Living a zero-waste lifestyle is about more than just what you buy and what you throw away. Zero waste living is about thinking carefully about how you can reduce and prevent waste in all areas of your life. These zero waste kitchen organization tips should help you move towards zero waste in this most important room of your home:
Have a Place For Everything and Put Everything in Its Place
In a zero waste lifestyle, one of the most important things is avoiding overconsumption. The less you buy, the easier it will be to reduce waste in all its forms. Having a space for everything in your kitchen, and keeping everything in its place will help you to keep track of what you have.
Food in your kitchen will likely be kept in three places: in the fridge, in a freezer, and in a pantry or storage cupboard. To keep things in order:
- Use clear glass jars or other clear receptacles so you can see what you have, and how much of each thing is left.
- Group items sensibly, so everything is easy to find. For example, in your pantry, you might have a shelf for home-made preserves, a shelf for cans or home canned goods, and a shelf for flours and other baking essentials...
- Rotate stock to keep older items to the front of shelves, and newer items to the back. This will help ensure you use older things first and avoid food waste.
Know About Food Storage – Keep Things Fresh
Key to kitchen organization is knowing which foods should go where. Do your research and make sure that you know how long each basic staple in your kitchen will last. Make sure you know what temperature they should be kept at, and learn simple techniques to provide the right environment for food storage and keep things fresher for longer. What should you freeze? Which items should be refrigerated? Knowing these things is crucial to good kitchen organization.
Utilize Plastic-Free Storage Solutions
When you are trying to move towards a zero waste lifestyle, reducing plastic use should be high on the agenda. Most important of all is avoiding single-use plastic items. Fortunately, there are plenty of zero waste alternatives to common plastic storage solutions – from reusable freezer bags and containers, to beeswax wraps. Make sure you make use of these sensible products when organizing your kitchen.
Organize Your Menu Plan for Zero Waste Living
Plastic waste is not the only form of waste you can guard against through good kitchen organization. Preparation and planning can also help you reduce food waste. When organizing your kitchen, you should spend some time organizing your menu or meal plan, as well as sorting the shelves. Organizing food for batch cooking can help reduce plastic waste – but it can also help you use up leftovers, and reduce the amount of food you throw away. Organize space for a small-scale composting system, and you can also recycle food waste at home. (The space under your sink, for example, could be the ideal spot to compost food scraps.)
Avoid Waste With Permaculture Zoning
Permaculture is a blueprint for a sustainable way of life. Most often, it is a design system used in gardens. But it can also be applied inside your home. In permaculture, we design from patterns to details. One of the patterns we look at is how we ourselves move around a space. The patterns of human movement are used to design efficient and effective systems that help us avoid wasting time, effort and other resources.
In the kitchen organization, we should think about where we place items carefully. The goal should be to minimize energy use and our own effort and time-expenditure.
Position elements as close as possible to where they are needed. And think about how you will move around the space as you cook and use the kitchen. (The triangle of fridge, sink, and cooker is an example of this type of thinking.)
We also think about other patterns when placing items and organizing a kitchen. We look at sunlight, for example. Placing a fridge or freezer in a cooler spot, out of direct sunlight, can save energy.
These examples are just the beginning. Thinking about patterns is very important in organizing a kitchen, and in kitchen design. Getting these basics right can make it a lot easier as we move towards zero waste living. The more efficient and easy to use your kitchen is, the easier you will find it to live in an eco-friendly and sustainable way.