Going waste-free is a real commitment and lifestyle change that is going to take a lot of discipline and some time to get used to. But starting this journey today will bring so many benefits to your life and the well being of all living things on Earth. So I suggest you cut waste out cold turkey, no more packaged goods from here on out. There are so many ways to cut waste out of your life, it is important to start somewhere, no matter how small the effort. On this blog, I am giving you all the tips you need to start a zero waste pantry. You with me?
Step One: Take Everything Out of Your Pantry
The first step to transform your pantry into a zero waste pantry is to take everything out so you can examine how to eliminate all of those conveniently packaged goods. Having everything pulled out is a good way to look at each individual item and ask yourself how can I get this food without it being wrapped in any kind of packaging.
Step 2: Determine What Packaged Foods You Can Buy-In Bulk
As I started to examine all of the packaged foods that I had previously bought I found that there were a lot of things I had bought in a package that I could have easily grabbed in the bulk foods section in the grocery store or at a local bulk food store. Granola cereals, rice, quinoa, coconut, coconut sugar can all easily be found in the supermarket bulk food section. Cacao and other items may be a little bit trickier to track down so hopefully, I can find a package less solution for that at some of the new bulk food shops popping up around town.
Step 3: Determine What Packaged Foods Can Easily be Made at Home With No Waste
Another way to start eliminating waste from packaged foods is to take food items that are easy to produce from scratch right at home ultimately eliminating the package. Making simple ingredients from home also eliminates the unknown of what chemicals and additives that are preserving the food in packages. When you go zero waste you stop worrying about the processed junk on the shelves and start going for fresh, homemade ingredients, giving any meal the added fresh flavor it needs. Easily make spice mixes for tacos and other meals ahead of time from the bulk spices found at Whole Foods and Sprouts. Make your own plantain chips by frying a fresh plantain up in some coconut oil. By the way, these are great chip alternatives for hummus dip. Easily throw things like apples and pumpkins in a food processor for freshly made sauces and purees. Buy dry beans and get into the routine of soaking them overnight too. There are so many ways to start being waste conscious when you shop.
Step 4: Determine What Jars and Containers Can Be Reused
If you have bought foods that come in tins or glass containers you can easily reuse these containers for holding bulk foods or even better use the jars as a vase to keep your produce in the refrigerator fresher longer. When it comes to individually wrapped items like tea it is best to start only buying loose leaf teas or teas that come in compostable packaging. There are a lot of individually wrapped foods on the shelves so make sure you pay extra mind to this thoughtless waste. Do not let laziness determine decisions, you must put in the extra effort to eliminate your waste.
Step 5: Stock Your Pantry With Jars for Easy Transfer of Bulk Foods
Transitioning to a pantry full of bulk foods you are going to want a lot of glass jars of different sizes. When your pantry is stocked with plenty of jars it is easier to take your bags of bulk foods from the supermarket and transfer them into the jars. Not only does this save on a lot of waste but it also makes your pantry ultra tidy and organized. Plus you can fill the jars with as much as you want to create a great stock of food that you can easily grab when cooking quick meals. Ultimatly saving you trips to the grocery store.
Step 6: Make a Grocery List
After you have gone through your pantry, make a grocery list of the items that you were running low on. Plus add to the list the most common food items you buy in order to have more of a stockpile of food. Every time you make a grocery list make sure you prepare to pick foods with no packages. Planning your meals ahead of time will help you stay organized and prevent you from reaching for anything conveniently wrapped in plastic. Start getting into the habit of making meals with your bulk foods and fresh produce ingredients. With this major clean out not only will your pantry look nice but you will start seeing more positive changes in your body by cutting out processed foods. Plus the planet and everything living on it will no longer be burdened by all of the piles of rubble that our species has set out to create. Step by step, together we can make the change to start cleaning up our mess. Please pass along this message and these tips for going zero waste.