Try These 5 Sustainable Kitchen Swaps to Reduce Food Waste

Sustainable kitchen swaps for an eco-friendly lifestyle


When was the last time you bought a sandwich and dumped the wrapper in the bin? Probably yesterday, right? Think about the empty soup cans lying in your trash from dinner last night. Or, about the number of times, you pulled the paper towel to clean your kitchen countertop. Consciously or unconsciously, we have been using a lot of single-use items in our daily life. From burrito wrappers to single-use plastic cans to paper towels- all these items go straight to the trash when we are done with them, and from there, they end up in landfills or the ocean. Similarly, food waste too ends up getting dumped in landfills, from where they release methane into the atmosphere.  

Did you know?

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) report published in 2021, U.S. food loss and waste embodies 170 million metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent (million MTCO2e) GHG emissions (excluding landfill emissions)–equal to the annual CO2 emissions of 42 coal-fired power plants. Along with that, it also releases methane, an even more potent greenhouse gas. 

 Also Read: Your Basket on a Budget

Luckily, most of these products are quite easy to replace. In fact, you can start this new sustainable lifestyle right from your kitchen. From organizing meal plans, using eco-friendly reusable products, and storing foods more effectively, these small steps can help you take the right direction towards living greener. To help, here’s our five-step formula!

Step One: Get Organized!

Weekly meal plan board DIY. Image credit: Pinterest

We are all guilty of finding excuses not to plan out our meals for the week. While it might not seem like a big deal at the moment, it can actually lead to a lot of food waste later on. By planning out your meals ahead and noting the needed ingredients on a list, you can eliminate buying extra items. Those unnecessary and unplanned purchases often leave you wondering, “hmmm, I know this was on sale but what should I make with it?” We know how that story ends though…. It ends up being thrown in the trash :( 

You can also take a step ahead and organize your meal into boxes for the week and store it in the refrigerator. This way, you are not just saving food from being tossed in the bin; you are also organized for the week, which means less stress! 

Step Two: FIFO!

No, it’s not a gaming tool. FIFO stands for “first in first out”. Simply put, you need to label your food with the dates you store them and keep the older foods on top or in front so that you finish them first. This basic concept makes so much sense- eat the food in the order in which you bought it (or the ones with the closest expiration date) to avoid food from spoiling. It sounds like a straightforward decision, but often we push off meals and use certain ingredients for later on in the week until it’s too late. 

“But I put it safely in the freezer!” Even food stored in the freezer can lose its quality with time. This is your sign to use that avocado that’s been lying around and make the damn guacamole TONIGHT! We want to avoid yet another brown and soft avocado because it truly is a story as old as time.

Step Three: Reduce food waste

The best way to reduce food waste is to eat in or pack your leftovers. When you go out to eat, you often tell yourself there’s simply not enough food left on your plate to “be worth taking home”. Now imagine all the people in that restaurant and all the restaurants everywhere saying the same. exact. thing! That’s a crazy amount of food being trashed! Yes, takeout truly is a revolutionary time saver, but let’s try seeing it as a treat, or the last option. 

Packing your own lunch or breakfast is also a smart move because when you choose to dine out, you don’t know what goes on in your kitchen and can’t control how your leftovers are being managed. 

Don’t judge your food by its best-by-date! Even if an item has passed its best-by date, it does NOT mean these products are inedible - it’s simply a recommendation from the manufacturer. We always encourage you to look, smell, and taste before you waste! 

Did You Know?

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) estimates that up to 20% of food waste comes from confusion over these dates. That label can be pretty tricky sometimes.

 Also Read: Expiration Explained

Step Four: Get crafty with your leftovers!

This might sound confusing, but there are so many ways to use those leftovers from your kitchen instead of tossing them away. Get crafty and start pickling, curing, drying, canning, and fermenting your leftovers or items that might seem ‘questionable’. 

Next time you prepare extra vegetables, store them to use later in preparing a pasta dish or simply a soup. You can also dedicate a leftover night where you raid your refrigerator and wipe it clean!

For more tips on how to ferment, follow Sandor Katz on Instagram.

Make delicious pickle with leftover food

Step Five: Composting organics

Did you know that 20% of all the methane emissions are from landfills? One best step you can take for the environment is to compost your food scraps. If you have space or a garden area, create a compost heap and throw all the stems, peels, and unusable bits of food. Even coffee grounds and tea leaves make a great addition to the compost. 

Well, we let our secret formula out for you to follow and help reduce food waste. But there are so many other ways to use products in your kitchen that you can easily reuse, compost or just responsibly recycle. 

What steps do you take to help reduce food waste? Share with us on Instagram and Facebook

Like what you read? Head to our Circular Blog to learn more about our work, mission, and stories that make us unique. What to contribute towards saving good food from landing in the trash, shop from our store here