Kitchen waste happens in most homes but we can make a few changes to our hectic domestic schedules that can make a difference. A sustainable kitchen can be achieved by thinking about how we manage the busiest part of the home.
Foodstuffs are biodegradable and can be easily composted to produce a rich crumbly soil improver to be used in the garden. Sending kitchen waste to landfill along with the general refuse effectively prevents it from breaking down due to the absence of air and beneficial bacteria within the compressed pile. The green waste will sit within the dump emitting methane gas, a major contributor to global warming and climate change.
It is very easy setting up a compost bin to make the most of kitchen scraps and leftovers. Collect stalks, skins, peelings and out of date organic items in a small, manageable kitchen bin which can transfer to your outdoor composter when you have the time. Paper and cardboard, if you choose not to recycle, can be added to the compost to balance the natural nitrogen and carbon mix.
If you don’t have the space to compost then use the brown bin waste collection provided by your local authority or refuse collector. This green waste is sent to a local composting facility for reuse in landscaping and garden projects.
When the time comes to replace your plastic kitchen utensils, think about using sustainable wood and bamboo alternatives. Bamboo is an endlessly renewable resource that grows naturally without the need for pesticides or fertilisers. It is often worked into bowls, spoons and spatulas and can be composted at the end of its usable life.
Steel and iron kitchen tools are made from sustainable materials and will outlive you although they will scratch and scrape non-stick surfaces.
Natural scrubbers for dishes, pots and pans are available which don’t rely on single-use plastic. Bamboo handles look smart and feel good in the hand while heads made from coir coconut husk make short work of stubborn stains and baked-on food. Dish brushes with replaceable heads save you throwing away a perfectly usable plastic handle when only the bristles are worn.
Natural, biodegradable sponges, grown organically for centuries, are more than capable of cleaning plates, chopping boards and work surfaces. Look out for sustainable or organic towels, cloths and wipes to replace plastic based products.
Try to use natural cleaning products that won’t harm sensitive skin or pollute water sources when flushed away. Many natural cleansers now use plant-based detergents and are softened with natural products like camomile or aloe vera while plant and fruit oils are extracted ethically to be used as fresh, citrus fragrances.
Store last night’s leftovers in storage jars and containers and pop them in the fridge for later. Use old jam jars to keep things fresh, closing the tops with reusable sealable caps. Food huggers have been designed to fit on cups and jars and larger ones can even be fitted directly over a bowl.
If you have paper or card to hand then wrap food with it rather than a foil or plastic film, it will stay fresh for just as long. Stockpile a selection of bottles and jars for pickles, jams and preserves, keeping a variety of sizes for whatever you fancy. That way food doesn’t go to waste and nether does the materials used to store it.
Wood, glass and metal are sustainable materials that can be recycled, all valuable resources that can help towards maintaining an environmentall friendly lifestyle. Making full use of what we have in the kitchen before disposing it goes a long way towards tackling the problems of food and kitchen waste while promoting a positive attitude when dealing with climate change.