The kitchen is definitely a beast to tackle on your zero waste journey – anyone who’s done it knows.
And it’s no surprise – the kitchen is one of the rooms responsible for the most waste in your home. But creating a zero-waste kitchen that’s both functional and effortless to keep up is definitely possible. We’ve done it, and many others, too.
So, you wanna turn your own kitchen into a zero-waste dream? Then you’re in the right place. In this article, we’ve gathered all our best tips, tricks & sustainable swaps for a zero-waste kitchen, to make it easy for you to get started. We’ll go through:
→ How to Create a Zero Waste Kitchen
→ 3 Most Common Sources of Waste in the Kitchen
→ Zero Waste Kitchen Products
→ Zero Waste Food Shop
→ Zero Waste Food Storage
→ Zero Waste Dishwashing
→ Zero Waste Kitchen Cleaning
→ Zero Waste Drink Reusables
Yup – all our zero waste essentials, gathered in one place! Let’s dig in.
How to Create a Zero-Waste Kitchen
A zero-waste kitchen is all about simplifying and decluttering. See, all those little routines that make up your day-to-day life are the same ones that create waste, week after week. Rethinking them is the real work, ‘cause finding new habits that fit you and your family can take a few tries.
But it’s so worth it, and once you’re up and running, it’ll be just as easy as your life is today – if not easier! But how do you get started?
Well, the first thing you need to know is where your kitchen waste comes from.
Likely, you’ll have multiple answers to this question. It usually helps to divide your kitchen into smaller areas that you can tackle one at a time. That way, it’s manageable and easy to make the transition last.
Each home is different, but there are a few areas of the kitchen that tend to create waste for most of us. So let’s take a look at those problem zones, shall we?
3 Most Common Sources of Waste in the Kitchen
These three areas make up the bulk of most people’s kitchen waste – so, how exactly can you tackle them?
1. Food Waste
Food waste is, quite naturally, one of the biggest sources of waste in the kitchen. But there are a few easy ways to minimize your food waste and make sure you take care of it in the right way.
First of all, is setting up a compost. Organic waste that doesn’t break down in the right conditions (such as in a landfill) can actually contribute more than you’d think to global warming. Not only does it take longer to break down, but it also produces methane gas, which is an extremely potent greenhouse gas that hurries global warming along.
In other words, make sure you take care of those scraps in the right way.
Composting can seem quite intimidating at first. But once you’re up and running, it’s just as easy as tossing your food scraps in the trash is today. Wanna learn how to set up a home compost the right way? We’ve got you covered here, with our top tips for a smooth setup!
But reducing food waste starts way before you toss your scraps in the compost. If food is a big source of waste in your kitchen, we recommend reading our thorough guide to reducing food waste – it’s a great starting point for a zero-waste food routine!
2. Single-Use Items
Next up is single-use items. Kitchens are full of them – plastic wraps, baking paper, and food that comes in non-recyclable packaging, just to mention a few. And it can feel impossible to do something about single-use items, since much is out of your hands. But there is actually quite a lot we can do to tackle this on our own.
Most important for the zero waste kitchen is to invest in products you can use over and over again, for a long time. This includes kitchen utensils made from sustainable materials, and reusable food storage products, like beeswax wraps and metal food boxes. They will help you replace many of the single-use items you’re constantly buying more of!
Next up is to rethink your shopping routine. This one probably requires a bit of research, to find out what’s available in your local area. But buying in bulk, buying refillable products, and naked fruit and veg is the way to go for a zero waste food shop.
If you want to learn exactly how to think around zero waste food shopping, then definitely read our article where we deep dive into how to food shop the zero waste way.
3. Kitchen Cleaning & Dishwashing
When we’re talking zero-waste, we’re not just talking about plastic. Chemicals are another huge polluter that wreaks havoc on our seas and waterways, affecting ecosystems and threatening our food chain.
Now, it’s natural to want your kitchen kept fresh and clean. What’s not natural is all of the chemicals in store-bought cleaning sprays, the microbeads and SLS in sudsy soaps, and the non-recyclable cleaning utensils that consistently wear out.
Luckily, there are many sustainable swaps to make your kitchen actually zero waste – while keeping it just as sparkling clean.
So without further ado, let’s dive into our top sustainable swaps for a zero-waste kitchen in 2022 – these will help you make the transition smooth and permanent.
Zero-Waste Kitchen Products
Alright – you’re in the process of setting up your home compost, and you’ve already begun planning how to reduce your food waste through storage and new shopping routines.
Now, to fully turn your kitchen zero waste, let’s take a look at those swaps – certain products in your kitchen have to go, and they need replacements that are recyclable, compostable, and reusable.
Below are our favorite swaps for a zero waste kitchen – products you’ll use often, and that will help you reduce your waste every single day.
Zero-Waste Food Shop
Let’s start off with that food shop – because weekly plastic bags are not part of a zero-waste kitchen.
These string bags are made from 100% cotton and lead-free dyes, and are a godsend during your weekly shop. They’re durable and flexible, and can fold so small you’ll hardly notice they’re there. Did we mention, fashionable? Check out the long-handle and short-handle ECOBAGS here!
