5 Easy Swaps for a Zero Waste Kitchen

This is going to be a pretty short blog post! I just wanted to share five easy zero waste kitchen swaps - ones that are great for beginners.

I’m trying to write short blog posts to accompany all of my YouTube video. Assuming I don’t already have an existing blog post for the YouTube video to go into, you can find these posts on Wednesday.

Speaking of which, if you haven’t check out my YouTube channel… what are you waiting for? Head on over and subscribe!

5 Easy Swaps for a Zero Waste Kitchen from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #kitchen #ecofriendly

Without further ado here are five things that I use in my kitchen ALL the time!

Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information please see my disclosure policy.

1. french press:

It should come as no surprise that I LOVE my french press. I use it every single day. I use it to make tea, but if my husband wants coffee we can make that too.

And, spoiler alert… you can actually use your french press to strain your nut milk. Say goodbye to messy nut milk bags and HELLO to your french press.

I have a Bodum french press with a glass base and couldn’t be happier.

frenchpress.jpg

2. snapware:

It should also come as no surprise to you that I LOVE my snapware. This was a zero waste swap that I wish I had made sooner.

I waited about a year before getting my glass snapware and it has revolutionized leftover food storage.

It’s so much easier to heat up and eat leftovers from snapware than in mason jars.

I use them to freeze leftovers, or pre-make things like casseroles that can be heated up at a later time. They’re also great to carry lunches to work.

The snapware containers can even be put in the oven, so it’s really a multifunctional addition to my kitchen that I couldn’t imagine not having.

I know that the lids are plastic, but I’ve had my snapware set for three years now, and I haven’t had an issue with the lids breaking. I do handwash my lids though and try avoid putting them in the dishwasher.

Check out this post if you’re looking for Zero Waste Dishwashing Tips.

snapware.jpg

3. mason jars:

Alright, I mean do I love mason jars more than snapware? I don’t know…. I do know that while I don’t love storing all my leftovers and lunch in mason jars I do love it for the pantry!

Of course, they’re also the ideal form of liquid storage i.e. nut milk, smoothies (did you know you can freeze smoothies?)

Having a clear, glass, non-branded container in my pantry allows me to see what foods need to be eaten and which ones I need to buy more of. It makes cooking meals faster, simpler, and most importantly PRETTIER. I mean there’s a reason everyone loves a pinterest perfect pantry!

Of course, you don’t have to go out and buy mason jars, you can upcycle them from many of the jars you already own like mustard jars, jam jars, pasta sauce etc.

And, I promise your pantry will look just as beautiful even if the jars don’t match!

4. compostable dish scrubs:

Did you know you’re supposed to toss your sponges after only two weeks! That adds up to a lot of unnecessary waste. It can also be pretty spendy.

Instead, why not opt for something like a compostable dish scrub? These bamboo scrubs can be composted at the end of their lives and last for years. My bamboo dish scrubs last on average 1.5 years, and i think that’s awesome.

5. beeswax wraps:

The last item in our quick rundown of easy zero waste swaps… the beeswax wraps. As a fair warning: Nala LOVES to eat beeswax wraps. She has eaten every set I’ve ever owned… except one!

I do love them to wrap up sandwiches and to wrap up plates/bowls of leftovers.

I have these organic cotton wraps from bumblebee wrap and I really like them!

beeswaxwraps.jpg

What are your favorite zero waste swaps you’ve made in your kitchen?

 
5 Easy Swaps for an Eco Friendly Kitchen from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #kitchen #ecofriendly
 

8 Ways to Store Leftovers Without Plastic

As Thanksgiving approaches, I’m sure we all have one thing on our minds… leftovers.

Oh, wait - You said, “Gratitude”? Well, ya know, I’m pretty gosh darn thankful for soooo much food that results in lots of leftovers.

8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftovers

The week after Thanksgiving is the best. Plates are piled high, full of mashed potatoes, stuffing, and of course gravy! My mouth is already watering.

