Lucy Ravenhall of Forge Recycling shares five zero waste tips for your kitchen THE CONCEPT OF ‘ZERO waste’ can seem daunting, especially if it is new to you. We live in a country which has for too long relied on disposable items for help in carrying out many everyday tasks. This is especially true in the kitchen, where we are faced with frequent use of cling film, plastic bags, egg boxes and kitchen towel, amongst other items. If you are wanting to explore a zero waste lifestyle, or start your waste-free journey, your kitchen is an excellent place to begin making changes. In a nutshell, the less waste the better – for the environment, and also for your pocket! Waste which gets sent to landfill creates greenhouse gases, which is terrible news for the environment, and leads to global warming. There are also other major concerns linked to this, such as the impact of the waste on wildlife, who ingest waste or get tangled up in it. Total zero waste is a huge challenge, but even just attempting one of the tips here could start you off on your path to a zero waste lifestyle. You’ll probably find that once you start being mindful of these things, it is impossible to switch off from it – wherever you are, and whatever you are doing! And that is great news for the environment, and also, you will find, for your pocket.
1 SWAP DISPOSABLES FOR REUSABLES: Choose reusable clothes, reusable containers, cloth napkins and a plate or homemade linen food covers instead of cling film. For food storage, use glass containers such as mason jars, which can be reused for years and years.
2 SAY GOODBYE TO PLASTIC BAGS: You don’t need plastic bags in your home; stop using them in your bins. Invest in cloth bags for shopping and storage.
3 BUY IN BULK: Buying in bulk means a lower product to packaging ratio, which can only be a good thing when it comes to waste reduction. If you’re visiting a specific bulk buy outlet that sells food products from large bins, take containers with you from home, such as jars and cloth bags, so you don’t require any packaging there.
4 EMBRACE TAP WATER: You don’t need to buy bottled water. Tap water is generally fine, but if you aren’t so keen on the taste of yours, add something to it, such as a squeeze of lemon or a slice of apple.
5 FIND NEW USES FOR FOOD WASTE: Coffee grounds are great for keeping ants at bay, over-ripe bananas are perfect for baking, and spring onions regrow in a jar with some water. Get imaginative with your food waste, and you’ll be surprised at what you can reuse.
TRY THESE RECIPES
Kate Turner, author of My Zero Waste Kitchen helps transform your leftover food scraps and would-be-waste into delicious treats.
PIMP UP YOUR PESTO
For a pesto that still packs a punch, swap the traditional basil and pine nuts for tired nuts or seeds, carrot leaves, or leftover parsley stalks.
MAKES ABOUT 160G
• 2 cloves garlic, roughly chopped • 65g basil leaves, roughly chopped • 50g pine nuts • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar • 4 tbsp olive oil • salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
FIRST MAKE THE BASE
1 Place the garlic, basil, pine nuts, and vinegar in a food processor and whizz until combined.
2 With the motor running, slowly drizzle the olive oil into the pesto until combined. You may need to stop the machine occasionally to push the mixture down with a spatula.
3 Season with salt and pepper to taste.
4 Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week.
NOW ZERO-WASTE IT!
TIRED NUTS OR SEEDS Swap the pine nuts for 50g tired nuts or seeds, such as walnuts or pumpkin seeds. Whizz them in the food processor before adding the other ingredients, then add an extra tbsp vinegar and an extra 2–4 tbsp olive oil. Adjust the oil as needed to get the right consistency.
CARROT LEAVES Swap the basil for 65g thoroughly washed carrot leaves, plus an extra tbsp vinegar and an extra 2–4 tbsp olive oil. Carrot leaves are less juicy than basil, so adjust the amount of olive oil accordingly.
LEFTOVER PARSLEY STALKS Swap the basil for 65g leftover parsley stalks, plus an extra tbsp vinegar and an extra 2–4 tbsp olive oil.
From apple cores to kiwi skins and leftover greens, this nutrient-packed smoothie gets the most out of your fruit and veg.
SERVES 2 • 120g fresh strawberries • 120g frozen berries, such as blueberries and raspberries • 350ml nut milk, such as almond milk • 35g oats • 2 tbsp seeds, such as hemp ,chia, sesame, or flax, plus extra to garnish (optional) • 1 tbsp raw honey, plus extra to taste
FIRST MAKE THE BASE
1 Place all the ingredients in a high-speed blender and whizz until smooth.
2 Add extra honey to taste and pour the smoothie into glasses to serve. Sprinkle with extra seeds to garnish, if using.
NOW ZERO WASTE IT!
KIWI AND BANANA WITH SKINS To the base recipe, add 1 small banana – about 75g – with the skin on but tough ends removed, and half a kiwi – about 50g – with the skin on.
LEFTOVER GREENS Add about 2 handfuls of leftover greens such as chopped kale stalks, broccoli stems and leaves, celery tops and tails, lettuce, spinach, or avocado, to the base recipe.
OLD APPLES AND CORES Add 1 medium unpeeled apple or apple cores – about 120g – to the base recipe. Remove the tough stalk, but keep the pips.
READ My Zero-Waste Kitchen (£6.99 DK.com)
EXPLORE Get ideas, advice from other zero-wasters and sign up for the Zero Waste Week challenge in Sept at myzerowaste.com.