10 ways to reduce waste in the kitchen

Now, this room is probably the largest waste-generator in the house, so there are MANY ways you can reduce the waste that gets put into your bin.  This list is certainly not limited to ten; there are many ways to get creative to reduce waste and costs.  Here is, after all, where food lives, and we all know the headache that is food packaging *vomits a little*.

  1. Rags, dishtowels, and cloth napkins: ditch the paper towels, and paper napkins, and use cloth instead.  This will save you money.  If you haven’t been gifted dish rags and towels for the kitchen (pretty sure that’s where I obtained ALL of mine), visit a second-hand store for thrifty reusables.
  2. No more cling-wrap: ewww cling-wrap… there are many ways you can store food and keep it fresh that does not involve this flimsy invention.  For example, you can invest in reusable beeswax wraps, or save the jars your food comes in and reuse as storage containers.  You can also cover a bowl with a small plate, or use a dish towel, etc.
  3. Dish detergent and dishwasher tabs: plastic bottles… plastic tubs… plastic-wrapped.  Do ANY of these just come in a cardboard box?!  Or glass?!  Nope.  You can refill dish detergent at Fullfill in Kimberley, or make your own dishwasher tabs with ingredients you already have.
  4. Cleaning basics: ditch the fancy cleaners that are “meant for” only one item, such as the stove.  Keep it simple with an all-purpose vinegar cleaner, and use baking soda as a scrubbing agent.  Easy does it.
  5. Befriend the bulk aisle: we are fortunate in the Kootenays to have so many places to purchase bulk items without packaging; spices, tea, coffee, nuts, pasta, rice, all baking supplies, sprinkles, beans, cookies, grains, need I go on?  Take some lightweight cloth bags to stock up at any grocery store, Nutter’s, Fullfill, or Bulk Barn; Bulk Barn also has a refill program, so bring any container or glass jar to weigh, fill, and pay, and they will subtract the weight of the container.
  6. DIY: there are many things you can make yourself to reduce your costs and waste output.  For example, think of some things in the fridge that you always have, like sour cream or bread, or things in your pantry, like granola bars.  These can be easily made yourself with few ingredients and no packaging.  Challenge yourself!
  7. Ditch the pods: please be a kind human being and ditch the coffee pods, unless it’s a reusable one.  FOR THE LOVE OF… (I have feelings about this).
  8. Food waste: OK.  This could be a whole post in itself.  Food waste is a global problem.  We waste more than one third of the food we produce, and household garbage is often made up of more than 30% organics.  My tips: do not buy more than you need or think you will be able to eat; keep near-expiring fruits and veg near the front of any drawers, or get a container labeled “MUST GO FIRST” so you can keep tabs; and don’t get too caught up on recipes: often times, these lead to food waste because we become afraid to stray from recipes to use up the food we have, and if it calls for an herb, these often come in big bundles when you will likely only need one table spoon.
  9. Garbage bags: I use paper bags that my bread comes in as garbage bags, or pet food bags that cannot be recycled, or cereal bags that my partner won’t go without.  You can also line pails with newspaper, or if you compost, it is likely your garbage won’t have a high “wet” content, so you can tip the dry contents into your pick-up bin outside.
  10. Conscious shopping: stop packaging from entering your home at the source: the store.  You can purchase ALL produce without plastic bags, and be conscious of over-packaged goods (i.e. instead of getting the 3 plastic pre-wrapped peppers, just grab three loose ones).  Processed food = packaging.  The fresher and cleaner you eat, the less packaging will result.  Make use of the bulk aisles, and stick to paper, cardboard, or glass packaging.  Paper and cardboard can be composted, or more easily recycled, and glass can be used as storage, or more easily recycled.

How have you made sustainable swaps in your kitchen?  What would you add?

In love and compost,





  1. Thank Nadine, great tips! You should contact the paper, E News etc. And get yourself a spot for a weekly column, if you haven’t already done this. This list should be shared with many😊👍

    On Tue, Apr 23, 2019 at 2:04 AM The Zero Journey wrote:

    > Nadine posted: “Now, this room is probably the largest waste-generator in > the house, so there are MANY ways you can reduce the waste that gets put > into your bin. This list is certainly not limited to ten; there are many > ways to get creative to reduce waste and costs. H” >


  2. Hi again, I meant ‘EKnow’. Also, would you be available sometime this week to come talk to my class? It’s Earth week at our school and what better person than you, to spread the message 😊


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s