Reducing Waste In The Kitchen (part II)

by Tammy Taylor

Last week I shared five ways to reduce waste in your kitchen.  Today I’ll share five MORE things  RancherMan & I have done to reduce our kitchen waste enough to help eliminate weekly trash pickup.  Don’t worry, they’re all easy.  Hey, I’m all about making things easy!

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

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Shopping Bags

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

Oh my, I haven’t brought a shopping bag home from the store in more years than I can count.  Occasionally one will be brought in by a visitor and they’re sure to be used quickly as a trash can liner or something, but not bringing in those bags when I shop was one of the very first steps I made back in ‘the day’ to reduce my kitchen waste.  Of course back then I did the responsible thing and make sure they were recycled, but then I remembered the order of conservation:  REFUSE, Reduce, Reuse, Repurpose, and lastly Recycle.  So I got a few cloth bags and I never looked back.  In those early days the clerks used to look at me strangely when I told them I wanted to use my own bag for my purchases.  Of course that was way before it was a normal request – nowadays they don’t even blink.  Some people have commented that they can never remember to bring their bags with them when they go shopping.  I’ve found an easy way to make sure I always have my cloth bags.  When going out to do my shopping I have a cloth bag with about 7 neatly-folded cloth bags inside it hanging close to my back door & it’s easy to grab it on my way out.  But what about those times you weren’t actually planning to stop & shop somewhere?  I’ve got that tackled too – I have a single cloth bag rolled into a heavy plastic sleeve to keep it neatly stored & to help it stay clean.  It’s tucked right next to my seat in the car so if we make an unscheduled stop to buy something I simply reach down & grab it on my way out of the car. This method has really worked well for me.

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Trash Can Liners

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

I haven’t bought trash bags in probably 10 years or so.  Since reducing our trash so drastically I’ve been able to downsize the trashcan in my kitchen.  No big ugly kitchen-sized waste basket for me, this tiny bathroom-sized trash can slides into a cabinet to be hidden from view.  Since it’s so small I use various bags to line it – in this case a large bag from a family-sized cereal purchase.  And since I compost most food waste there’s no stinky items needing to be placed in the trash.  By utilizing all our steps to reduce waste in the kitchen this tiny trashcan only needs to be emptied about once every 2 weeks or so.

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Make Your Own Convenience Items

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

Have you noticed how heavily things seem to be packaged these days?  A box of something with containing several individual plastic-coated bags of product and the whole shebangie is wrapped in yet more plastic wrap??  Oh, it kills me!  Because of this I’ve been very mindful of things that I can provide right here at home that don’t need to be purchased (with all that dang packaging!)  There are so many quick & easy ways to reduce food packaging waste in your kitchen by making that item yourself like breadcrumbs or seasonings.  For instance I make my own yogurt  about once a week and I make it right into single-serve 1/2-pint canning jars that are used over & over again.  I have a family member save me the lids that fit these jars so the whole batch can go from oven incubation to fridge to single-serve breakfast.  What a great win/win!

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Make Your Own Cleaners

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

Making your own cleaners doesn’t have to be complicated or time consuming.  Orange-scented vinegar makes a great cleaner and it’s so easy & inexpensive to make.  After I enjoy an orange I just drop the peels into a jar of regular ole vinegar I’ve poured into a canning jar & I give the contents a quick swirl.  For a few mornings I repeat this process after I enjoy a fresh orange and the peels steep in the vinegar for a couple of weeks.  When the citrus scent is as strong as I want it I’ll strain out the peels and pour the now citrus-scented vinegar into a repurposed spray bottle.  I can now either dilute it with water or use it full strength. This vinegar cleaner has been wonderful in cleaning my stove from drips & dribbles, and it’s amazing on our kitchen’s tile floors.  Vinegar is cheap, effective and natural – quite a winning combination for me.

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Think Outside The box

Reducing Waste In Your Kitchen Part II - So Many Ways To Reduce Your Landfill-Bound Trash!  #TaylorMadeRanch

Sometimes it only takes a second to think outside the box when looking for ways to reduce packaging waste.  For instance I like my sliced jalapenos raw but RancherMan prefers them pickled.  So I have a family member save me the jalapeno juice from their own pickled jalapeno purchase and I slice raw jalapenos and drop the slices into that juice.  After a week or so they’re ready for RancherMan’s palate, and instead of a couple of bucks for that jar of pickled jalapenos it’s usually almost free since I’ve typically used jalapenos straight from my garden.  But even in the off-season when the garden is sleeping I’m able to purchase a couple of fresh jalapenos for pennies and slice them into this pickling juice and again – no waste!

