Did you know the average Canadian consumer throws out 170 kilograms of food a year (source: CBC)? 170 kilograms. Of just food waste. That’s basically like tossing a quarter of your groceries directly into the trash after you buy them. That number is really scary. Then think about the non-food waste you also produce, from takeout food, individually wrapped snacks, plastic produce bags, empty bottles, plastic wrap, halloween candy…yikes. All that junk just sitting in a landfill, leaching chemicals into our groundwater, producing methane gas in our air, adding micoplastics into the ocean, keeping our bodies from rotting when we die…AH. It’s enough to give me a panic attack.
Take a breath. Here’s a few products + tips that keep me from going off the deep end when it comes to kitchen waste.
Super trendy right now, wax wrap is a replacement for saran/cling/cellophane wrap. Made from a durable cotton coated in beeswax, resin, and usually an antibacterial essential oils, Wax Wraps can be used to wrap almost anything. Easy to wash in cool water, these durable clothes will save your kitchen from evil plastic bags & saran wrap. After it’s lifetime of around 150 washes, the natural material can be composted (or used as a natural firestarter, as recommended by Bee’s Wrap). Dude. Awesome.
Reusable Bowl Covers & Snack Bags
Another alternative to wax wrap is the bowl cover (like these cuties from Simons). Basically it’s a piece of cotton lined with a water resistant fabric, complete with an elastic edge to stretch over your dishes! My mom got me a set of bowl covers a few years ago and I love them. There are also now reusable snack bags from the same collection, which I have not personally used but I’m guessing are the same quality/composition as the bowl covers. They are machine washable and super durable (definitely more heavy-duty than wax wrap). Con - the lining is made of *gulp* polyurethane. Hey, we gotta pick our battles.
Glass Containers & Metal Straws
Have you ever bought a jar of jam? Dope, you just got a freebie! When the jam is gone, wash that puppy out, remove the label with a drop of citrus essential oil (tip from my dear friend Andrea of The Nourished Fireside) and you have a great glass jar to use and reuse again. Or if you’re super boujee you can buy some real fancy jars. Want to look like even more of a hippie? Take things a step further and throw a metal reusable straw into your mason jar iced coffee. Yes, queen, you are a green machine.
Overwhelmed & need to start small? Try out a few of these quick & dirty tips.
Save food ‘waste’ for making soups (ie celery leafy bits, parmesan cheese rind, chicken bones, carrot tops).
Shop in bulk for drygood items (nuts, dried fruit, powdered bullion, pasta, legumes) and bring your own reusable container to the store to fill up.
Buy smaller quantities of perishable food items and consume them before they go bad.
Make your own "little extras" that often come with single-use waste (like taco seasoning, mac & cheese sauce, and granola bars).
Use cloth napkins over disposable paper ones that usually come in a plastic film.
Switch your regular cleaning product for a diluted cleaning vinegar (I use apple cider, but your options are limitless). Your countertops will thank you!
There are so many ways to green up your kitchen. Let me know your favourite tips in the comments!