In 2017, a New York Times post estimated that humans throw out around a third of all the food that is grown. Food waste occurs at every step of the food supply process, from processing to transporting. It also occurs in stores and on shelves.
Worse yet, even when food does make it to households, a good portion of still often goes to waste due to spoilage and overbuying.
While food is a big thing that goes to waste in the average kitchen, it isn’t the only item. Plastic packaging and paper products also result in waste.
While some factors are outside of your control, there are certain steps you can take to do your part for the environment. Check out these 5 ways to reduce overall waste in your kitchen.
Buy essential food items like canned goods and rice in bulk. By purchasing in bulk, you will be cutting down on unnecessary plastic packaging, which is great news for the planet’s landfills.
While buying in bulk can help you save on packaging, make sure not to overbuy. Doing so can create superfluous food waste, which is exactly what you should be trying to avoid.
When you’re out shopping at the grocery store, bring your reusable bags. Refuse plastic bags whenever you can. If you don’t have another option, be sure to take them home with you and repurpose them as trash bags.
Create Recycling Containers
If you don’t have a plan established, it may be difficult to stick to your recycling goals. Create easily accessible containers in your kitchen for recyclable goods like glass, paper, cardboard, and certain plastics.
Some items that aren’t as obvious can be recycled as well. For example, cartons used to package milk, broth, wine, and juice can and should be recycled. If you are unsure if an item is recyclable, look it up to ensure you aren’t throwing away something that can be used.
Store Leftovers in Reusable Containers
Reusable containers are much more practical than plastic Ziploc bags. Check out Homelux Theory’s Silicone Food Storage Bags (Now on sale). These containers are reusable and dishwasher safe. They eliminate the need for wasteful plastic bags. They also offer incredible versatility, as you can store them in the freezer or use them to warm up food in the oven. Plus, they do a much better job of keeping leftovers fresh and ready to consume.
Barter Excess Food You Have
If you have extra herbs or fruit that you won’t use before they expire, don’t throw them away. If possible, even try to avoid composting them. Instead, barter them for excess food.
You can make a trade with a neighbor for something you do need, like eggs or a pot of homemade stew. You never know who could get use out of your excess food items, so always try to barter it before getting rid of it.
Stop Using Paper Towels
Stop buying paper towels altogether. Instead, invest in some cloth dishtowels. You can purchase new ones outright or turn old sheets or towels into dishcloths. These items can last for years, as they can be thrown in the washer for when they need to be cleaned.
According to DURAFRESH, producing paper towels consumes 130 billion gallons of water and 110 million trees. By purchasing a few cloth dish towels as an alternative to wasteful paper towels, you will be doing the environment a huge flavor. Plus, it’s very cost-efficient.
You can take a lot of initiative to reduce food and general waste in your own kitchen. Getting creative with these tips is a great way to help the environment and save yourself some money in the long run!