Three secrets to a zero waste kitchen
Plastic has become a huge problem for the world. We've read about the desperate situation recycling is in, as China refuses to take on any more of our trash. We have cried over the dead whales washing up on shore, their stomachs full of plastic, and watched YouTube videos of sea turtles having straws removed from their nose.
Yet the average American continues to make about 4.4 pounds of trash every day, and this cycle is repeated almost everywhere in the world. To make things worse, that plastic can freeze food waste from breaking down, causing biodegradable trash to stick around for much longer than it normally would.
The kitchen is the heart of the home, and also where much of our daily trash is produced. If you can take steps to reduce your waste in the kitchen, you can save thousands of pounds of trash from going into the dump over the course of a year.
If you're ready to get started, here are 3 ways you can make a tremendous difference in how much trash you generate.
Compost your food waste
The easiest way to reduce how much you throw away is to compost your kitchen waste. This can be as easy as tossing it in a far corner of your yard (minus meat and bones since they can attract rodents) or as complex as purchasing a rotating composter. Not only will you be keeping more waste out of the dump, compost can help prevent climate change by storing carbon in the soil instead of releasing it into the air like it might at a dump.
Buy in bulk
Many stores have a bulk food section where you can buy as much or as little as you want in plastic bags. You can keep a lot of plastic bags out of the dump by purchasing food from these bulk bins and storing them in reusable bags made for this purpose or even glass mason jars.
Tackle one-use items
Paper towels, zip lock bags, plastic wrap and paper plates are all part of most kitchens too. You can cut down on these things by switching them out one at a time for reusable alternatives. Rags are a great to use in place of paper towels, and bees wax bowl covers are a great biodegradable solution in place of plastic wrap.
Since there is a mind-boggling number of single-use items in the kitchen, don't sweat it if you can't replace everything all at once. If you choose just one area in the kitchen and focus on that, you'll still be removing hundreds or even thousands of pounds of waste over time.
Almost everything has a green solution, and even just removing a few of these things can help make a positive change for the environment. Our trash is a big problem for the planet, and by cleaning up after ourselves we can work together to make a better tomorrow. We may never reach zero waste or be able to fit all our trash in a single mason jar, but we can all be a little more mindful of what goes out of our kitchen.
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