I’ve hosted Thanksgiving for the last four year now, and I LOVE it! I love waking up early to set the table, chopping veggies while watching the parade on TV, and then sitting down to a delicious meal.

You can get my entire Zero Waste Thanksgiving Meal Plan!

I find Thanksgiving is pretty easy to keep zero waste if you focus on lots of fresh, local produce. The problems don’t start to arise until after the meal is over…. how on earth are we going to store all of the leftovers!? EEK!

Even more of a conundrum…. how are we going to send home leftovers?

Whether you’re attending a Thanksgiving Dinner or you’re the host, I’ve got some tips for you!

1. serve in your mixing bowls:

If you're hosting. Think about serving the food in mixing bowls with lids. I have this set of four glass mixing bowls with lids*.

The mixing bowls are simple glass bowls so they’re perfect for serving and storing. They seamlessly move from preparing food to serving food and then storing all your leftovers.

They're aesthetically pleasing and can pass for serving dishes, unlike many other mixing bowls.

I try to place all of my leftovers in glass containers so I can see what’s inside. If I store leftovers in containers where I can’t see what’s inside, I tend to forget about it and let the food go bad.

2. snapware:

It's no surprise that I love my pyrex snapware containers!* I talk about them all the time, and I use this set daily.

Snapware is just incredibly functional. They're freezer and oven safe giving you a myriad of options. They're leak proof so I can easily take lunch with me on-the-go or get takeout without creating any waste.

8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftovers

3. tiffins:

I LOVE my tiffins, but they’re not the most ideal for storing leftovers because you can’t see what’s inside of them. However, when Thanksgiving rolls around it’s time to break out the BIG tiffins.

When I see these tiffins, I know there’s leftovers or takeout inside. It’s a four tiered tiffin* perfect for parties, leftovers, takeout, or even a large lunch!

8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftoverfood

4. if it’s got a lid:

It really doesn't get much easier than putting the lid on it.

If you've been cooking anything in a pot and have some leftover, just plop that lid right on the pot and store it in the fridge. I’ve even stored leftovers in my crockpot and salad spinner.

If it’s got a lid, it’s liable to become food storage.

5. beeswax wraps:

You know when you load up a plate full of leftover goodies, but you just can’t finish? So, you put plastic wrap over the plate and put it in the fridge to heat up at a later time?

Nix the plastic wrap and cover it with a beeswax wrap*! You can rinse the beeswax wrap and re-use it over and over again.

Beeswax wraps also work great for wrapping up leftover bread or covering large pie dishes.

6. put a plate over it:

If you have a bowl, you can place a plate over it and it acts just like a lid! Voila! It’s an instant and easy way to store small portions of leftovers.

8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftovers

7. silicone bags:

I have a drawer full of Stasher bags* and I especially love them for the freezer since they lay flat unlike mason jars.

The bags work great for storing leftovers like rolls or roasted veggies. While you could put mashed potatoes or gravy inside, I’d probably save that for a jar unless you were going to be freezing it.

8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftovers

8. you’ve been hoarding mason jars for a reason:

Mason jars* have to be the handiest of all kitchen items. I use them for everything!
8 ways to store leftovers without plastic from www.goingzerowaste.com #zerowaste #plasticfree #leftovers

They’re inexpensive, stackable, microwaveable, are leak proof, and they’re pretty easy to find second hand/come with food you might buy anyways like salsa or pasta sauce.

RELATED: 13 Unexpected Uses for a Mason Jar

I store a lot of my leftovers in mason jars because they’re so easy to come by. During the year I save all of the glass jars I get when grocery shopping to send leftovers home with people.

If you’re afraid you won’t have enough, you can always call your friends and family and ask them to bring a tupperware container or two to your house to load up on leftovers when the party is over.

If you’re a guest, then maybe stash one or two leftover containers in your bag or in your car. I personally, love this nesting set!

