4 VERY DOABLE THINGS YOU CAN DO TO REDUCE KITCHEN WASTE
Thank you OXO for sponsoring this post; all opinions are my own.
Looking to cultivate a more sustainable kitchen, cut back on single use plastics or reduce your food waste impact (yes, yes, yes to all of the above!)? Below you’ll find a collection of 4 very doable things that will allow you to do just that – lighthearted, but lasting lifestyle shifts meant to spark more. A lot of pressure? Remember, the goal isn’t perfection, but progress.
1. OPT FOR UNPACKAGED FOOD
While it can feel nearly impossible to leave a market package free – with endless aisles of our favorite snacks, proteins, produce, and everything in between pre-wrapped and ready to adorn our pantries and refrigerators- there are small steps we can take to opt for more unpackaged options.
Buy From Bulk: many grocery stores now offer bulk sections – big bins perfect for stocking up on nonperishables like dried grains, legumes, nuts, seeds, and fruits. Buying from bulk allows opportunity to purchase just what you need – reducing likelihood of food waste and often saving you money – and you can go packaging free while doing it. Instead of reaching for a paper or plastic bag at your shop, consider bringing your own jars or sacks instead (or even, reusing packaging from a previous purchase!). Just stop by customer service before you fill up, so they can tare your containers.
Whole Produce > Precut: instead of reaching for pre-cubed squash, a pre-shredded cabbage, or even baby carrot sticks, consider purchasing whole produce. A whole option is usually more fresh -who knows how long that sliced celery’s been sitting- and often comes package free. To extend the shelf life, keep stored in an OXO Green Saver – these Produce Keepers feature enhanced carbon filters that trap and absorb ethylene gas (as they sit, fruits and vegetables give off ethylene gas; ethylene gas speeds up the ripening process), while allowing proper airflow and humidity balance, so produce don’t perish before we have opportunity to eat them.
Get Cooking: this concept is often easier said than actualized – especially balancing busier workweeks, families, life- but opting for a homemade option, instead of a prepared meal or snack, will help reduce kitchen waste. A few favorite and very simple recipes include these Family Friendly Overnight Oats, Seed Butter Bites, and Oil Free Roasted Roots (each made entirely from package free and bulk section accessible ingredients).
2. PURCHASE WITH PURPOSE
Yes, it will take a few extra minutes of effort, but next time you’re planning on picking up or ordering groceries, put together a very detailed list of what you need. Specific staples, ingredients for a recipe, snacks, splurges. Keeping in mind there are only so many opportunities to eat in a day, and shelf life. Shopping with a plan allows you to purchase with purpose, so you’re less likely to snag unnecessary impulses that may go bad before you get to them.
Admittedly, it took Andrew and I years to fall into composting – we’ve had a longtime commitment to reducing our food waste and general environmental impact, but somehow still, the practice felt unintuitive, complicated, and intensive. Until it didn’t. Little did we realize composting could be as simple as welcoming a sleek little bin, like OXO’s Compost Bin, lined with a compostable trash bag, to our kitchen counter. Flipped open whenever we’re cooking, we use ours to collect inedible food scraps (we save edible for scrap stocks), those bits and pieces from onions or bananas or leftover bread that would otherwise end up in our trash can. Instead of throwing these food scraps away, contributing to unnecessary organic waste in landfills, composting reduces methane emissions, creates rich and natural fertilizers, and captures harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) from the air, aiding in carbon sequestration. So, where to begin?
Compostable Waste: (not limited to) vegetable scraps like onion peels, garlic skins, and squash rinds. Fruit scraps like grape stems, banana and orange peels, and lemon seeds. Grains like stale bread and unwanted rice or beans. Coffee beans and grounds, and filters. Loose leaf tea. Nuts and seeds. Egg shells. Herbs and spices.
Non-compostable Waste: Animal products, like butter and dairy, meat, and fat.