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Day 8: How about a waste-free kitchen?

 
Picture of Clara del Rey
Day 8: How about a waste-free kitchen?
by Clara del Rey - 30 June 2015
 
Clara del Rey // 30 June 2015 // #GoingGreen #WasteNot

Reusing glass jars is easy: clean them in hot water and store them in your kitchen until needed. | (c) Clara del Rey

Reusing glass jars is easy: clean them in hot water and store them in your kitchen until needed. | (c) Clara del Rey

When adapting to your new waste-free lifestyle, organization, determination and creativity are key to success. Without any doubt, the kitchen is the place where we use most single-use products and it is also the place where we keep most plastic tools and containers.

If you indeed want to commit to a zero-waste lifestyle, the kitchen will be your site of experimentation to get rid of old habits. For me, this has meant to change some of my regular routines and adapt new ones.

First of all, try to avoid buying single-use items. Even if some of these products can actually biodegrade, you should keep in mind that the three “Rs” – reduce, reuse, recycle – are best followed in that sequence. Ask yourself, “Can I reduce it?”, that is, is it possible to avoid a product altogether? If not, can you at least reuse it, and thereby prolong an item’s lifespan? If you can neither reduce nor reuse an item, then at least you should find out how you can recycle an item once you have used it, or find a way to dispose of it responsibly.

I keep many ingredients in these decorative and reusable jars on our kitchen shelf. | (c) Clara del Rey 

I keep many ingredients in these decorative and reusable jars on our kitchen shelf. | (c) Clara del Rey

So evaluate which of the kitchen tools and materials are really necessary for you and use your imagination and resources to substitute them for clean alternatives. Personally, I have realized I don’t need as many things as I thought in the beginning. Here’s a list of my durable kitchen essentials:

  • Reusable rags (I wash them periodically with my laundry) instead of paper towels. Also, kitchen towels and cotton napkins are a great replacement for their paper equivalents.
  • Reusable kitchen or baking sheets made of silicone instead of wax paper and aluminum sheets. They come in cool shapes and colors, too.
  • Upcycled jars to store goods in shelves or in the fridge, instead of plastic containers and cling film. Mine look fantastic when filled with different ingredients and placed openly on shelves. You can also decorate them!
  • Needless to say, ceramic or glass plates and cups instead of the disposable ones.
  • A good glass bottle to refill with water instead of its plastic equivalent.

So, what are you waiting for? To get you started, check out these great tips. The Foodwise site will show you that creating a waste-free kitchen only takes a few ingredients: a piece of paper, clear airtight storage containers, an efficient fridge, a freezer, a measuring cup, and a sense of adventure. Or check out these 7 tips for a zero-waste kitchen from the Zero-Waste Chef blog. Finally, a great approach to freeing your kitchen from waste comes from the Mother Earth Living blog. Happy experimenting and enjoy transforming your kitchen!

 


Clara del Rey, the winner of the travel well MAGAZINE's #WasteNot 30-day challenge , was invited to share her favorite ideas on reducing trash. Clara, a Spanish native, taught in St. Joseph, Missouri (USA), and is now living in Edinburgh, Scotland. Not only does she know both the U.S. and the European perspective on sustainability, but her ideas are creative, unconventional, and yet easy to follow.She is conviced: "I truly think being environmentally conscious starts with reducing your consumption of resources and products. Sometimes I stop, reflect upon people's frantic consumption habits and just think to myself: we are all addicts, in a way, having to buy compulsively insane amounts of disposable, poor quality 'goods'. It makes me wonder how we are losing the ability to create things with our hands or imagination—simple things such as cooking, growing greens and vegetables, or sewing a button. I refuse to represent this mindset."