In our home, I try to cut down on waste as much as possible. Honestly, I love the idea of having a no-waste kitchen and in 2015, we not only started making as much as we could at home, but we also made the move toward a no-waste kitchen. Not only is it extremely budget (Six Dollar Family)-friendly, but it’s also great for the environment, much healthier for you and your family, and can be used as a fantastic lesson for teaching your kids to make the most out of what they have. Sometimes it’s as easy as putting leftovers in the fridge or freezer, but sometimes it can be a bit more complicated than that. Sometimes, you actually have to get creative if you want to have a no-waste kitchen.
If your goal is to eventually have a no-waste kitchen, you’ll first need to understand exactly what that means. Basically? You will use as much as possible to cause as little waste as possible. The idea is that if you’re using as much as you can if you’re getting as much value out of something as possible, you’ll save money since you won’t constantly be buying those things you can do yourself. This absolutely will mean changes for you and your family and I would be lying to you if I said it was going to be easy.
How to Save Money with a No-Waste Kitchen
There are two ways that you’ll want to go about making your kitchen no waste. First, you’ll want to slowly replace things that you’re buying for the kitchen. Second, you’ll need to use things as much as possible to get as much value out of them as possible. Combining the two creates huge savings over what you’re currently spending. This means that if you’re currently stuck on how to lower your family budget, a no-waste kitchen may be the answer you’re looking for.
Because it is such a huge change, we started slowly. First, we started replacing the items that we were buying. We stopped buying and started making them homemade. That was something we actually did across our entire home but now, a year and a half later, we’re up to 60 different items that we make homemade. After we had gotten that part set in stone, we worked on replacing things we couldn’t necessarily make and on reusing things to get as much value as possible.
Replace as much as possible for a no-waste kitchen
If you’re currently using paper towels, Ziploc baggies, or anything else that is considered disposable, you’ll save a significant amount simply by replacing those items with non-disposable ones. Use unpaper towels or learn how to make your own DIY Cleaning wipes instead of paper towels. Use reusable food storage bowls instead of baggies. Buy a dinnerware set and flatware instead of using paper plates or plastic silverware.
It may not seem like it, but those items do add up pretty quickly. How quickly?
- Paper towels – $1.50 per week
- Dish Soap – $0.99 per week
- Paper Plates – $1.50 per week
- Plastic Silverware – $1.00 per week
- Ziploc bags – $1.00 per week
- Cleaning supplies – $4.00 per week (for all cleaning supplies needed except for dish soap)
Total: $9.99 per week, $39.96 per month, $479.52 per year
Get more value out of everything that comes into your kitchen
The biggest aspect of having a no-waste kitchen is getting the most out of what you’re using.
This means really stopping to think about something before you throw it away or send it to recycling. Sometimes you might have to get creative and others, you’ll find it easy.
Have leftover lemon or orange peels? Make a homemade orange oil cleaner with them. Aside from making sure that all of your kitchen surfaces are clean, lemon and orange peels can also make the entire area smell good. Thus, don’t forget to clean the oven using lemon and orange peels as these can effectively remove nasty odors that usually remain after you use your oven. Additionally, you can wipe the insides of your oven with leftover lemon or orange peels or leave some overnight.
Have leftover apple peels? Why not make apple scrap jelly or homemade apple cider vinegar? Making apple cider at home is actually very easy since you will only need to mix pure honey with the leftover apple peels. Apple cider vinegar actually boasts several health benefits, such as improving digestion, lowering blood sugar levels, and reducing belly fat.
Empty pasta jar? Can you use it in a craft or to help organize somewhere in your home? You can use these empty pasta jars as tea light holders, twig vases, hanging garden lanterns, and fabric-wrapped jars. With these projects, you will not only recycle your empty pasta jars, but you can also make your kitchen more functional and unique without spending a lot of money.
Upcycle empty milk jugs into something useful instead of sending them to the trash. As long as you have the time and interest, you can turn these empty milk jugs into a buttoned sandwich box, spooky walkway lights, plastic trinkets box, and, if you have been keeping a lot of these milk jugs, an igloo. There are unlimited ways on how you can upcycle empty milk jugs. You just have to be resourceful and creative with your efforts!
Don’t toss those chicken, beef, or turkey bones. Use them to make a delicious stock. Simply let the bones boil in a pan of water for a couple of minutes, and you’re good to go. You can use your favorite herbs and spices to add flavor to the broth. These broths can be an excellent appetizer, especially during cold nights.
The same goes for vegetable and fruit scraps. Some foods can be re-grown from scraps and others are fantastic for adding flavor to your homemade stocks!
Eggshells, coffee grounds, banana peels, and more can all be added to a compost pile to make your own compost. Mix your compost with a homemade organic fertilizer recipe and you’ll have a lush and beautiful garden. This can help you save a lot of money since you no longer have to buy any commercially produced fertilizers.
Fruit peels are also fantastic for making a homemade potpourri that will have your home smelling amazing in no time! For you to make a potpourri, you just need to preheat your oven, place your food peels in microwave-friendly containers, add some of your favorite scents and then bake everything for about an hour. This is a cheap yet very effective way to make your entire kitchen and home smell good.
Leftovers from dinner? Package them in airtight containers and hold a leftover buffet at the end of the week! Everyone can choose what they want to eat and you won’t waste a single bite!
Bacon fat (grease) is great for more than just the trash! Add it to biscuits, green beans and more to really help kick up the flavor!
Orange peels can be made into DIY firestarters that you can use for your next family camping trip or your emergency preparations. You can also make great orange peel candles too!
These ideas aren’t all there is either! There is an entire boatload of ways to re-use everyday items in your kitchen and every single one of them will save you money somewhere. Start slowly so that your family has time to adjust, always be on the lookout for new ideas, and above all, don’t give up.