Kitchen

From cooking and shopping with waste reduction in mind, to kitchen interior designs there are many ways you can be more environmentally-minded in the kitchen.

Cooking  
CVSan has presented cooking workshops featuring The Zero Waste Chef, Anne-Marie Bonneau. Concerned with the planet’s plastic pollution problem, she went plastic-free in 2011, began shopping more at the farmer’s market, filling up on staples in the bulk sections of grocery stores and making more food from scratch.

She cut out packaged and processed food, and has found that she and her family are much healthier for it. The Zero Waste Chef’s website features the Top 3 Ways to Break up with Plastic, and 50 Ways to Get There (How to Shop, Where to Shop, What to Buy, What Not to Buy, Out and About, In the Kitchen, etc.). Here’s a sample of a few tips from her website:

  • Fill up at the bulk bins. Search for bulk stores worldwide at com/app. Users can also submit stores not yet listed on this web-based app. 
  • Fill your reusable cloth bags, glass jars and other containers with staples like beans, rice, flour, oats, nuts, seeds, dried fruit and so on. Some bulk stores have an extensive selection that includes cleaning and personal care products and pet food.
  • Opt for foods lower on the food chain. Cheese almost always comes wrapped in plastic. Meat is often either wrapped in plastic or portioned out on foam trays wrapped in plastic.

When you eat lower on the food chain you waste less packaging materials (beans are often easy to find in bulk) and you reduce the amount of resources that go into producing food higher on the food chain. Meat requires much more water than vegetables, for example.

Cut out the processed food. Shop the perimeter of the grocery store, where you’ll find produce, dairy, and fish and meat counters. In the middle section aisles, you’ll find processed food and products wrapped in plastic packaging (think snacks and sodas, cereal and energy bars, canned vegetables and shelf-stable pickles).

  • Refuse stuff. Hand the packaging you don’t want back to cashiers, vendors, waiters and so on. For example, at the farmer’s market, vendors often bunch vegetables like carrots, green onions and asparagus together with rubber bands. Pull these off and hand them back. The vendors always seem happy to have them to reuse.

Grocery Shopping for One
When grocery shopping for one person, value packs of ten chicken thighs and giant boxes of crackers may not seem so appealing, but there are ways of making it work. In the case of perishable food, like produce, refuse the “get-one free” from the buy-one-get-one-free if you aren’t sure you are going to use it or eat it.

Consider sharing food and ingredients with your friends, family, and neighbors if you have too much, or have to purchase too much because smaller options are not available. LifeHacker’s How to Grocery Shop When You’re Cooking for One is a valuable resource, with a plan of action to get in and out of the supermarket, and come home with the right amount of food for just you. 

Here's an outline of the plan. Check out their article for more details!.

  1. First, shop at home
  2. Make a list (and have a snack).
  3. Know the traps.
  4. Snag the fresh stuff.
  5. Avoid pre-packaged items.
  6. Keep it fresh.
  7. Skip the store altogether.

Interiors
Students of the Industrial Design Department at Pratt Institute and a New York architect shared their vision behind The Future Kitchen, the kitchen of the future that will be healthier for our planet and offers sustainable strategies for water use, composting, farming, smart technology, and food storage.

Minimalist design started in the 20th century, with a “less is more” concept featuring functional design while artistically creating a simplified way to live. Minimalist interior design eliminates clutter and extraneous objects, which allows the focus to remain on the room’s purpose and function, and on the beauty of carefully selected furnishings. 

Learn about Why Minimalism Works, including how it benefits our mood, how to streamline your furniture, and how to simplify your color scheme.

Authors Joshua Fields Millburn and Ryan Nicodemus explain that Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. “By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.”

Check out their essays about Excess Stuff, Clutter, Sentimental Items, and Counting Possessions. Here are suggestions for what to do with items instead of sending them to the landfill.

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