Tips For A Plastic-Free Kitchen

What does a low-waste kitchen look like? Here are some tips on how to avoid waste in your kitchen:

  • Minimize food waste whenever possible. If you aren’t 100% sure that you’ll finish eating something, don’t buy it. Also, don’t buy vegetables just because they’re on sale or look like a good deal. Make sure you have a plan for them. When I want to buy produce I ask myself, am I really going to use this? And I find myself usually buying less than my gut instinct would have told me to.
  • Use reusable shopping bags and reusable produce bags.
  • Try to buy loose vegetables and fruits whenever possible. For example, buy loose mushrooms instead of pre-packaged mushrooms.
  • Try to avoid canned food. Food cans are lined with a resin that contains BPA. Metal is also a nonrenewable resource. Mining for metal and recycling metal are both energy-intensive processes.
  • Soak and cook dried beans instead of buying canned. You can cook big batches and freeze cooked beans for later. Just thaw overnight so you can use them in your recipe the next day. For the amount of beans in a standard 15 oz can, soak and cook 1/2 cup of dried beans. Dry beans have the added benefit of usually being cheaper than their canned counterparts.
  • Buy from bulk bins as much as possible and, if the store allows it, use reusable bags/containers for bulk items. You can buy herbs and tea in bulk in some stores as well. Whole Foods has lots of bulk items. Bulk Barn in Canada is great too, but they require that you use their single use plastic bags and containers. You can wash and reuse them though.
  • Make your own granola instead of eating cereal, or find cereal in bulk. Also, read my other ideas for plastic-free breakfasts.
  • Make things yourself. You’ll avoid lots of packaging. Some things I make from scratch include almond milkwhipped butter spread, pumpkin puree, peanut butter, yogurt, ricotta cheese, cottage cheese, buttermilk, burger buns, tortillas and veggie burgers.
  • For things that are difficult to avoid or give up, buy large packages of them instead of several smaller packages.
  • Make your own Nutella.
  • Try to find a dairy near you that sells dairy products in returnable glass bottles. There are a few brands in the Bay Area that sell milk and yogurt in glass bottles. In Guelph I’ve seen milk, chocolate milk, yogurt and kefir in glass jars.
  • Make your own snack foods. I’ve made my own crackersgranola barsgraham crackers, popcorn and goldfish.
  • Make your own vegetable broth. If you’re not a vegetarian, use leftover bones and carcasses to make broth.
  • Use cloth bags and glass containers instead of plastic freezer bags. If you do use plastic freezer bags, rinse and reuse them. They will usually last for many uses without ripping. I also save glass jars from stuff like pickles and use them for food storage. You can also freeze baked goods in cloth bags for up to a month without freezer burn.

18 thoughts on “Tips For A Plastic-Free Kitchen

  1. Thanks for helping the rest of us figure out how to cut down our use of plastic and encourage businesses to do so!!! Keep up the good work.
    Victoria sheridan

  2. hey girly, I am starting a farmer’s market booth with a “swap shop” or free store, and spreading info about sustainability. Can I adapt and print this list to hand out to people? I’ll put your site at the bottom so people can check you out if they like the tips.

  3. Dear Chief/Student, I belong to and I think you would like their, or our work. It is a non elitist climate change awareness organization. I too am living plastic free. It is challenging but liberating. Unlike you I am at the end of my life not the beginning and I believe I effluence a lot of people by making it clear that I don’t use single use pastic. I am on a fixed income, but I eat whole organic food and I don’t buy processed food. I wish you well I would enjoy following your changing course. Thank you for the work you did here. Pam

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