Making a change to a more sustainable lifestyle can be seemingly daunting and intimidating, but the kitchen is the easiest place to start! The kitchen is the best place to start to drastically reduce your waste because most of a household’s waste typically comes from the kitchen. Most people hear the word sustainable and are intrigued but scared of what these products will do to their wallet. Thankfully, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to become more sustainable – you may even end up saving money in the long run!
Here are some ways to easily make your kitchen more environmentally friendly!
Bring your own reusable bags to the supermarket. This is where that bag of bags we all have in a drawer at home can come in handy. If not, investing in a cute tote or the reusable bags offered at the grocery store can help save you from paying a fee for plastic bags – while also helping the earth! If you’re prone to forgetting the bags at home, you can leave a few in your car with you for those unplanned grocery trips. Also investing in small mesh produce bags make it easy to get rid of the multitude of plastic bags used to wrap the vegetables and fruit. You can find produce bags here. They typically come in sets for a variety of sizes, so that single apple you’re buying won’t get lost in a big bag!
Invest in glass containers. Glass containers can be more expensive, but it’s worth the extra cost. They tend to last longer than plastic ones and can help your food stay fresh for longer! Mason jars are an inexpensive option, but you can also find different sized sets here.
Compost. If you don’t already compost, you should start now! This can help reduce the amount of garbage getting thrown away but can also be good for your garden! Food scraps can be used to keep your soil healthy and help your plants grow big and strong! If you are not sure how or what to compost, a good guide can be found here.
Try to reduce or eliminate paper towel use. Invest in some kitchen towels and rags for cleaning up messes. You can re-purpose old or over-used cloths as rags. This can help reduce waste in your home! We would recommend getting a large quantity of dish towels and rags, as you don’t want to be running the laundry machine too often. If you can’t give up on paper towels completely, invest in paper towels made of recycled paper – yes they exist! Or make sure to compost your food-soiled paper towels once you're done with them.
Buy local when you can. There is an abundance of fruits and vegetables that grow in the summer, so there’s no better time to check out a farmer’s market or check for "BC grown" labels on your produce. By eating local, you’re reducing the amount of mileage required to get produce on your table, therefore helping reduce pollution.
Plan ahead. Write out a list before you get to the grocery store of what you really need for your meals and snacks, so you don’t get sidetracked or buy what you don't need. This will help you use all the food you buy and throw out less food. Make use of any extra food as leftovers for lunches or snacks through out the week!
Also take a look at the packaging on products – such as broccoli wrapped in plastic or broccoli without plastic? Try to go with the food without excessive packaging whenever possible.
Use reusable packaging. Everyone reaches for a plastic bag when you want to save the other half of your sandwich, but is that really the best option? Don’t fret – there are many other, more sustainable options out there! You can either stick with glass Tupperware or get reusable bags and wraps. These can be washed and reused, leading to less waste in the kitchen!
Make your coffee sustainable. If you’re using a Keurig or similar machine, there’s a way to stop throwing out a K-cup every morning with your coffee! You can get reusable K-cups here that you can fill with your favourite type of ground coffee. You can also invest in a reusable to-go coffee mug for when you’re in the rush in the mornings. Now your morning coffee is less wasteful!