Do you ever feel alarmed by how fast the garbage or recycling bin in your kitchen overflows? Let's look at some ways to keep those bins empty (or at least have them fill a lot less often).
Ditch the single-use leftover storage
Instead of plastic wrap or baggies, make or invest in some waxed fabric for wrapping up leftovers. Jars and reusable containers are a great choice as well! This is one of the best first steps toward cutting down on completely unnecessary plastic waste.
Bring your own takeout containers
This is something to do out of the house, that will reduce the waste in your home. Keep styrofoam, cardboard and plastic takeout containers out of your trash, recycling or compost by simply bringing your own reusable takeout container (any reusable food container will do the trick!).
Buy in bulk
Packaging waste is another huge trash output in the home! Skip it completely by buying bulk in reusable containers in the first place. More and more natural food stores and specifically bulk grocers are offering this option. You'll be shocked by how much this reduces your garbage week to week.
Use all your food scraps
The first step toward reducing food waste is taking a look at just what's going in the compost, trash or down the garbage disposal each week. Leftover grains like pasta or rice? The ends of bread loaves? Fruit and vegetable scraps? Uneaten leftovers? For leftover grains and uneaten leftovers, the answer is often to simply make less, though with some leftovers it's just a matter of freezing them before they go off. These make great lunches at school or work! For bits and pieces like bread ends and vegetable scraps, it usually just means getting creative. Take your search to the internet and you'll find recipes and ideas for ways to use those bits and pieces -- whether it's broth, croutons, or as ingredients in an unexpected recipe. You'd be surprised by how far scraps can go!
Hit up a farmers market
Farmers markets are the perfect place to find foods that have travelled a much shorter distance than your average grocery store item, and use reusable containers rather than plastic to bring it home. Aside from that, developing a relationship with your grower or producer feels really good!
Try canning and preserving
Not only can you reuse your jars (buy new snap lids each year though!), canning and preserving gives you a chance to use up garden produce and foraged goods, reducing your grocery bills and food waste. Chances are you can even find used Mason jars instead of buying new, reducing your footprint even further! Check yard sales and thrift shops.
Get a grease pencil
Sometimes called "China markers," grease pencils offer a simple way to label jars, glassware and metal. Labelled items in the fridge are more likely to get eaten rather than relegated to the back of the fridge where they will languish until they eventually need to be thrown out. The grease pencil also takes the place of a paper label, further reducing waste.
Get reusable produce bags
Keep the single use produce bags out of the garbage or recycling by taking them out of the picture completely. Gauze or mesh produce bags can be reused indefinitely. Trust us -- you won't miss the plastic!