It’s one of the areas we spend the most time in and as such, it’s a place were we can make a big impact with only a few small habitual changes.
Find 14 easy ways to ‘go green’ in your kitchen below.
- Use wax wraps instead of plastic wrap
This is my favourite way to cover bowls of leftovers, blocks of cheese, and sandwiches. The warmth of your hands molds the cloth over the item and it seals within seconds. Plus beeswax makes the cloth slightly antibacterial and smell nice.
They can be reused multiple times and last 6-12 months. Well loved wraps can also be revived by following the steps in this video.
To find them, check out markets, bulk food stores, whole food stores, and Australian online shops such as Biome or Bee Wrappy. If you’re really sustainably minded you can also make your own from scrap material, check out this tutorial.
If wax wraps aren’t your thing, Agreena sells food grade silicone sheets that can be washed, reused, and eventually recycled. Again check out Biome for these.
2. Use Tupperware and mason jars
Another way to aviod plastic wrap and zip lock bags is to use containers and mason jars for leftovers, lunches, and snacks. These are great for safe and unsquisable transportation or storage.
3. Drink loose leaf tea and avoid coffee pods
Unfortunately some tea bags contain plastic which means they can’t go in the compost, and we all know plastic coffee pods are quickly filling up our landfills. (See our episode on coffee pods here.) This makes loose leaf tea and instant coffee an alternative that is green, compostable, and (in my oppinion) better tasting.
Buy in bulk to reduce waste from packaging, and choose a tea strainer that is plastic-free to be even more enviornmentally friendly.
4. Use plastic-free compostable dish washing brushes, and reusable kitchen cloths
Plastic scrubbing brushes and sponges both contribute to the plastic content of our landfill. Alternatively, consider using a compostable bamboo brush and a reusable cloth to go zero-waste on your dish cleaning regime.
They’re very affordable (especially if you use old material for the dish cloth), and last a helluva lot longer. Check out our affiliate Biome for a range of both items.
5. Dry your fruit and veg with a clean tea towel
Instead of wasting single use paper towels, dry freshly washed fruit and veg with a clean tea towel – it’s hygienic and cost effective. It was embarrassing how long it took me to figure this out!
6. Use environmentally friendly dishwashing liquid and multipurpose cleaners
Grey water safe, cruelty free, and plant based cleaning products are getting easier to find. We’ve noticed the following environmentally conscious brands appearing in most supermarkets recently:
7. Keep cup
Unfortunately most takeaway coffee cups are not recyclable, so ensure you never have to use one by purchasing a few and strategically storing them in your car, your office, and your home.
Most cafes are happy to accept these now and some even provide discounts for using them.
8. Get creative to use food that’s about to go off
Avoid food waste by checking for nearly expired food regularly. To make it easy for yourself, a small cardboard box labelled ‘Eat me first’ can be your visual reminder in the fridge or pantry.
Smoothies and juice are always a great way to use fruit and veg, while meat can be cooked and then frozen to both meal prep and reduce waste at the same time. If you get stuck, Google is always on hand to find recipes with odd ingredients.
9. Buy from bulk food stores and avoid buying plastic packaged foods
Foods available at these stores are stored in large bulk containers that require you to self-serve. They usually include: pasta, lentils, cereals, nuts, seeds, and dried fruits. It’s not a one-stop shop for food, but it’s an excellent start to reducing plastic packaging waste, plus you are able to gather the perfect quantity for your lifestyle.
Step 1) Bring a set of Tupperware, mason jars, or reusable bags, to put food in.
Step 2) Weigh your containers when you arrive and mark the weight on the jar (a marker is usually provided).
Step 3) Fill, pay, enjoy.
For a list of bulk food stores in Australia see here. If there isn’t one near you try and find one on your way to work, the gym, your mums house or any other frequently visited location.
10. Consider reducing your meat intake
Reducing meat helps to minimise the impact of farming on land, and the amount of greenhouse gasses produced in the process.
Meatless Mondays is a great place to start, and in the future… maybe just Meat Mondays.
11. Compost your food scraps
Food scraps (and other organic material) that enter landfill produce methane and carbon dioxide upon decomposition. If you don’t have a garden to fit a compost bin, consider a worm farm as these can fit under your sink or on your balcony. Another compact alternative is a Bokashi bucket. These are airtight (no smells!) and fit under the sink to produce a nutrient rich liquid for fertilising your garden.
Apartment dwellers can check out more space efficient composting ideas here.
Conveniently, some councils have also started accepting food waste (including meat and diary) in their green waste bins (e.g., Glen Eira in Melbourne). Be sure to check with your council.
12. Cook more energy efficiently
I rarely fill the kettle to the top or wait for the oven to preheat. Forming new habits with the following tips can help reduce your energy use:
- Thaw food in the fridge instead of defrosting in the microwave
- Fill the kettle with only as much water as you need
- Keep the lid on pots cooking over the stove top where possible
- Don’t preheat the oven unless absolutely necessary
- Fill the oven with food when you do use it (freeze what you don’t need for later)
- Use a toaster instead of the grill to toast bread
13. Recycle soft plastics
As well as cardboard and paper recycling, keep a bin at home for soft plastics. These can be recycled at Coles and Woolworths RedCycle bins next time you pick up your groceries. (Empty food packets can still smell a little, so consider choosing a bin with a lid on it.)
Examples of soft plastics that can be recycled are:
- Bread bags
- Rice and pasta bags
- Cereal packets
- Toilet paper plastic wrapping
- Frozen food and veggie bags
- Plastic bags
Find a comprehensive list here.
14. Grow your own herbs and veggies
The most organic, ethically sourced, and carbon neutral herbs and veggies are grown at home. Even if you’re tight on space, these edible gardens can be tailored to a window sill, balcony, external wall, or a single square foot of yard – check out this article for some inpriation and ideas.