Despite the very intimidating name, a Zero Waste life is absolutely possible.
It is actually one of the simplest things you can do for yourselves, your health and your finances.
Zero Waste means something simpler than ceasing to purchase stuff once and for all – that’s impossible!
Ciao! I am Alice Bellini and I am one of the three founders of Inspire, a non-profit organization that inspires and helps people to live Zero Waste.
Today I am here to help you begin your Zero Waste journey starting from the most delicious of places: The kitchen!
I am going to share 6 easy ways to be Zero Waste in the kitchen and embark with you on this journey to a Zero Waste lifestyle.
How to be Zero Waste in the Kitchen
1. Zero Waste drinking water solutions
Disposable water bottles are one of the biggest polluters of our environment and our oceans. The average consumption is of 1 million bottles per minute!
Please, do not be fooled. The plastic of which bottles are made is one of the most recyclable types, this is true. But, only 9% of all the plastic produced until today (and not just that of plastic bottles) has actually been recycled.
Last but not least, whenever you drink from a plastic water bottle, you are drinking microplastics too. It has been estimated that we eat/drink the equivalent of a plastic credit card every year.
So my advice, if you can, is to start from here.
- First of all, switch to a reusable water flask whenever you are going around. Ask restaurants and cafes for refills, or use water fountains.
When it comes to water at home, then you have several options according to how much clean your tap water is.
2. If it is good enough, then just switch to reusable water bottles and jugs.
3. If your water is good but you still like to filter it, then you can use water-filtering jugs. A filter
generally lasts up to 50 days and it helps remove lime scale too.
4. If you prefer to purify your water even more and you want something that produces even less
waste, then install a water purifier on your kitchen tap. It might cost more in the beginning
but it will soon pay itself with the money you save in the long run by not buying water
2. Make a List
Did you know that if food waste was a state, it would be the third most polluting state in the world after China and the US?
Indeed food waste is one of the worst kind of waste. Not only because of the pollution it creates but also because it is incredibly unjust.
There are countries where people are free to buy and waste food without limits.
Supermarkets that throw away food that is still edible.
Fast-food chains that sell low quality food affecting the health of billions of people and considerably impacting public health costs.
On the other side, there are places where humans, exactly like you and me, starve to death for no other reason than being born in the “wrong” place.
How can you contribute to the zero waste lifestyle?
You can eliminate your food waste simply by buying only the food you actually need – and possibly local.
The best way to ensure you will get only what you need is to make a list and stick to it.
This way, you will not buy more food than what you actually need and consequently you will not waste any because of overcooking or expiration dates.
So making a list of the meals you are going to eat and what you are going to cook is a great starting point to go Zero Waste.
3. Bulk products and soaps
Buying package-free food and products for your kitchen is an excellent way to be Zero Waste. Packaging is usually one of the most expensive components of a product and once at home you throw it away, so you do not need it.
If it is too complicated for you to buy bulk food, then you can start from your cleaning products: Dish washing soaps, kitchen detergents and degreasers.
Not having to buy them as often as food, allows you to have plenty of time to arrange a visit to the closest waste free shop and stock them up.
Save the last bottles of detergents and products you bought from the supermarket, and use them to get your refills. The environment will be so grateful, as well as your wallet.
Smart tips to save money: many products like dishwashing detergents can be homemade. The main ingredient is usually vinegar and I am sure that many of you now are thinking about the bad smell. I reassure you: it will not stink up your apartment.
4. Cloth napkins and reusable tableware
This is another super easy-yet-incredibly-effective switch you can apply to your kitchen to make it Zero Waste.
Reusable tableware and cloth napkins allow you to live without all those single-use plates, glasses, cutlery and napkins. They are not only non-recyclable (indeed!), but also some of the most polluting single-use products we use daily.
There is not that much to add in this case: It is as easy as it gets.
5. Bee wraps
In order to replace the aluminum and plastic foils you use to wrap leftovers or to-go meals, you can switch to bee wraps.
Bee wraps are reusable and eco-friendly food wrap made of bee wax or cotton that perfectly replaces single-use plastic wrap. They are reusable, washable and “rechargeable” once the wax is gone (don’t worry, they last for years!).
To make this whole thing even better, you can find them made of veggie wax. In this way you will not bother our precious pollinators, which are officially endangered and absolutely fundamental for our existence on this planet.
So yes, basically what I am trying to say is that if you find them in veggie wax it is even better!
6. Cotton nets
Just because something is compostable or biodegradable (watch our for this term…) it does not mean it is okay for it to be single-use.
It is not just about the nature of the product and its materials. It is also about how much energy, resources and water are needed to produce, transport, sell and dispose it.
And whenever something is single-use, even the most sustainable product, it consumes too many of these resources and energies.
Hence, even if the single-use bag you use for your fruits and veggies is compostable you can go Zero Waste simply by using reusable cotton nets.
Where to start this path towards a Zero Waste life?
First suggestion: you do not have to do all at once!
If you wish to start applying a Zero Waste lifestyle to your kitchen, pick one of these 6 tips and begin from there. Small steps are the most sustainable way to do things, after all.
Curious to discover extra tips? Download the Inspire open guide on how to be Zero Waste