9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
Homesteading

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen Introduction 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen. Ever since Covid and the great toilet paper shortage, I’ve been focused on living a more sustainable lifestyle. This really prompted me to start thinking about waste and how to change that. 

I found myself inspired to create this list of 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen.

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Being a prepper isn’t just about buying and stockpiling a ton of stuff. It is so much more than that! It is a lifestyle shift, and becoming more sustainable is a great place to start. 

Switching to a zero-waste lifestyle can be intimidating. Where do you even start? Will everyone in your household accept the changes? There are a lot of questions, and it may seem overwhelming. But the best part is that it doesn’t have to be! 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Making small changes over time and creating more eco-friendly habits can help to ensure a successful transition toward a zero waste lifestyle. 

I found that the kitchen is the easiest place to start, and why I wrote these 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen. You don’t have to do everything all at once. Start with slow and consistent changes and notice the difference. Be kind to yourself as you start the transition. Because it will feel weird at first. But creating any new habit feels weird at first. 

Are you ready to learn about the 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen? Come on in and let me tell you all about it! 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Compost 

Composting is an easy way to reuse scraps that would normally be thrown away. It is basically creating gold for the garden out of nothing. Composting is also free! Which makes the homemaker in me very happy. I love saving money. 

Composting doesn’t need to take up a ton of space, and you can do it on whatever size scale that works for you, big or small. You can do it on your kitchen counter! This is a great kitchen composting bin. Or take it outside with this. All you need is a mixture of yard and kitchen waste materials, time, and patience. 

The ideal ratio is three parts brown to one part green to achieve the most effective composting. You’ll likely end up with more or less of each over time, and that’s okay. It just may take a bit longer to break down. 

Green Materials 

  • Fruit and vegetable scraps
  • Eggshells
  • Grass clippings 
  • Coffee grounds, tea leaves, and tea bags 

Brown Materials 

  • Dry or dead leaves 
  • Wood chips and wood ash
  • Straw 
  • Twigs that have been chopped up 
  • Dryer lint 
  • Paper towels or napkins 

Non-Compostable Items 

  • Pet waste 
  • Meat scraps 
  • Whole eggs 
  • Bones 
  • Dairy products 
  • Fat or oils 
  • Leftovers 
  • Weeds 

Building Your Compost 

To build up your compost in the most effective way, you’ll want to layer it like a lasagna. Chopping things up into smaller pieces will also help it break down faster. 

Water your compost, but don’t overwater it. Compost needs moisture for microorganisms to grow and do the work of breaking down materials. But too much water can slow down the decomposition and cause the compost to smell. The goal is to have the wetness of a wrung-out sponge, but not a soaking wet sponge. If your compost gets too wet, grab a shovel or pitchfork and mix it up, and then add some more dry brown materials. 

You’ll want to mix the compost pile at least once or twice a month to introduce oxygen into the mix and help the decomposition process along. If you don’t mix your compost, it slows the process down, and can take three to four times longer to be ready to use. 

Check the temperature of your compost. Compost heats up when microorganisms feed on the waste. The ideal temperature of your compost pile should be between 110-145 degrees Fahrenheit. It is hot enough to kill any lurking disease organisms, but anything above 160 degrees will kill the microorganisms feeding and slow down the composting process. 

If your compost smells, add some air. You may also need to add more dry materials if it feels too wet. If it doesn’t smell but isn’t in the ideal temperature range, add in some more green materials. 

Is Your Compost Ready? 

How do you know when your compost is ready to use? When the materials no longer look like the original materials. The compost should be crumbly and dark brown, and have an earthy smell to them. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Buy in Bulk 

There are so many benefits to buying in bulk. Buying in bulk reduces the waste of individual packaging, so you have less plastic waste filling up the trash can and landfill. 

Because there is less packaging, the price is much lower for larger amounts of food. It may seem more expensive up front, but there are still benefits. 

Buying in bulk means fewer trips to the grocery store, and less impulse buying. Your wallet thanks you for that alone! Bulk purchases also mean you save money in gas to drive to the store. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Wooden Utensils 

Wooden utensils are an excellent way to be more sustainable. Most of these are made out of bamboo or teak wood, which are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial. 

