Trying to make a zero waste kitchen

Zero waste is all the rage right now. If you haven’t heard, it is all about reusing and minimizing the waste that goes into landfills. I am all about trying to be more environmentally friendly. Still, I am incredibly attached to things. While I am not ready to go all the way like this home, I figured I start with baby steps, going a room at a time. I figured the easiest place to start was my kitchen.

Here are some tips from zerowastehome and how I am addressing them.

1. Find alternatives to disposables such as paper towels, plastic sandwich bags, etc.

  • I’ve had cloth napkins for a while now
  • I sometimes use sandwich bags, but now I am making sure everything goes in tupperware. I know it is still plastic, but I have boatloads of it, mostly hand-me-downs from J’s parents. Seems more wasteful to throw it away and replace it. I’ll switch to glass when it breaks.
  • I cannot give up plastic trash liners just yet as my family is not the only one who uses kitchen garbage.

2. Buy in bulk or at the counter. Bring reusable containers.

  • Lucky for me, my co-op has a fabulous bulk section.

Soup mixes, sweets, fruit.

    Oil, honey, vinegar

    Spices and teas.

    Rice, pasta, flour, etc.

    Here is what my cupboards look like:

    3. Find a supplier or make it.

    • This is a bit trickier. I make my own humus 75% of the time. Right now we are buying soy milk, yogurt, and cheese. At this point, I do not have the time. Next summer I am going to start canning and making sourdough starter. I feel slightly guilty, but I have priorities, and right now making soy milk is not at the top of list.

    4. Shop at farmer’s market.

    • I go every once in a while, but it is more for fun. I can get eggs in bulk from my dad or the co-op. I’ve been recently buying humanely raised and slaughtered meat from the UCD Meatlab. I get some vegetables from garden and the rest from store, which labels where the food comes from (local, CA, USA, or international).

    5. Drink tap water.

    • I never drank bottle water so no big change there.

    6. Use bulk soap or make cleaning products.

    • I haven’t yet, but plan to refill as soon as soap runs out.

    7. Turn trash into compost keeper.

    • While I still have a large trashcan, I do have a compost storage.

    Isn’t it cute? I keep it in the fridge to reduce smell and cleaning. I’ve been composting for a while now, but didn’t get this container until about six months ago. It is a major upgrade. Now I throw everything in the compost instead of cheating because I am too lazy to walk outside.


    While I feel like I am doing a lot already, there is so much more I could be doing. Next up, a post on menu plan INCLUDING all the packaged items that can and cannot be recycled.


    About cookingcampus

    I'm a graduate student trying to stay happy and busy and pursue the things I love.
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    One Response to Trying to make a zero waste kitchen

    1. falselogic says:

      I think we’re off to a very good start! No point in comparing yourself to someone who has been doing this for four years, we’ve barely just begun and are already doing great!

      I do love the bulk section at our co-op though…

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