Between food wrappers, paper towels and grocery bags, the kitchen is a major area of waste. Check out our five simple ways to reduce kitchen waste.

We all gotta eat, right? According to University of Washington Health Sciences/UW Medicine, “People who cook at home more often, rather than eating out, tend to have healthier overall diets without higher food expenses.”

Sounds like a win-win to me. Plus, cooking at home also allows for greater control over the sustainability of your food and cooking materials. Now, if you can afford major changes like swapping natural gas for convection, go for it. But if that’s not in the cards, check out these 5 simple ways to make your kitchen more eco friendly.

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1) Shop with Reusable Produce Bags

A lot of kitchen waste starts at the grocery store. Reusable produce bags do two things:

  1. Reduces the use of single-use plastic bags
  2. Makes it easier to buy, wash, and eat fresh produce

Fresh produce is a win-win. It’s healthier and way more sustainable to produce than meat and processed foods because it comes with minimal packaging and it takes way less carbon emissions to produce. For example, one kilogram of beef produces 60 kg CO2 equivalents while one kilogram of apples produces just .7 kg CO2 equivalents.

Organic cotton mesh bags, like the ones listed below, also make washing and drying produce super easy. Just rinse right in the bag and hang it on the faucet to dry. Boom! Done!

Related: 7 Easy Ways To Eat More Sustainably Without Going Vegan

2) Stock Your Kitchen With Plastic-Free Utensils and Cookware

Did you know humans unwillingly eat a credit card’s worth of microplastics every week? Might as well take a bit out of your plastic ladle and get it over with…

Simply put: plastic is the worst. This petroleum product is not only destructive to harvest and manufacture, it’s almost impossible to recycle and it never goes away!

There’s no place for this garbage in the kitchen. Start by swapping plastic utensils for wood ones, like these hilarious laser engraved wooden spoons.

3) Store Leftovers in Reusable Containers

Food waste is a huge problem, with about 30-40 percent going to waste in the United States. Not only could that food go to a family in need, it completely wastes the land, energy, and labor of producing it.

Instead of single-use plastic wraps and Ziploc bags, use reusable products to store your leftovers. Some of our favorites include:

4) Clean Your Kitchen with Eco-Friendly Sprays and Reusable Towels

If you’re not making a mess, are you even really cooking??

When it comes time to clean up, choose an eco-friendly spray cleaner with minimal plastic and toxic ingredients. We have a list of our favorites going here. Here are some to check out now:

Eliminate even more waste with reusable bamboo paper towels (listed below) or UNpaper towels from Marley’s Monsters.

Related: Here’s How to Make Your Paper Towels Addiction Go Away

5) Wash the Dishes Without Plastic

Does your dishwasher detergent come in plastic packaging? Does your dish scrubber have a plastic handle and bristles?

What a waste! Eliminate the unnecessary plastic packaging with zero-waste dishwasher detergents from Dropps. They come in cardboard packaging and dissolvable wrapping.

And for scrubbing your pots and pans, use this bamboo brush with stiff sisal/coco fiber bristles. It holds up to any plastic brush, and easily reaches the corners of deep pots.

See more kitchen products in the Emeraldology Shop:

Feature photo by Jason Briscoe on Unsplash