Bamboo is also a sustainably sourced product. Wooden utensils don’t scratch dishes or pans, and if taken care of properly, can last for years. 

How to Care for Wooden Utensils 

Wash by hand in hot soapy water. 

Always use the scratchy side of your sponge. 

Never put them in the dishwasher. 

Never let them soak in water. 

Oil liberally when they start to look dry. To apply oil, use a conditioning oil, food-grade mineral oil, or beeswax. After the utensil has been washed and dried, use a cloth to rub on a small amount of oil or wax. Let the oil sit for 10 minutes, and wipe off any excess. Do not use food-based oils like vegetable, avocado, or olive, as they can go rancid. Cold pressed linseed oil is the best. Doing this monthly, or whenever they feel or look dry will help to extend their life. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Say Goodbye to Teflon 

Teflon is a substance that coats pans to make them non-stick. The problem is that coating is toxic if consumed. It will start to break apart and flake off into your food at some point. Teflon is not something that should end up in landfills. 

Switching to cast iron cookware is a much more sustainable option. Cast iron will last forever, and is easy to care for. 

Should You Use Soap on Cast Iron? 

These days, the answer is yes, you can. Soap used to be made with lye and vinegar, making it too harsh to use on cast iron pans, and it would strip away the oil and seasoning on the pan, causing it to rust. Today’s soaps, especially eco-friendly soaps, are generally too mild to remove the seasoning. 

I am old school and still don’t use soap on my cast iron, but that’s my own preference. 

Do not use scouring pads or steel wool on cast iron pans though. Those will remove the seasoning. 

Wash by hand, and avoid the dishwasher. Dishwashers will strip the pan of oil and seasoning, making more work for you, as well as potentially allowing the pan to rust. 

How to Season Cast Iron 

What is seasoning on cast iron? It is a layer of carbonized oil that has been baked into your cast iron pan. This forms a protective layer on top of the pan, and helps to keep it from rusting. 

How do you know if cast iron is seasoning properly? A well-seasoned pan will have a dark, semi-glossy finish to it and will not be sticky or greasy to the touch. It won’t have any rusty, dull, or dry spots either. 

To season the pan for the first time (and repeat this process monthly)

  • Rub the pan with a thin film of neutral oil. I typically use canola or vegetable. Coat the entire pan, including the bottom and the handle. Wipe away any excess oil, so there is no pooling. 
  • Bake the pan upside down at 400 degrees for 1 hour. Once the hour is over, turn off the oven, but leave the pan inside. Allow both to cool down naturally together. 

You’ll want to do this monthly to keep your pan in good shape. Using it daily, you should just wipe it down with a small amount of oil without baking, and you’ll do just fine. 

If your pans develop scratches in them, you’ll want to repeat this process several times over until a smooth finish develops. Do not slather on a bunch of oil though, as it will just become sticky, and you don’t need that. 

You can also keep your pan seasoned as you cook. Using it for things like frying chicken or cooking bacon are great uses for cast iron. Not only does cast iron give you a better overall heat, the fat and oil will help to preserve the coating on your pans naturally. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Use Cloth Towels Instead of Paper 

I will be honest and tell you that paper towels, and any paper products, were once the biggest money waste in my home. I look at it now and just cringe. It’s so gross to buy something to literally just throw it in the trash. I feel the same way about toilet paper. Why not wipe your butt with a dollar bill and flush it? Which might actually be cheaper than paper products. But I digress. 

I started buying my reusable un-paper products here. Amelia has made me everything from paper towels to handkerchiefs, and toilet paper. She is amazing! 

Once I made this switch, it was easy to just throw them in a hamper and then wash weekly. It is also an incredible water saver. It takes 12-37 gallons of water to produce one roll of toilet paper, and about 2.5 gallons of water to make one roll of paper towels. Which is kind of insane when you really think about it. A high-efficiency washing machine will use just 7 gallons for a load of laundry, for comparison. 

Think about how many rolls of toilet paper and paper towels you use each week, then compare that to what it takes to run one load of laundry in the washing machine. It will put things in perspective. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Make Your Own Cleaning Products 

Store bought cleaning products are another huge household expense. They are also full of harmful chemicals. I watched a friend last month go to a store and drop a solid $200 on toilet paper, paper towels, and Lysol wipes, that will last 1-2 months at the most, and I just cringed. Because it is such a waste, especially with inflation and the price of everything skyrocketing. 

