Kind of trying to reach a zero waste life series – The Kitchen

As I mentioned some day ago, perhaps even before E. was born, we started trying to produce less waste as a family, but also as individuals. I cannot say that it was simple, but not the hardest thing we have done either. To be totally honest, at the time before our move from Rome to Paris, we were doing really, really well. We had managed to find locally most of the things that we needed with no or paper/metal/glass packaging. Moving to Paris made things difficult I must say. Everything was kind of turned upside-down because I didn’t know anymore where to find most things with no packaging or no plastic and many things needed trial and error (like coffee). I must confess that the move and then also the lockdown ruined a huge chunk of our efforts, but at the same time we travelled way less this year so that, in a way, offset some of our plastic use of this year (hopefully).

Because otherwise this would be such a long article, I will divide this topic into several parts where I talk and explain the switches that we have made in the past years. This article focuses on the changes in our Kitchen – what we did, do and still need to do:

  • no more plastic bottled drinks of any kind. We either get glass or metal or use a reusable bottle. Only in like major circumstances, we buy bottled water when we are on the go and we forgot our bottles home or we can’t refill them
  • no more single portions/plastic wrapped food of any kind /snacks
  • reusable bags for our fresh produce – you can find or make simple fabric bags for your fruit and veggies
  • buying in bulk from producers or bulk shops – coffee, olive oil, nuts,
  • switched to vegetable material kitchen sponge
  • no more paper towels! We use instead little cotton towels, store them in a bin after use and then wash them all once a week or so together with the table cloth and tea towels
  • homemade jam and nut butters
  • switched from cow milk to vegetable milk – we were only using milk for our coffee and tea and I didn’t want to use cow milk anymore, it just was not feeling right anymore. So I started making them. And you can also use the pulp of the nuts as a substitute for flour in baked goodies recipes
  • keep all the jars, lids and all boxes that come with takeaway and we use them to store food in the cupboard, fridge or freezer or to take food or snacks with us when we go out
  • many, many, many reusable bags that we take with us when we go shopping
  • beeswax food wrappers
  • reusable snacks bags
  • cook from scratch a lot
  • freeze all the leftovers or stuff getting close to expiry date
  • we used to eat a lot of cold cuts and cheese (okay, I used to) and we cut down on them dramatically. They almost always come in plastic packaging and we just didn’t want that much plastic waste anymore. We mostly use only parmiggiano reggiano now (can’t live without it anymore after having lived in Italy); however, I am having a difficult time finding it in no packaging
  • bread & baked goods we used to make them home a lot or eat them fresh on the go in bars in Italy. In France however, we use the Too Good To GO app once or twice per week to get things from bakeries. We usually get a bag full of croissants, different types of bread, quiches and, of course, baguettes. We freeze them all so that they stay fresh and they are also usually in paper bags so we just pop them in the freezer like that. It only costs around 3-4 euros for a huge bag of food that you save from being wasted, how cool is that?
  • no throwing away the used oil from cooking; I store it all in jars. The problem is that in France they do not collect it for recycling so I have 3 jars of it at home that I have no idea how to dispose of. If anyone has any tips for it, I am all ears!
  • we try to use as few dishes as possible when we cook as we used to literally use all of them when cooking
  • we make our own coffee and very rarely we drink it out; if we do drink it out, it’s either in our own reusable cups or we drink it on the spot in their reusable cups
  • compost our organic waste – we were doing it in Rome, but since the garbage collection company does not do it in Paris, it is driving me INSANE and I need to do something about it
  • we have a bin for every time of recycling – one for paper, one for plastic, one for metal and glass and one for general waste (we used to have one for compost too). They do occupy a lot of space, but it helps A LOT to visualise how much garbage you/your family produce/s
  • have wooden utenils instead of plastic
  • buy fruit and veggies from the market with no packaging; we get meat, fish and cheee from local sellers and we bring our reusable boxes with us

Still to do:

  • waste less food
  • start separating again our compost waste and find a reliable place that collects it near home
  • find good quality fair trade bulk alternatives in Paris for – vinegar, really good coffee, really good parmiggiano reggiano, pasta, feta, chocolate
  • find a way of cooking and living with less meat – this is one of my biggest struggles because I do not like legumes, tofu, seitan
  • switch to a solid dishsoap
  • start growing herbs, veggies and fruit in our two tiny balconies
  • find a no plastic dishwasher cleaner
  • start making veggie crisps and gummy bears for E

I am almost sure that I must have forgotten some things, but I have been doing these things for so long that some are just normal to us and see them as part of our life. But if I will remember some other things, I will add them afterwards.

Stay happy and remember to take your reusable bottle and bag with you everywhere,

Mysha

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