Tips for a zero waste kitchen

Tips for a zero waste kitchen

To preserve our planet, adopting anti-waste reflexes is within everyone’s reach. Because everything counts, even the little ones, why not start in the kitchen, where eliminating plastics, packaging and overconsumption of food is gradually becoming a new way of life?

Albert Einstein called out to us “The world will not be destroyed by those who do evil, but by those who look at it and do nothing”. It is time to answer him “I am doing myself good, while doing good to the planet”. And for this, small and large gestures are essential, even interdependent.

Gradually change your consumption habits, adopt new reflexes is a first step that more and more of us are taking. Starting with the reduction in the volume of our waste : 4 out of 10 consumers say they regularly or occasionally buy products in bulk *. However, this first step alone is insufficient.

To say goodbye to unnecessary packaging, and with it to plastic, but also to food waste, here are some tips that are easy to implement at home, especially in the kitchen.

Do you know the 5 R rule?

There are “gurus” for everything, in storage method (Marie Kondo), in lifestyle (Jane Fonda), in healthy and conscious food (Carlo Petrini) … Zero waste has its own with the French blogger. American Béa Johnson and her 5 R rule to minimize the impact of our waste.

  • Refuse all single-use products and favor bulk. Never buy a product that ends up in the trash. So I preserve the planet and my health.
  • Reduce your consumption of goods. Before any act of purchase ask the question: “do I really need it”?
  • Reuse everything that can be by repairing, for example, its household appliances (Envie, Repair café, etc.), and by favoring short circuits and second-hand ones.
  • Recycle anything you can’t reuser (after failing in a repair attempt, for example).
  • Make it to earth in composting all organic waste.

Empty your cupboards before filling them intelligently

If zero waste is your new philosophy of life, don’t rank vertically to make room! Start by emptying the cupboards and refrigerator, then sort everything you found there.

Pour your starchy foods, coffee, tea, sugar into airtight jars and mark the date with an erasable marker. Put them away again highlighting what you need to consume quickly, and finish using what you have before you restock.

Favor bulk shopping using fabric mini-bags to avoid plastic containers for example, and use a shopping cart or reusable shopping bags.

Replace your water packs with tap water (filtered or not). For this, favor the glass bottles, decanters and other gourds.

If you have too many fruits and vegetables, cook them then freeze them. You just need to take them out as soon as you need them. This is called “batch cooking”: you prepare your meals in advance and just have to take them out to reheat them.

Only cook what you need. Dose as closely as possible the amount needed. For example, for an adult, you need about 3 full tablespoons of lentils, half a glass for rice, a glass for pasta, or 5 small potatoes per person.

Sort, delete, replace

88% of French people say they know about actions to reduce the amount of household waste (source Ademe 2021). Still according to Ademe, the French claim that they also prefer to buy less packaged, that is to say in bulk, as soon as possible, to favor compost and above all not to waste. A good start, knowing that the National Pact against food waste aims to reduce excesses across the entire food chain by 50% by 2025.

To get started, nothing could be simpler. Start by sorting plastic bottles, disposable dishes, cling film and aluminum foil. Remove the packaging boxes and replace them with suitable containers such as glass jars (which you will find at Ikea, Le Parfait,, Luminarc …).

As for aluminum foil or cling film, there are more practical and hygienic solutions to replace them such as beeswax wrappers (Bee-wrap®, Byotibag®, ALBA).

Plastic tableware can be replaced by porcelain, earthenware that you will find at low prices in recycling shops, or resale like Emmaüs.

Reduce food waste

Limiting food waste and, at the same time, reducing waste, also involves a few simple actions here. To start with cook your leftover food so as not to throw away, for example. To inspire you, there are many anti-waste recipes that you will find in books, on blogs or on the Ademe website.

Another possibility: composting, or the art of transforming biodegradable waste in a natural way. Depending on the size of your home, you can either use a small bin provided by the town hall (some municipalities provide one for free, ask for more information), or buy one from a garden center. If you are lucky enough to have an exterior, the format can be larger. It is a gesture accessible to all wallets.

Adopt (or try) the Do It Yourself

To limit its consumption of packaging and plastic, manufacture certain products, such as household products for example, is another option. The Internet is full of “Do It Yourself” tutorials for the home.

You mainly need baking soda, vinegar, Marseille soap and essential oils. These products will serve you as well for the dishes as to clean up your kitchen, the interiors of the cupboards, the refrigerator and the sink …

To go a little further, also avoid disposable sponges and favor those that are washable and reusable. If you are fond of Japanese products, make a “tawahi”. It is an alternative to sponges. It is made from scraps of fabric from old clothes braided together. We wash and reuse endlessly.

Paper towels and paper towels also clutter our countertops and bins. Come back to the days of cloth napkins at table. They are more aesthetic, wash and use for years.

Also recycle your old fabrics, such as sheets, to give them a second life. Shop with tote bags or make them yourself. And do the same for wrapping your gifts or takeout. The Japanese use the “furoshiki”, a square of fabric that is used to transport things. As they say, to try it is to adopt it.

* source Nielsen study / Bulk Network-2021

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