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Wanting to transform your kitchen into a zero waste space but not knowing where to start? This article provides a list of five zero waste swap categories for your kitchen, through all stages of food preparation!

Words By Dina Abedini Niknam

February, 1st 2021

Leading a more sustainable life begins with paying attention to details. Small changes amount to great things. If you have already read the article on 5 Zero Waste Swaps for your Bathroom, you would not be surprised by the amount of unnecessary waste we produce in our daily lives, as well as how easy it is to swap them out for zero waste alternatives!

This article is the continuation in our Zero Waste Swaps series, this time focusing on our kitchens. Most of the food we purchase comes wrapped in mountains of unnecessary plastic which we discard only to cook the food and create more waste. What follows is an assortment of items to be used throughout all stages of food; from purchase to consumption.

1. Bags

In reality, swapping out the plastic bags available at the supermarket is one of the easiest things you could do. Getting a reusable produce bag will allow you to buy fresh, seasonal, local fruits and vegetables without them being packaged in sometimes multiple layers of plastic. Opting for the loose greens allows you to pick out your own source of vitamins and avoid reaching for the plastic bag hanging nearby. If you are looking for a produce bag that doubles as a shopping bag, opt for a mesh grocery bag. For a classier, everyday look, consider a canvas tote bag. This option comes in a vast array of designs and is even easy to make yourself, if you are looking to add a personal touch. All three of the aforementioned bags are washable, of course!

Zero waste kitchen

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2. Silicone 

If you enjoy spending time in the kitchen and using your oven, this part of the list is for you! Two handy zero waste swaps are silicone baking mats (which despite what the name indicates can most often also be used for cooking) and silicone cupcake liners (which come in all shapes, sizes, and colours!). Silicone also offers a number of great storage solutions. Two examples are silicone food storage bags (with zippers) and silicone cling film alternatives (also known as food seal covers or food wrap). 

Photo by Kartabya Aryal from Unsplash

3. Woods, Metals, and Glass

You might notice that wood, metal, and glass items are an essential part of the zero waste lifestyle. That is because these materials are some of the most sustainable options as of yet. They are optimal for ‘to go’ items so that you do not have to use the plastic ones provided at cafés, restaurants, and other eateries. Here are some items that are useful to have your own portable, reusable version of (of course, whether the item is useful to you or not depends on your eating habits!): straws, lunch boxes, chopsticks, cutlery, water tumblers, and thermoses for your morning to go cup of coffee. All of these items are available in at least two variations, including bamboo, steel, and glass.

4. Jars

Acquire a set of mason jars. This handy, multi-purpose item will serve you in various ways. For example, you can use them as a food storage container, when purchasing loose grains and cereals, as water glasses, or even as flower vases, depending on the dimensions of the jar. Take it a step further by saving your jars and other glass containers to be repurposed after you consumed the contents. They will function equally as well as mason jars.

5. Tea

Tea is a beverage that holds different values in different cultures. However, whether you drink it as a connoisseur, as a form of herbal medicine, or as part of your rich cultural history, you should be mindful of the way we prepare it. A tea press, or its less-space-consuming counterpart, the tea strainer, is not only an easy zero waste swap for tea bags, but it also opens the door to a more vibrant and flavourful drinking experience.

Sustainable Kitchen

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As you can see, zero waste swaps for your kitchen are easily implementable. Moreover, just like with the bathroom swaps, these items not only foster a sustainable environment, but also enhance your experience. Make sure to read the bathroom segment and stay tuned for the next instalment of this series to transform all major waste producing areas of your home to zero waste. The final article will focus on your office!