So there ya go, a few of the ways we’ve been able to reduce our waste in the kitchen.  If you missed last weeks list be sure to go back & check it out.

What about you?  What  are some of your favorite ways to reduce waste?

~TMR~

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21 thoughts on “Reducing Waste In The Kitchen (part II)

  1. Melissa French, The More With Less Mom

    Hello from Save Money Monday! This is a great post, I do most of these things already. Kitchen waste is one of the things you have to be most vigilant about.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yes Melissa, and thankfully it’s really easy to reduce waste in the kitchen too with a little thinking outside the box. ~TMR~

      Reply
  2. Judy

    I love all your ideas. You all really inspire me to try harder to get what I throw away down to a minimum. I’m going to start my own challenge today. Thank you, for your inspiration! I will be following to learn more. Judy, NH

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      That’s awesome Judy – Thanks! Sometimes it’s just a little thinkin’ outside the box to make a big impact. Good luck on your challenge (chants quietly “Go, Go, Go!”) ~TMR~

      Reply
  3. Anne-Marie Bilella

    I haven’t bought garbage bags either in years!!!! Well except for the twice a month county bags that are required here to dump our own trash. I recycle everything, it has to have a purpose more than once. I use my egg cartons as seed starters or as lip balm holders – when filling the lip balms. Thanks for sharing on Wildcrafting Wednesday!!!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks Rachel – it’s funny how some of the most effective ways of reducing waste are also the easiest, it just requires thinking outside the box sometimes. 🙂 ~TMR~

      Reply
  4. Ilene

    I share your feelings about reducing waste, and your dismay at the way things at the store are packaged. Do you ever buy whole chicken that is literally floating around in water in a vacuum-sealed plastic bag? NO chicken has THAT much liquid! Also there’s that little pad they put under meat in trays that’s always soaked. One of my pet peeves is paying meat prices for water. If you ever want a recipe for nacho pepper slices, shoot me an e-mail. I plan to use some dill pickle brine this summer as weed and grass killer along my rock walkway. I’m concerned the salt might build up in the soil if used other places but I think it would work in places where I never try to grow anything. So many things can have “a second life” if only we’ll do a little thinking outside of the box.

    Reply
  5. Rashel

    Great ideas and encourages me to see how we can reduce our waste as well. Thank you! (visiting from Growing Home link up)

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Rashel, it seems there’s always little ways we can reduce waste that really adds up to a lot. ~TMR~

      Reply
  6. Candy C.

    More great ideas! I really need to stash a shopping bag in the car for those unexpected stops by the store. It is really a shame how much packaging is involved in convenience foods…

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Yes Candy – the packaging of our food (and ANYTHING we buy really) is probably the absolutely most frustrating part of it all. When will manufacturers finally get it? ~TMR~

      Reply
  7. Karen R

    Yes!… REFUSE, Recycle… Great ideas! Here’s another one you might like. The clear bags in cereal/cracker boxes have many uses in my home. You can easily peel the seams apart and use them the same way you use wax paper. I make pie crusts by sandwiching the dough between two sheets and then rolling it out. No messy cleanup. They serve to separate layers of cookies in my Tupperware containers. And you can wrap a sandwich in one. The way I remember my cloth shopping bags is to put them with my purse after I put the groceries away so they travel with me the next time I go anywhere. Now if I could just train my husband to use them. 🙂

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Thanks for the ideas Karen. I love the wax paper as well, although for some reason I’ve never really used them to separate layers of food items. (thumps forehead…) And how clever of you to have a reusable bag in your purse! ~TMR~

      Reply
    2. Becca @ The Earthlings Handbook

      Cereal/cracker bags make great freezer bags, too! They aren’t self-sealing, but you can fold over the top and put a rubber band around.

      Reply
  8. Monica

    You make a great point! It’s easy to think that you don’t have that much waste, but then you realize you really do! I have no doubt this is something I could do better at. Thanks for the great suggestions!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Monica, I stopped by your new blogsite – Love it & I’ll be following closely to see what you have to say! ~TMR~

      Reply
  9. Korilynn

    I agree there are so many ways to reduce waste in the kitchen. I went to culinary school and they would have competitions to see who could make the least amount of waste with their cooking — and that was hard considering things had to be cut in perfect squares from an originally round shape. People these days have way too much waste that is unnecessary, and finding ways to stop it are great.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Ranch Post author

      Korilynn, I’ve been told that culinary school will really open your eyes into creative and delicious ways to use it all. Profits at restaurants can be made or lost with food waste. ~TMR~

      Reply

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