Where to start Zero Waste
If you’ve decided you’re going to try and work towards a goal of Zero Waste but where do you start?
The Kitchen is a pretty good place to start.
Very few people will ever manage to be Zero Waste and that’s fine because if talking about Zero Waste makes people think about what they’re using, and everyone tries to make one or two small changes, the more the better, that’s a step in the right direction. Something is definitely better than Nothing in this case
The 5 Rs of Zero Waste
Think about the Zero Waste 5 Rs:
Refuse – Learn to say no! Say no to food wrapped in plastic, say no to that plastic straw.
Reduce – Think before you buy. If you switch to homemade natural cleaning products you only need some White Distilled Vinegar and Bicarbonate of Soda to cover most jobs link
Reuse – If things break, repair them or have them repaired. Upcycle items you would otherwise throw away, paint that old chair and give it a new lease of life. Buy second hand.
Recycle – If you’ve managed to Refuse, Reduce and Reuse then you shouldn’t have a lot left but make sure you separate out your remaining rubbish and put the recycleable rubbish in the recycling bin.
Rot – Compost your food waste and use it to fertilise your plants and many grow a few veggies or salad leaves of your own.
5 Ways to start your Zero Waste Journey in the Kitchen
1. Stop using Cling Film and Sandwich Bags
Have you ever thought about how much waste is generated from wrapping kids lunch sandwiches in cling film or disposable sandwich bags. There are almost 200 lunchtimes in a school year. If even half of Britain’s 8.2m schoolchildren take sandwiches to school that’s a lot of waste to generate , and doesn’t even take into account the adults who may do the same.
If you want to find alternatives take a look at my Blog on Alternatives to Cling Film
2. Switch to homemade natural cleaning products
When I was little I spent a lot of time with my Nan and I always remember her using things like vinegar and scrunched up newspaper to clean the windows and bicarbonate of soda and lemon juice to clean things.
I do still use some shop bought cleaning products, but I do try to buy environmentally friendly ones where possible. However, I also still use a lot of the things my Nan used as they actually work really well; and quite often better than the shop bought equivalents.
Here are my Top 5 ingredients and how to use them Homemade Natural Cleaning Products
3. Buy in Bulk
If you buy things in bulk and store in old glass jars etc, not only will you be saving on unnecessary packaging you are also likely to find that you save yourself some money.
4. Shop with reusable bags or containers
It’s easy to take your own non plastic bag or reusable container to the supermarket to put your loose vegetables etc in, which means no single use plastic.
Even better why not go to your local Farm Shop.
Our local Farm Shop, Q Gardens in Oxfordshire, are doing their bit to help reduce waste. Take a quick look at their Facebook Page to see what they’ve been doing Q Gardens – Doing Our Bit
And, you may want to consider having your milk delivered in a glass bottle by your local friendly milkman. Glass bottles are reusable. Glass bottles used for milk deliveries are collected, washed and reused on average 50 times, so that makes them much more environmentally friendly than single use plastic bottles.
Did you know Up to 60% of your household rubbish could be composted!
Do you know why you should compost?
This is what WRAP (Waste and Resources Action Programme) has to say:
Research by WRAP shows that in the UK we are throwing away about one quarter of the food we buy, most of which could have been eaten. In effect, for every four bags of shopping we bring home, we put one straight into the bin.
Sending food waste to landfill is not only wasteful and expensive, but also produces emissions of methane as anaerobic bacteria break down the compressed waste. Methane is a potent greenhouse gas which, molecule for molecule over a century, traps 30 times more of the sun’s heat in the atmosphere than carbon dioxide.
Firstly, we shouldn’t be wasting so much food and we need to understand why we are and make changes to stop it.
Secondly home composting transforms your kitchen and garden waste as well as small amounts of paper and card into a nutrient rich food for your garden. It’s easy to make and use. All you need to get started is a compost bin and some outdoor space
If you want to know more about how to compost check out BBC tips on Composting Food Waste
I hope this has given you some ideas on where to start on your Zero Waste Journey in the Kitchen.
And if you want to more ideas on how to ditch the plastic take a look at my Blog on How To Reduce Plastic Waste