Creating a Low Waste Kitchen


It is often said that the kitchen is the heart of the home, a dynamic space where we cook, eat and socialise with family. However, it can also be a hotspot for waste generation. I love my kitchen but I know I still have a lot to do with regard to reducing the waste produced in this area of my home. Creating a low waste kitchen is a meaningful step towards reducing our environmental footprint and I wanted to share some ideas that I am using to reduce the waste in my kitchen. From food scraps to packaging and disposable items, there are numerous opportunities to minimize waste and make eco-friendly choices. In this blog post, we’ll explore practical tips and tricks to help you reduce the waste produced in your kitchen.

Assessing Current Waste

Before you begin creating a low waste kitchen, it’s a good idea to assess your current waste habits. Take a moment to observe what goes into your bins including the recycling bins. Are there recurring items or habits that contribute to kitchen waste? Identifying these patterns will serve as a starting point for your waste reduction efforts.

Mindful Grocery Shopping

One of the key elements of a low waste kitchen is mindful grocery shopping. Before heading to the store, create a shopping list based on your planned meals for the week. Having a list in hand helps you avoid impulsive purchases and ensures you buy only what you need. It’s a simple step that can significantly reduce food waste and save you money in the long run.

When you shop, be on the lookout for products with minimal packaging. Buying in bulk whenever possible can also cut down on the amount of packaging waste generated. Additionally, consider shopping at local farmers’ markets, where you can often find fresh produce with less packaging than in larger supermarkets.

Effective Food Storage

Proper food storage is important for minimizing kitchen waste. It can extend the shelf life of ingredients, reducing the need for frequent grocery runs and preventing food spoilage. Invest in airtight containers for storing dry goods like grains, pasta, and cereals. When storing leftovers or fresh produce, use clear containers to keep track of what’s inside and avoid items getting lost in the back of the fridge.

Organize your refrigerator, pantry, and freezer so that older items are used before newer ones. A “first in, first out” approach can help ensure that nothing goes to waste. Also, learn which fruits and vegetables are best stored together and which should be kept apart to prevent them spoiling.

Reducing Single-Use Items

Single-use items are a significant contributor to kitchen waste. Items like plastic utensils, straws, and paper towels often end up in the trash after just one use. Consider switching to reusable alternatives:

  • Reusable Cutlery: Invest in a set of durable, reusable cutlery made from materials like bamboo, stainless steel, or even high-quality plastic.
  • Cloth Napkins: Replace paper napkins with cloth ones that can be washed and reused.
  • Glass Containers: Swap disposable plastic containers for glass containers with lids, ideal for storing leftovers and meal prepping.

By making these simple switches, you can significantly reduce your reliance on single-use items and decrease the waste they generate.

Composting and Food Scraps

Composting is an excellent way to divert organic kitchen waste from the landfill and turn it into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. If you have outdoor space, consider setting up a compost bin or pile for fruit and vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and eggshells. Composting not only reduces waste but also contributes to a healthier ecosystem by enriching the soil.

For those without outdoor space, there are indoor composting solutions like worm bins that can fit under your sink. These systems allow you to compost even if you live in an apartment or have limited space.

In addition to composting, get creative with food scraps. Vegetable peels can be used to make homemade vegetable broth, while overripe fruits can be blended into smoothies or used in baking. Reducing food waste not only saves money but also reduces the overall waste generated in your kitchen. Check out Carleigh’s ‘scrappy cooking’ section at for some excellent ways to use up food scraps.

Cooking and Meal Planning

Efficient cooking and meal planning play a significant role in waste reduction and help save money too. When you plan your meals and prep ingredients ahead of time, you’re less likely to resort to takeout or convenience foods, which often come with excessive packaging. Batch cooking can also help ensure that you use up ingredients before they go bad.

Don’t forget the power of leftovers. Instead of tossing them, think of creative ways to repurpose yesterday’s meal into a new dish. For example, roasted vegetables can become a hearty frittata, and cooked rice can be transformed into tasty fried rice.

Educating Family and Guests

Creating a low waste kitchen is a team effort, so don’t hesitate to involve your family members in your sustainability goals. It may take some time to change old habits but if you explain the importance of waste reduction and encourage them to adopt eco-friendly habits, such as using reusable containers and recycling correctly.

When entertaining guests, let them know about your commitment to sustainability and encourage them to participate. Provide labeled recycling bins and compost containers to make waste sorting easy for everyone. Leading by example can inspire others to make more sustainable choices in their own lives.

Tracking Progress

As you implement these tips and tricks for creating a low waste kitchen, it’s essential to track your progress. Keep a journal or use a dedicated app to record your waste reduction achievements. Apps such as Kitche help you log food you’ve bought and plan meals accordingly or NoWaste which allows you to keep track of the food in your fridge/freezer/larder, notifying you when they are close to expiry dates. I have just downloaded the Kitche app to help me reduce food waste in my kitchen.

By tracking your progress, you can identify areas where you’ve made significant improvements and areas that may need further attention. Celebrate milestones, whether it’s successfully reducing food waste or using up a pantry full of ingredients before their expiration dates. This ongoing awareness will help you maintain your commitment to sustainability in the long term.


In conclusion, creating a low waste kitchen is a practical and effective way to embrace sustainability in your daily life. By assessing your current waste habits, practicing mindful grocery shopping, optimizing food storage, reducing single-use items, composting, planning meals, using energy-efficient appliances, and educating your family and guests, you can significantly reduce your kitchen waste.

Every small change you make contributes to a more sustainable future, not to mention the potential savings you’ll enjoy from reduced food waste. So, lets get started, put these tips into action, and watch as your kitchen becomes a model of eco-friendly living.

So, which of these tips is your favourite? If you have any more ideas you are using and you’d like to share them, please leave a comment below.

Thank you!


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  1. These days going through the effort to create a low-waste kitchen is well worth the effort in my opinion. I have seen the benefits not only in cash savings but also with the reduction of foods that spoil before use, with the energy usage that appliances require, and with less time required to do the kitchen chores.

    Having said that, I know there are always more ways to save money and reduce waste. That is what attracted me to your website – I wanted to get some other perspectives and see how I might further reduce my waste. There is always room for improvement. 

    The biggest takeaway I got from the advice (there is a lot of good advice by the way, great job with this subject!) is with the composting. We have not done this yet and it seems like such a good way to get more production from our vegetable garden and enjoyment from our plants.  

    We will take your advice and get started immediately. The option I am thinking of is the worm bin. That is the first I had heard of this but it will be perfect for the limited space we have. Right now I am checking on sources for such a container – do you have any advice on what to look for and the price I should expect to pay?

  2. I thoroughly enjoyed your blog post on creating a low-waste kitchen! Your tips are not only practical but also easy to implement. I especially appreciated the emphasis on reusable alternatives and composting. Have you considered exploring DIY cleaning products as an additional tip? I find making my own cleaners not only reduces waste but also saves money.

    I’d love to hear your thoughts on reducing food waste in the kitchen. Personally, I’ve found meal planning and using a “first in, first out” system for my pantry staples to be incredibly helpful. How do you tackle this issue in your own kitchen? Keep up the great work! 😊

    1. Thank you for your comments.  I agree that DIY cleaning products are a great way of reducing waste in the kitchen and I am planning on doing a post dedicated to this in the near future. 

      The first in, first out system is something I do in my kitchen.  However, it isn’t without its challenges because I have two teenagers and a husband that I have to constantly remind about my system!  I am making progress with them and I always remind myself that every small step in the right direction is a win!  I may even do a post about my tips and experience of getting the whole family on board with these sustainable ideas!


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