What are some of your favorite ways to store leftovers? 

This post contains affiliate linking. It's denoted with an asterisk. This means if you choose to purchase one of these items I will make a slight commission for referring you. You can read more on my disclosure page

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden

Now that I live in a home with windows, I’ve become the plant lady I’ve always dreamed about being.

I spend my weekends collecting new plant babes, watering them, and watching them flourish in our well lit, sunny home.

For those of you not understanding my references to natural light and windows, check out my failed tiny home living experiment. We only had three windows so plant babes were not able to survive.

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

Not having plants was really making me sad. When we moved, I actually threw a House Greening Party.

A House Greening Party is when you ask all of your guests to bring you a new house plant to christen your new place. You can read more about my zero waste house warming/greening party. It’s full of zero waste party tips!

In addition to all of my new plant friends, which I most definitely name, I bought several herbs from the local nursery.

It’s super cool because the plants come in compostable pots! They’re not the traditional plastic pots.

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

However, if you wind up with some of the plastic pots, you can always return them to the nursery where they’ll typically reuse them.

Some of my herbs survived and some did not. To be honest, I don’t have a green thumb. This is my third time delving into the world of edible gardens and I have to say - third time is the charm!

I say this because no matter how you feel about your gardening skills, I want you to give it a try. You don’t have to be perfect. You might kill some plants but having an edible windowsill garden is awesome for several reasons.

  1. You no longer have to buy expensive plastic clamshells full of herbs.

  2. You can save money by eating food you’ve grown!

  3. You can save carbon miles by eating what’s in your backyard.

  4. It’s so tasty, rewarding, and makes you happy!

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

So, it’s better for the planet, better for the tastebuds, better for the wallet, and better for your mental and emotional well-being.

I’d say that’s a win-win-win-win-win. Probably, the biggest string of wins on this blog.

Now, I’ve picked up herbs, and I’ve also completely regrown my food scraps! Yes, you can regrow your food scraps.

Check out my story highlight called lettuce and you can watch how I go from inedible lettuce stalks to having lettuce on tap forever in just 28 days.

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

planting herbs:

Here’s some herbs that do really well on the windowsill.

  1. basil

  2. lavender

  3. mint

  4. parsley

  5. rosemary

  6. thyme

Notice there are several herbs not on this list like cilantro and oregano. I have tried to go several of these on my windowsill and failed. They don’t do super will in small pots indoors.

Plants like basil will let you know when they’re thirsty. They start to wilt, then you water and they perk right back up! The pots don’t need to be too big, just make sure that they have drainage.

I’ve found that my herbs like to be watered much more frequently than my house plants just make sure that they’re not sitting in water.

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

regrowing scraps:

  1. lettuce

  2. celery

  3. green onions

You can regrow a lot of other scraps, but I find that these work best for the windowsill! I’ve heard that you can grow lemons from lemon seeds, but I’m not sure if the fruit. I know that growing a plant from the avocado plant is popular, but I’ve heard that they won’t bear fruit.

When regrowing scraps, you need to first start them in a cup of water. Make sure that the cup of water is changed every day or every other day.

The cup doesn’t have to be completely full. You just need enough water for the base of the plant to be in about an inch.

The scraps will start to regrow and once the roots sprout, you can transfer to a pot of soil. Just make sure the pot has drainage! If it doesn’t, you’re plants will probably die. I learned this the hard way….

additions to my garden:

The one thing that I’d really like to add to my windowsill garden is a big ol’ pot of spinach! It’s pretty easy to grow indoors with a shallow and wide pot.

How to Grow an Edible Windowsill Garden from www.goingzerowaste.com

I will keep you up-to-date on my windowsill garden progress, and I really, really hope that you feel empowered to give one a try too!

If you do, please let me know. You can tag me @going.zero.waste on instagram.

If you’re killing it at windowsill gardening let me know in the comments down below. I would love any sage advice and I’m sure others will love helpful tips to get them started too.