Making your own cleaning products is not only cheaper, it is healthier! I love making my own cleaning products, because I know exactly what is in them, I can pronounce everything, and it costs a fraction of what commercially made products do, while using ingredients I already have in the house. 

I love making my own laundry soap, for all of these reasons.

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Ditch Plastic Bags 

Plastic bags are one of the most useless wasteful items on this planet, in my opinion. They are a terrible quality, so the chances of being able to reuse them for something else like household trash is minimal, at best. 

Reusable shopping bags and even produce bags are a much more sustainable method, and don’t end up in the trash. 

They do need to be washed though and kept clean, as bacteria from groceries, especially meat, will be inside. I turn mine inside out and wash with the un-paper towels and toilet paper each week, therefore saving more water because they’ll get clean right along with everything else. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Meal Plan 

I love meal planning with my husband! It is fun to plan out our meals, develop new recipes, and enjoy our favorites as well. It is one of my favorite parts of these 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen.

Past my own enjoyment I get from cooking, meal planning can be a huge lifesaver in many ways. Meal planning helps to cut down on food waste, right along with buying in bulk. They work together. Meal planning means that everything you buy has a purpose and a reason. It isn’t impulse buying that you’ll just end up wasting. 

Reducing food waste is a great way to cut costs, cut down on trips to the grocery store, and create a cleaner and healthier kitchen. Plus, you don’t have the extra stress of deciding what to make everyday. 

I have also found that making my own condiments has reduced a ton of plastic and packaging in my household. Storing them in jars like this is much better. 

If you have the space, growing your own fresh herbs that you can dry yourself is another amazing way to eliminate plastic packaging. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

Recycle as a Last Resort 

Recycling isn’t nearly as helpful as we’ve been led to believe. Many of the items we recycle just end up in the landfill anyway. It just goes there in a different container than the trash. 

I still try to recycle as much as I can, but I much prefer to focus on keeping things out of the trash and recycling bins as possible. It makes for a much more sustainable and larger impact. 

It all starts at the store. Reducing consumption and reusing the things we already have will go much farther than recycling. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen Notes 

There are plenty of other ways to build and run a sustainable kitchen. But these 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen are a fantastic way to start and get you going in the right direction. 

Start slowly making one change at a time, and let that become a habit. Once you do, start on the next one. You’ll have a zero waste kitchen before you know it! Then you can start working on other ways to reduce waste around your entire home. 

What I love about these 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen is that it saves me so much money, on top of being sustainable. These changes aren’t hard to make, and it makes a huge difference on the environment, my wallet, and the need to constantly buy more stuff. 

Being a prepper, it really isn’t just about stockpiling stuff. Preppers should always be focused on sustainability. Especially if the items we use everyday are suddenly no longer available. Just think back to the great toilet paper shortage that happened with Covid. 

When we start asking ourselves what we would do without something, like toilet paper as an example, it allows us to think of other alternatives that actually often work better. Plan B works better than Plan A! Those simple shifts allow us to be better prepared to handle even the most unexpected things. 

Investing in products that you can reuse and last longer than disposable products is a huge asset to any household, and is also an investment. I like to think of being prepared and sustainable as an investment. 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen Discussion 

Did my 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen help you? Are any of these 9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen already habits for you and your household? Would you add anything to the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments! 

9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

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9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen
9 Easy Ways to Start a No Waste Kitchen

4 Comments

  • Kimberley Asante

    Your post on starting a no-waste kitchen is incredibly informative and inspiring! I appreciate how you’ve broken down the process into easy-to-follow steps and provided practical tips for reducing waste. It’s refreshing to see such actionable advice for creating a more sustainable kitchen environment. Thanks for sharing these valuable insights!

  • Terri Steffes

    Ths is the most comprehensive guide on how to have a no-waste kitchen. I learned some new ideas, and I truly loved the part on composting. That soil looked so rich! This is certainly a post I would want to share with those who are starting housekeeping for the first time. Tried and true tips here that really work.

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