We’ve been in Georgia almost six months now, and what started as an attempt to buy fewer paper towels has morphed into an all-out war against wasteful products. From napkins to cleaning supplies to plastic bags, I have publicly declared my desire to have a zero-waste kitchen. I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it!

zero-waste kitchen

No More Paper Towels

And with the move into this house, I jumped right back into my paper-free kitchen plan, and kick it up a notch. When we moved into our Florida house in early June, I bought one six-pack of paper towels. About a month later, my monthly MightyFix box arrived with a set of Tidy Cloths.

After using these, I felt like I could easily eliminate paper towels for the day-to-day tasks. I wasn’t sure how my family would react, but I didn’t care! I was going to try this. I began this challenge with one roll of paper towels in my pantry in July of 2017. You know when I reached for that roll of paper towels? Thanksgiving Day, 2017.

From Paper to Cloth Napkins

Then I ran out of the paper napkins that I had purchased when we moved in. And I thought, let’s try cloth napkins too! I had made a few when I was going through fabric and I had at least two sets of four. So this would be easy.

It wasn’t quite as easy to keep up with these, and I took advantage of Joanna Gaines’ new line at Target and bought another set of napkins. And now, with several sets of them, we are doing just fine.

Even G has learned to use cloth napkins.

Reusable Bags

Here’s an astounding fact for you. Each one of the reusable bags that we have in our house eliminates 500 plastic ones. We prefer the Lunchskins brand and have a colorful rotation of sandwich sized and snack sized bags. I also just purchased a zip-top gallon bag to experiment with for things like lettuce or bread.

For things we purchase in plastic bags, I reuse them. The bags loaves of bread come in are perfect for storing dry goods or even taking out stinky trash. Ziploc bags can be rinsed clean and reused a few dozen times. While they eventually will break down, I’m reducing the number of them we are consuming.

zero-waste kitchen

Choosing Glass Over Plastic

As a child, I remember giggling everytime my grandmother took out a plastic container from the refrigerator. It was anyone’s guess what was in it. We were never more surprised when the butter container actually held butter!

Taking that a step forward has led me to reuse the glass containers (and a few plastic ones) when we empty them. I’m not sure why this particular step has taken me so long, but we are here now. Glass container for salsa? Clean in the dishwasher and then fill with extra tomato sauce. Mayo container made of glass? Now it holds homemade chicken broth. Reducing the number of containers we buy for leftovers and reducing the number of things we recycle or throw out is actually kind of fun.

Now, It’s Your Turn

I want to challenge you to think about the things you use on a daily basis and consider alternatives. Maybe get a set of cute cloth napkins and use those the next time you have people over for dinner. Maybe grab a set of cheap washcloths for wiping up spills.

Help reduce waste. Teach your kiddos to do the same. You’ll feel a little better about the planet’s future each day.

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