A spot of planning ahead of shopping is the best way to make sure you don’t have to buy single use carrier bags. It also means you can kit yourself out with a few storage containers to fill with the likes of cereals, grains and pasta, rather than buy products wrapped in unnecessary packaging.
Reducing waste is a lot about planning, but it’s also about making astute choices too. Choosing grocery stores that offer ‘fill your own’ racks, where you get to take along your own containers and buy precisely what you need.
The use of sustainable bags is becoming more the norm these days, the key though of course is actually remembering to take them shopping with you. Keeping a few in the car is a good idea, and investing in some compact, fold-up re-usable bags that you can keep in a handbag or pocket means you’ll always have something to hand, particularly useful for ad-hoc visits to the shops.
Tip #2 Shop locally
If you have a local farmers’ market, or a farm shop nearby, if you can do your shopping there. Purchasing produce in supermarkets may be convenient, and cheaper, but it often comes wrapped in excessive packaging and covered in pesticides.
At a farmers’ market or farm shop, you have the option to purchase packaging-free organic produce, and that produce will be seasonal too. Shopping this way tends to help build relationships with local producers, who will often get to know what you like. And there is nothing to beat a personal service like that.
Whilst farm shops tend to have more limited ranges, the food is super-fresh, and mostly chemical and packaging-free too. And knowing where your food has come from gives you valuable peace of mind too.
Tip #3 Grow your own
What better way than to reduce waste than to grow your own fruit, veg and herbs? Unless you’re buying from a farm shop, you’ll find it challenging to obtain anything like this packaging-free.
Herbs are very straightforward to grow, so if you’re strapped for time, and don’t necessarily have green fingers, this is a good place to start. Whether you are dedicating a veggie patch, using a planter or installing a handy window box, growing your own is actually very fulfilling, as well as waste-reducing.
Popular home-grown herbs include parsley, rosemary and thyme. Chives are another easy-to-grow plant that adds lovely flavour to pastas and soups. Of course, there are other benefits to adding herb plants to your garden… pollinators love the flowers! So you’re not just doing your bit towards zero-waste, you’re also supporting biodiversity too.
Tip #4 Make use of scraps
Leftovers needn’t go to waste. There are so many recipes that can be derived from leftover ingredients. Not to mention the base essentials you can make from what you would otherwise throw out, such as stock and sauces.
For all those food scraps that can’t be transformed into new dishes, composting is the answer. This is the process of turning organic matter into nutrients for plants. Perfect for your home grown produce!
You can get away with digging your scraps straight into the soil. Alternatively, you can notch up your efforts and use a composter. These will range in price depending on the size and how well they perform when it comes to transforming scraps into nutrient-rich compost. Choose a good one and it will serve you well for a long time. The greater the life cycle, the less waste.
Tip #5 Cleaning
Cleaning products are often overlooked in the drive to create a zero waste kitchen, but this is one area where waste is rife.
A significant part of the zero waste movement involves switching to homemade cleaning products. These are more natural, easier on the environment and are free from toxin. They can be stored in re-usable containers too, which reduces plastic waste.
Of course, not everyone has the time or inclination to make their own cleaning products, so a low-waste alternative is to choose products that can be refilled. There is a growing body of options in this respect, including everyday brands as well as specialist ones. Other options include water-soluble cleaning sachets which you simply pop into a spray bottle filled with water.
Achieve a zero waste home kitchen with help from Kola Project
Kola Project was founded in response to the global waste crisis. It is the world’s first fully circular shopping experience, based on a return and reuse program.
When you buy from Kola Project’s range of high quality, sustainable household products, including the extensive kitchen range, you can enjoy total peace of mind that what you’re buying has a future once you’re finished with it. Because as part of the program, whatever you buy can be returned for repair, recycling, refurbishment, recycling or composting, regardless of how long you’ve owned it.
Why not start your circular shopping experience today, and start your journey towards a zero waste kitchen?