Zero Waste Kitchen: 12 Practical Tips and Tricks to Reduce Food Waste at Home

(& Save Money to Boot)


Plastic-free July may be over, but we’re certainly not giving up the cause! I bet most of us don’t really think about what happens when we toss a plastic water bottle or wilted head of Romaine lettuce into the bin. But the truth is 27 percent of all food we buy ends up in the trash can. And that trash adds up fast. While The Swag helps you stay waste-free in the kitchen, here are some clever and creative tips from other Zero Waste leaders that will help you live a toxic-free, zero-waste life all around! 

1. Get Creative with Your WrappingThe Swag - Persimmon Leaves

We just love how Zero Waste Japan put a Japanese twist on their food carrying techniques. What is that, you ask? Sushi. Wrapped in persimmon leaves. 100% organic and biodegradable. Apparently, these same leaves were used in place of plastic wrap in Japan. Why not go back to the good ol’ days? There was no reason to waste then, and there is no reason to waste now.


2. Go Stir (& Straw) Crazy!

The Swag - Stainless Steel SetLive & Grow blew our minds with this post! Who knew building a waste-free life can make you look extra classy? These metallic straws are stylish and stronger than those flimsy plastic ones. Amazon has a great stainless steel set that is affordable, reusable and toxic-free!


3. Zero Waste…On Your Face

Gittemary uses cotton cloths and bamboo brushes to apply her homemade moisturizer, blush and eyeshadow. She uses Clean-Faced Cosmetics products for most of her routine but shows off her wicked skills with her homemade lotion and blush. Here is a link to her blush recipe if you are interested.

 4. Go 70 MPH on Zero Waste! 
The Swag - Going Zero WasteOkay, this is not technically an “at home” tip, but it is just as important. We waste up to 50% more when we travel, so I just like this tip from Going Zero Waste. Instead of buying hot dogs and doughnuts in paper bags and take-out sacks, she used tongs from the store to place them in her own stainless steel, reusable containers. How neat! And mighty clever. This limits her waste on the environment AND the epic amount of trash that accumulates on the floor of a car during your average road trip. Plus, don’t those doughnuts look amazing!?


5. Bust Out the Bamboo!

The Swag - Bamboo ToothbrushDid you know the average person uses 156 toothbrushes over the span of his or her life? (Of course, for my household, I know the number is higher). That’s why we just love the tip from Nada Grocery. They recommend using bamboo brushes instead of the generic plastic ones because they are made with ZERO plastic. Who would’ve known?! Now, YOU know. The brush in the picture is from Brush Naked.


6. Clear Your Caffeine Conscience

The Swag - Morning Coffee CupLet’s face it. Americans these days are as addicted to our morning cup as we are to Netflix, cat memes and reruns of The Big Bang Theory. The good news is that we can enjoy ALL of these things thanks to Onya Life, the creator of countless zero waste solutions. Here, you can see their BYO coffee cups. Made from food-grade silicone, they are flexible, strong, colorful and 100% recyclable!


7. Shave Off the Excess Waste

The Swag - Steel Razor BladeTiiaBubble gives us a blast from the past when she recommends using the Safety Razor from Muhle with reusable stainless steel razor blades. Old school wins again. People are going back to safety razors and straight razors left and right. Why? They are environmentally friendly, less expensive and still provide a quality shave! The razor might cost around $60, but replacement blades are only $1 each. Compare that to $4 for the “other guys’” and within one year, you will be saving money and mother Earth!


8. Make a B-Line for the Bulk Bins

Want to save 30-50% on your quinoa or flax seed? Find a store like Whole Foods that sells items in bulk. You’ll get a better product for a lower price. You’ll also have less plastic bags, pouches or sacks to deal with when you get home. Zero waste wins again!


9. Toss the Takeaway Trash

The Swag - Homemade Stainless Steel Bento BoxDid you know fast food garbage makes up at least 50% of all the trash on the street? Gross! Imagine how much MORE waste it creates in our landfills and across our planet. That’s why we love this post from Made Sustained. It’s a homemade stainless steel bento box. Of course, it could also work for tacos, hamburgers, French fries and anything else you want to grab on the go. Taco Bell Crunchwrap Supreme a la stainless steel? Yes, please.


10. Become a Meal Prep Master

The Swag - Stainless Steel LunchboxRocket Science wins the zero waste work game by using stainless steel lunchboxes with separate compartments to store her healthy snacks throughout the day.


11. Source Your Soap Smartly

NattyNoo puts all of our zero waste games to shame. She buys her vegetable-based soaps in bulk with ZERO packaging. Of course, she lives near a specialty store packed full of homemade, un-packaged soaps. But most Whole Food or natural stores sell a few of these same products up front. Just look for the big, brightly coloured bars that smell like heaven and are heavenly plastic free! (Tip: Usually, they’re towards the front of the store or near the cards or flowers.)


12. Protect Your Produce Wisely
The Swag - Vegetable Bag
Of course, no blog post on reducing waste would be complete without mentioning The Swag. Unlike those generic reusable produce bags you find online, The Swag has a unique multi-layer design that keeps your greens crisper and your fruit fresher for weeks longer! Plus, they’re designed to last and are made from 100% cotton, so you know they’re not going to tear or rip on you like those other guys (We know; we’ve tried ‘em all).