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Zero Waste Kitchen Guide, easy to make swaps

Zero Waste Kitchen Guide, easy to make swaps

If you’ve chosen to be more sustainable at home, your kitchen is key to your success. As they say, the kitchen is the heart of the home.

Most kitchens across the country are full of plastic food packaging, plastic cooking utensils, single use wipes, and harsh chemical cleaners. Small changes made in the kitchen will have a huge impact on your sustainable lifestyle.

Here are some great zero waste kitchen ideas to help you create a waste free kitchen, from shopping and cooking to dining and cleaning.

First up... Your Pantry

Pantry Staples

Buy package free from your local refill/wholefoods store. Buying your goods from one of these stores is one of the main things you can do to achieve a plastic-free kitchen. Collect some jars, containers and bottles to take with you on your visit. Most bulk stores like Refill Nation will tare your empty containers so you can fill directly into them. It's amazing what these stores stock, your local bulk store probably has dry goods like nuts, seeds, beans, rice, flour, spices, coffee beans, tea leaves, popcorn and other foods that you can buy and put in your own reusable containers. Refill Nation in NZ also has swap milk, peanut butter machine and loose frozen fruit & dumplings.

Fruit & Vegies

Invest in some cotton produce bags and head to your local market or green grocer. Most green grocers stock their fruit and vege without packaging which means you can pop it straight into your own produce bags. Not only will you feel great about leaving without any extra packaging but you are likely supporting a small business. If your grocer has something prepackaged ask if they have any loose items out the back.


Not all Packaging is Equal

For items you can't find without packaging, always choose options that come in packaging that you can either repurpose or recycle. In most cases tin, glass or card are the best options as they are widely recycled.

Go Plant-based

It is not just how your pantry items are packaged its also the the items themselves. Try to opt for plant based or vegetarian options where possible. Livestock is one of the biggest contributors leading to climate change. If you simply can't give up meat and dairy perhaps look at adding a few plant based cooking days to your week.

Cleaning Products

It's likely your local bulk store also offers cleaning product refills, this will save you money and plastic by not having to purchase a new container every time. When given the option always choose a plant based cleaner.


It's crazy to think of the waste that is associated with the drinks we consume. From milk, beer, wine & soda bottles to tea bags and coffee capsules. Believe it or super easy to remove this waste with a few changes.

Invest in a soda stream for your pop, not only will this save you a heap of money but it will reduce waste overnight.

More and more craft liquor stores are propping up that offer flagon refills for beer and bottle refills on wine, again this saves money and you might get to find a new favorite. 

Ditch the tea bag and coffee capsule for the real deal, use a tea pot or cup strainer for tea and a plunger for your coffee. Again you will save heaps and have much better drink game!


Now you have all your fabulous package free pantry and fridge items you need to transfer them into delicious meals. Here are our tips to for waste free cooking.


Invest in some good quality pots & pans, these items should last a lifetime so buy once, buy well. Our tip is to go with options with a heavy base as they generally are better quality and give an even cooking surface.

Choose wooden utensils & chopping blocks where possible, these are made from natural raw materials free of crude oil. They are durable and at the end of their life can generally be composted.

Once you have made your yummy meals, be sure to save your leftovers in reusable containers. Pro tip, pop the date on your container so you know when you put it in the fridge/freezer. Too many times left overs are tossed because we are unsure if they are still good. Also be sure to make the choice between your freezer & fridge depending on when you think you might eat the left overs.


Coolies, so you have your groceries, equipment & cooking zero waste. Now to deal with any scraps, or cooking mishaps. This is when the trusty compost comes in, don't panic, it's not as hard as it might seem. There are so many resources online to help get you set up. Whether you have a townhouse, apartment or farm you have the ability to compost. There are all sorts of methods ranging from a small bucket system to a larger compost heap. Do your research to see what is best for you.

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