22 Easy Ways to Reduce Kitchen Waste

food prep

In a world where water flows out of our faucets at the flip of a switch, and we have fresh produce practically at our fingertips, it can be easy to forget how truly precious these resources are. The EPA estimates that every year in the United States, 31% (133 billion pounds) of the overall food supply is wasted. This contributes to food insecurity, the loss of natural resources used in cultivating and transporting that food, and adds to methane emissions from landfills. And don’t even get me started on all of the plastic that is used to package our food … When it comes to water, on average, one person will use 80-100 gallons per day for indoor household use. Conserving fresh water is so important, it is the most crucial resource for our survival.

I’m not trying to shame anybody because we were all pretty much born into this system, I just want you to have the facts. The more aware we can become, the more equipped we are to shift those statistics by making little changes in our lives and sharing these tips with friends! Below is a list of 22 easy changes you can implement into your daily life to lighten your impact and save some money.

Let’s start at the grocery store:

1.   Look for items with the least packaging. 

2.   Bring your reusable bags

3.   Try shifting your tea collection to loose leaf — lots of health food stores have some in the bulk section, but you can also buy loose leaf tea in large bags. Then all you need is a little strainer, which will only run you a couple dollars.

4.    Consider whether your produce really needs to go in a plastic bag … you’re going to wash it before you eat it anyway, so you might as well save a bag along the way — if you do use one, save it and reuse it. I like to keep a few in my grocery bags so I don’t forget them. 

Reducing Food Waste:

5.   Designate a special place in your refrigerator for foods that need to be used first.

6.   If your greens like spinach or kale are beginning to wilt before you can eat them, blend them up with some water and freeze them in an ice tray and save them for smoothies. 

7.    Store your stemmed veggies like celery, kale, chard, asparagus etc. in a jar of 1-2 inches of water —  this will help keep them fresher for longer.

8.   Store opened avocados with their seed and skin.

9.   Don’t peel carrots, potatoes, cucumbers etc. scrub them with a veggie brush instead.

10.   Save your veggie scraps (onion and garlic skin, carrot tops, peelings, mushroom stems etc. — pretty much anything you cut off while preparing a meal). Store them in the freezer until you have enough to make into broth. 

11.   Use bones to make broth.

12.   Coffee grinds make a great body scrub.

13.   When cooking squash, rinse and roast the seeds with a little oil and salt — they make a lovely appetizer or topping. 

14.   Compost your food scraps — if you don’t have your own system, look into community based options … a communal garden or composting facility perhaps. 

15.    Many neighborhoods now have "garden waste" bins, which are usually perceived to be only used for leaves and scraps from yard work, but you can also throw in raw vegetable cuttings — anything that comes from the garden. 

16.   There are tons of creative ways to cook with “food scraps” that we were never taught. There are plenty of food bloggers and Instagram chefs who specialize in “zero-waste cooking.” One of my favorites is Max La Manna ... Food.com also has a great article with some creative recipes to get you started.

    Conserving Water:

    17.   When doing dishes, use a bowl or pot that already needs cleaning as a warm soapy water-basin — this will save time, water and soap! 

    18.   Use your hands, a scrubber or a sponge to get food off of dishes before turning to water-pressure.

    19.   Don’t run the water full force.

    20.   Be aware of how many cups you use throughout the day … try keeping one water cup around for a day or two.

    21.   The average dishwasher actually uses less water than hand washing, so do the bulk of your dishes that way!

    22.  Turn off the faucet when you are scrubbing/sudsing your dishes.


    I hope these tips are helpful and inspiring. Remember, making changes to your lifestyle takes time and patience, so just do your best and be creative! If you think anyone you know could benefit from a few tips, please share this blog with them :)



      1 comment

      • This is an excellent list of “to-dos” we can all take action on—some small practical steps toward counteracting the human effects on climate change. Thank you for sharing this with us.

        Blessings to all sentient beings.


      Leave a comment

      Please note, comments must be approved before they are published