Over ⅓ of all food produced globally goes to waste, with more than 900 million tonnes of food thrown away every year according to a global report. Likewise, The UK alone generates more than two million metric tons of plastic packaging waste each year — and our kitchens are one of the biggest culprits. Although is no simple method to eliminate all kitchen waste, there are steps you can take to reduce it.
To reduce waste in the kitchen,
- Plan meals in advance.
- Use alternatives to disposable food storage.
- Purchase conscious pantry goods.
- Invest in appliances that last.
- Switch to plastic-free kitchenware.
- Clean with sustainable alternatives.
1. Plan Meals in Advance
Planning your meals in advance can save heaps of food waste. Go to the supermarket with a plan, and buy only what you know will get eaten.
Cooking meals in bulk and freezing them to be enjoyed at a later date is also a great way to make the most of the food you've brought — not to mention that it's super convenient.
If you do need a last minute dinner or treat, the Too Good to Go app lets you buy and collect fresh (and delicious!) food from cafes, restaurants, hotels, shops and manufacturers that would otherwise be wasted because it hasn't been brought.
Unwanted food scraps? Composting can reduce your waste in the kitchen by up to 30% and can add valuable nutrients to your garden soil.
2. Use Alternatives to Disposable Food Storage
Cling film, foil and plastic bags are a thing of the past! Invest in reusable vegan food wax wraps to keep your food protected, and store your loose fruit and vegetables in an organic product bag instead. Silicone lids can convert bowls into leak-proof containers, and airtight, leak-proof silicone bags are a wonderful way to store and freeze food.
Make sure to reuse takeaway containers too! Whether it's for storing leftovers or meal prep, these once single-use containers can be repurposed for your convenience.
3. Purchase Conscious Pantry Goods
Sustainably-sourced food and drink is a simple way to cut back on waste in your kitchen. Switch to low (or no) waste chocolate and sweets for your treats, and consider plastic-free tea and coffee instead of your regular cuppa.
You can also visit your local zero waste store to stock up on bulk goods, like pasta and rice, to cut back on supermarket trips (where the essentials aren't often sustainable). Less trips will reduce your carbon emissions, and zero-waste produce will reduce your plastic waste.
4. Invest in Appliances that Last
Invest in smart and energy-efficient appliances that last. This will be better for the planet, but also for your pocket. According to Which?, the least efficient appliances would add £490 a year to your energy bills, but choosing the most efficient would cut this down to just £154.
5. Switch to Plastic-Free Kitchenware
This is the place where we first began reducing our waste. Switching to sustainable and plastic-free kitchenware is better for the environment, and creates a more positive space for you to cook and clean.
This starts with simple swaps. Ditch your single-use sponges for biodegradable sponges and coconut scouring pads, and your plastic brushes for a biodegradable one instead. Consider a washing up bar, instead of the liquid that comes in a plastic bottle (and never lasts as long as you'd like!), and store it in a naturally antibacterial dish. You'll get a better quality clean, without the waste.
6. Clean with Sustainable Alternatives
This goes for your cleaning products too. Lots of the cleaning products that we use to clean our kitchens will contain plastic, as well as toxic and harmful chemicals that aren't good for humans (or the planet). So, put on your natural latex rubber gloves, grab your compostable cloths and refillable cleaners, and reap the benefits of a clean that is as effective as it is sustainable.
For more advice on a sustainable clean, or on going no or low waste, check out our 'Eco-Friendly Cleaning Tips', 'How to Go Plastic-Free in the Bathroom' and 'How to Reduce Plastic Waste in the Office' posts.
We are Authentic House, an online plastic free shop based in Wales, helping you to create a more eco-friendly home. We support small, ethical businesses like us wherever we can, and we work closely with makers to create our own products. All the products you'll find in our shop or boxes are plastic free or minimal waste. We source recycled and easily recyclable packaging for our products, and plant a tree for every order. Find out more here.