How to Avoid Waste in the Kitchen
One of the main contributors to waste production in any Australian household is kitchen waste. While food and garden waste alone make up almost half of household waste destined for New South Wales landfills1, it's not just food but overall kitchen waste that is a massive contributor. Everything from single-use plastic packaging and disposable kitchenware to low-quality cooking utensils and cleaning products. Luckily, there is always an alternative for everything and information about conscious consumption is readily available, so let's look at some of the most effective ways, how to reduce and avoid waste in the kitchen.
Reducing Food Waste
Australians throw away 3.1 million tonnes of edible food each year2 therefore tackling food waste is one of the best ways to reduce kitchen and household waste in general. Buying less and only sticking to what you actually need is a great way to start. Correctly storing fresh food items can greatly improve their lifespan, and using up leftovers not only save money but reduce waste.
Food items like leafy greens and carrots can quickly lose their crunch unless stored correctly and thus end up wasted. Wash vegetables after purchase and let them air-dry. Loosely wrap leafy greens in a kitchen towel and put them in the fridge. This allows them to breathe without creating condensate. Cut off carrot leaves (these draw moisture from the carrot) and place carrots in a container with water. This way the carrots will remain crunchy and you will be able to enjoy them for longer. Some vegetable scraps like broccoli stalks can be used in soups while others like potato peel can be thrown in compost.
From cookware to storage - many items in every kitchen aren't very long-lasting or recyclable for that matter. Many of us have grown used to things like aluminium foil, plastic cling wrap, plastic cooking utensils, disposable cleaning aids, and cheap non-stick pans. However, there are sustainable alternatives for everything and investing in higher quality kitchen products will not only cut waste but save money in the long run.
Replace plastic cling wrap with natural beeswax food covers made from 100% natural and organic ingredients. Beeswax wraps can be used for a year or more and recycled after since they compost.
Swap non-stick pans for a good quality cast iron pan. With proper care cast iron pans last a lifetime.
Metal or glass containers for leftovers will last longer than plastic and they don't stain. Jars are an excellent option as they are readily available and honey, jam and other jars can be upcycled as storage containers afterwards.
Swap plastic cooking utensils for wooden ones.
Eco-friendly dishwashing tools are made from wood and plant-based biodegradable bristles and thus can be recycled after extended use.