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My Zero Waste Journey II: Kitchen

Welcome to week 2 of Zero Waste March! Today I want to talk about one of my favourite parts of my flat – the low impact/zero waste kitchen. Just this week I read that marine biologists have been finding plastic fibres in even the deepest ocean trenches (Jamieson et al. 2019). How terrifying that plastic enters the food chain even in the most remote environments on the planet, tendency increasing! Even more reason to move towards a zero waste lifestyle ♻️

Choosing zero waste kitchen equipment

Living by myself for the first time gave me the opportunity to equip my kitchen exactly how I wanted. So I decided to incorporate zero waste kitchen aspects from the beginning. By bringing my grandma’s plates and tea set, for example, I avoided buying new dishes. Plus they remind me of my grandma when I use them 😌 My mum also found a frying pan and some pots in the basement, so I’d say it’s definitely worth asking friends and family if they have any leftover equipment. Thrifting is also great! The kitchen tools I had to buy, like a spatula and cutting boards, are made from wood. It is not only a more environmentally friendly material but also has better anti-microbial properties than plastic (Aviat et al. 2016)! Another tip is to rediscover your kitchen towels: is there really something disposable kitchen roll can do that they can’t?

Zero Waste kitchen tools
Using kitchen tools made out of wood, cotton and ceramic instead of plastic makes the planet happy!

Zero waste bulk shopping

In every day life a zero waste kitchen is of course mainly concerned with reducing packaging. I was super stoked when I found out that the town I was moving to had a dedicated Zero Waste Shop! Buying only the bulk foods they stock (everything from oats and nuts to pasta, spices and bathroom supplies!) is definitely more hassle and expensive. But in the end it’s worth it for me. Also I find the storage jars – sourced from my grandma’s basement and food packaging – to be super aesthetic on my kitchen shelf .😁 I would also really recommend trying to make everything you can from scratch. For example, instead of buying nut butter, get the nuts in bulk, grind them down in a food processor and keep in reused glasses. It’s super easy and tastes better too! Generally leftover jars are perfect for everything – from utensil stands to leftover containers!

zero waste pantry
I love how my pantry looks with all my food staples from the zero waste shop!

Plastic-free fruits and veggies

The other big source of plastic waste in the kitchen is fruit and vegetables packaging. Why produce needs to be wrapped again, despite having a strong peel? You’ve probably seen the horrible pictures of single banana on a styrofoam board wrapped in cling film 🤦 Taking my own bags to the farmers market was the only way to cut down on unnecessary wrapping so far. But slowly even supermarkets are catching up and offering more package-free options here!

I also try to buy only seasonal and regional fruits and vegetables, but it is admittedly quite hard in winter. I’ve tried lots of new root vegetables and cabbages, but am really ready for more diverse summer fruits! Since the beginning of this year I’ve actually been getting my produce delivered. Every week I order ecologically grown, regional and packaging-free fruits and veggies from ÖkoMarkt Gemeinschaft. And on Monday they deliver everything to my house in reusable crates. It’s more expensive than in a regular grocery store, but so convenient and supports local farmers. 🌱 If you want to slowly get into the seasonal produce jam, there are many guides available on the internet specifically for your region. For example, Utopia has a cool overview of whats in season when in Germany. Why not print it off and hang in the kitchen as a reminder!

zero waste produce
I get regional, bio produce delivered weekly – and it’s not packaged!

Final tips

  • Try committing to a few changes at a time. Maybe try to pay attention to buying fruits and vegetables from your region first before also avoiding plastic packaging and trying to shop in bulk.
  • Accept that not all of these tips are attainable for yourself or somebody else. Not all places offer the same opportunities and you don’t have to feel bad about that. Your contributing your bit and that’s what counts!

Do you incorporate zero waste ideas into your kitchen? Do you have any tips? Let me know in the comments! And if you missed last week’s post about incorporating zero waste in the bathroom, you can read it here! Next week I want to talk about general zero waste household tips, so follow me on Instagram to find out when the post goes live!

Until then 🌎

Sources: Aviat, F., Gerhards, C., Rodriguez-Jerez, J., Michel, V., Bayon, I., Ismail, R. and Federighi, M. (2016). Microbial Safety of Wood in Contact with Food: A Review. Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, 15(3), pp.491-505. PDF here

Jamieson, A., Brooks, L., Reid, W., Piertney, S., Narayanaswamy, B. and Linley, T. (2019). Microplastics and synthetic particles ingested by deep-sea amphipods in six of the deepest marine ecosystems on Earth. Royal Society Open Science, 6(2), p.180667. journal article The Atlantic article

Disclaimer: This post is not sponsored or affiliated with any brands mentioned in the post or pictures in any way. I simply wanted to share products I use and love.

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