These are the perfect reusable alternative to the grocery store’s produce bags. Made from 100% organic cotton, these meshbags are durable, with a drawstring design that keeps your fruits and veggies safe all the way home.
Zero-Waste Food Storage
Food storage is an essential part of a zero waste lifestyle. Storing food properly ensures it doesn’t go bad before you get a chance to eat it, and taking care of leftovers is a game changer – both for your wallet, and the planet.
That said, many of us use plastic film and boxes when taking care of leftovers, which is less than ideal. Here are our top products to help you store food the right way.
The Stasher silicone food bags are the ultimate swap for plastic bags. Made from durable, non-toxic silicone, they can go in the microwave, oven, and freezer without trouble – and can be used again and again. Even better, they’re leakproof, so no more messes in your fridge. Shop their Sandwich bag, Snack bag, Stand-up Mid bag, and Go bag here on Lochtree.
Quality storage boxes for food are essential for a functional zero waste kitchen. These lunchboxes are made from 100% stainless steel, are non-toxic, and dishwasher safe. Easy to stack and light to bring along – the perfect sustainable swap!
These are longstanding favorites in the zero waste community. Beeswax wraps are super versatile and 100% compostable, made from cotton and a non-toxic, anti-bacterial mix of beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. They are easy to clean and shape, and in difference to plastic film, they actually stay in place. They’re also available vegan.
Doing the dishes may be boring, but they need to get done nonetheless. With these products, you’ll at least feel the satisfaction of super-easy clean-up after dinner, without any harm done to the planet.
It works just like your regular dish brush, except better. Made from all-natural bamboo, metal wire, and agave fibers, these dish brushes are entirely biodegradable, and come with a detachable head that you can easily replace when it wears out.
Have tough grime that’s dried into plates, or cutlery? If your dish brush doesn’t do it, these coconut scourer pads will. They are made from coconut and tree rubber, which makes them naturally anti-bacterial and entirely compostable – not to mention durable and easy to clean. A must in a sustainable kitchen!
No dishes without suds – sustainable ones, of course. This dish soap bar is vegan and cruelty-free, made without palm oil, phosphate, sulfate, parabens, fragrance, or gluten – just natural ingredients that are tough on grease and kind on your skin. And it actually lathers!
To go with your dish soap bar is this soap shelf, designed to fit its size perfectly and to let it drain and dry between uses. It keeps the kitchen tidy and makes the soap last longer, and made from bamboo, it’s entirely biodegradable once you’re through with it – what’s not to like?
Zero-Waste Kitchen Cleaning
No one wants to cook in a dirty kitchen – and you don’t have to. Here are our favorite cleaning products for a zero-waste kitchen, making it easy to keep your counters fresh.
A dishcloth that’s compostable – and better than the ones you’re used to? Yes, it’s possible. These dishcloths are made from cellulose and cotton, and are so versatile around your home. They absorb liquid like a champ, and leave a streak-free, clean surface behind. A must in every zero-waste kitchen!
These tablets dissolve into water, quickly creating a non-toxic, brilliant all-purpose cleaning spray. 100% natural ingredients will keep your counters and appliances clean, without you ever having to worry about chemicals, palm oil, or plastic. A literal game-changer!
No kitchen counter is complete without hand wash – luckily, these hand soap tablets dissolve in water, creating a rich, sudsy hand wash that takes good care of your skin. It’s vegan and cruelty-free, as well as free from dyes, preservatives, palm oil, phthalates, parabens, and sulfates. Puh! In other words, the perfect zero waste alternative to store-bought hand wash.
Zero-Waste Drink Reusables
Finally – do you, like us, enjoy starting your day off with a hot beverage? If so, these staples likely find their homes in your kitchen. But waste can quickly build up, even from these tiny little habits. So, here’s how to keep your morning routine, the zero waste way.
A coffee sock is the zero waste way to make your morning java. Made from organic cotton, these filters are reusable and easy to clean – and they come in all shapes and forms, so you can use them no matter what coffeemaker you prefer.
All those teabags build up over time – and did you know that most of them contain plastic? Luckily, loose tea doesn’t have to be complicated. This tea infuser is made from stainless steel, with small, laser-cut holes that keep it shut and ensure that no tea leaves sneak into your cup. Just hot, delicious tea.
Like your bev on the go? Well, paper cups are a thing of the past. These reusable to-go cups are splash-proof and keep your drink hot on your journey. The thermal sleeve is BPA-free with an anti-slip grip, and the glass material means no residual flavor or bacteria lingers. We love them!
Drinking water is important, and it’s easy to do it the sustainable way. These reusable water bottles are made from 100% stainless steel, and the insulated design will keep your beverage hot for up to 12 hours – or chilled for 24 hours. Easy to clean and comes in 5 different colors!
There you go – our favorites zero waste products for the ultimate, dreamy kitchen. Have you tried any of these products? We love them all, and hope you will, too!
Are you looking for something specific for your zero waste kitchen that wasn’t mentioned? Shop our full range of zero waste products here!
Psst… Ready to tackle the next room on your zero waste journey? Check out our top swaps for a zero waste bathroom!