Before I even heard of the term “zero waste,” I was making an effort to eliminate as much excess packaging and trash from our kitchen as possible. And then when I found out that it’s a whole movement? Well, that lit the fire even more!
While I’m not perfect–we still buy paper towels and rubber gloves for washing dishes–I’ve definitely gotten close to making my entire kitchen zero-waste. Here are some of my favorite zero-waste kitchen staples and how I use them.
IKEA Korken Jars // I had been a Weck jar loyalist until I discovered these, which don’t have that little metal clip part that you inevitably lose. They are super cheap, they come in a variety of sizes, and they look sweet in your pantry. (Also, they give you a good excuse to hit up IKEA.) I use these for storing dressings and sauces in the fridge and they also allow me to buy from the bulk bins at our co-op and store those foods in the pantry.
Under-Sink Compost Pail // Our city sells deeply discounted backyard compost bins (which is awesome because they are expensive elsewhere!), so we bought one of those and keep this little pail in the kitchen to collect scraps to take out to the yard. Since we’re members of a CSA, we go through a lot of produce, and it’s nice to be able to use the whole vegetable, either for food or for composting.
Bee’s Wrap // Bee’s Wrap is the bee’s knees when it comes to food storage. While I don’t use it for everything, it’s great for wrapping wedges of cheese, stray vegetable and fruit halves, and sandwiches for work and school lunches. If you don’t want to spring for the pre-made version, it’s also simple to make it yourself too.
Swedish Dish Cloths // Swedish dish cloths, y’all. You need these in your life. Not only are they super fun (look! a whale!), they also last longer than sponges, they’re totally multipurpose, and they can be composted when you’re done with them.
Cloth Napkins // Okay, confession: these aren’t actually napkins, they’re reusable baby wipes. The reusable baby wipe thing didn’t happen for us, so we repurposed these as napkins and since they’re flannel and not that usual stiff cloth napkin material, they work out so well. With kids, you go through a lot of napkins and these are softer on their little faces and you’ll save so much money by being able to throw them in the wash.
Want some more zero-waste kitchen tips? Over on Hello Glow, we’ve got a tutorial on how to regrow food from kitchen scraps, some simple zero-waste hacks anyone can implement, and a few more of our favorite green products.