When it comes to household waste, the kitchen is the culprit for a pretty good-sized chunk of it. Our kitchens are responsible for food waste, water waste, and many kinds of packaging waste. To start changing wasteful kitchen habits, try making these simple adjustments:
1. Plan Your Meals
In the U.S., about 40 percent of food goes to waste. A fair amount of that food comes from spoiled leftovers and food we buy but don’t eat quickly enough. To cut food waste out of your kitchen, try planning meals ahead of time and shopping accordingly. Doing so can really limit the amount of food you don’t end up using. Also try organizing your refrigerator so you can easily see the foods that need to be eaten first.
2. Use Your Appliances Appropriately
Replacing all your kitchen appliances with energy-efficient models may not be feasible, but you can make sure you use the appliances you have in effective ways. For example, selecting an appropriately sized burner to cook a meal on your stovetop can save energy; if a pot is too small for the burner, heat is wasted. In general, select cooking methods suitable to the food you’re cooking but that don’t require excess energy. (For example, if you’re reheating leftover pizza, a toaster oven would use less energy than a conventional oven.)
To save water in the kitchen, opt for a dishwasher if you have one and be sure you’ve fully filled it before starting the cycle.
3. Keep Reusables on Hand
You probably have reusable dishes (paper plates are no way to live, never mind the waste!), but if you don’t already have reusable leftover containers, too, they’re worth the investment. They allow you to take lunches with you to work and keep any extra dinner organized in your fridge -- both things that’ll reduce the amount of food you throw away. Reusable containers also let you buy food in bulk and store it, which means you’ll throw away fewer wrappers and boxes from individually packaged products.