Zero Waste Cooking: A Guide to Reducing Food Waste in the Kitchen

I’m so excited to share with you all about the Zero Waste Movement and how it can be applied to cooking. As someone who’s passionate about living sustainably, I’ve learned that reducing food waste in the kitchen is a great place to start. And let me tell you, it’s not as difficult as you might think!

In this article, I’ll be sharing my personal tips and tricks for zero waste cooking, from planning and shopping mindfully to cooking with leftovers and using food scraps. So let’s get started!

What is zero waste cooking in terms of reduce reuse recycle?

Zero waste cooking is all about getting creative and making the most of what you’ve got in the kitchen. It’s all about using every last bit of your ingredients and giving those leftovers some love. The idea is to plan your meals, store your food properly, and get creative with the scraps. You can turn veggie peels into tasty broths or use up leftover rice to make a stir fry.

Not only is zero waste cooking great for the environment (less waste means fewer greenhouse gasses and a happier planet), it’s also good for your wallet. By using up everything you’ve got, you’ll save money and avoid having to throw out perfectly good food.

So why not give it a try? Get creative and see how you can make the most of what you’ve got. Your taste buds (and the planet) will thank you!

How do you cook yourself without wasting food?

Here are some principles of zero waste cooking that can help you reduce food waste and enjoy more sustainable, healthy meals:

  1. Plan your meals: Take a few minutes each week to plan out your meals and make a grocery list based on what you already have in your pantry, fridge, and freezer. This helps you avoid buying ingredients you don’t need and reduces the risk of food waste.
  2. Shop with a purpose: When you’re at the grocery store, stick to your list and avoid impulse buys. Also, opt for locally grown, in-season produce, which tends to be fresher and less expensive.
  3. Store food properly: Proper storage can extend the life of your food. Store fruits and vegetables in the crisper, and keep leftovers in airtight containers in the refrigerator.
  4. Use all parts of the ingredients: When cooking, try to use every part of the ingredient, such as the stems and leaves of vegetables. You can also use food scraps, like vegetable peelings, to make a flavorful broth.
  5. Cook with ingredients that have a longer shelf life: Choose ingredients that have a longer shelf life, such as root vegetables and dried beans, so that you have less food waste.
  6. Cook in bulk: If you have time, cook larger portions of food and freeze the leftovers for another day. This saves time and reduces the amount of food waste you generate.
  7. Compost: Finally, consider starting a compost bin to dispose of food waste in a more sustainable way. Composting helps reduce waste and can also be used to fertilize your garden.

By following these principles, you can cook delicious meals while reducing food waste and helping to create a more sustainable future.

A few resources to get you started on your zero waste journey

Whether you’re new to zero waste cooking or are a seasoned pro, there are countless recipes available online and in cookbooks that can help you reduce waste in the kitchen. Below are a few resources I’ve used as inspiration:

  1. Zero Waste Home: This website is run by Bea Johnson, the pioneer of the zero waste movement, and it offers a wide variety of recipes that are easy to follow and made with minimal waste.
  2. Pinterest: Pinterest is a great resource for finding all types of recipes, including zero waste cooking recipes. Simply search for “zero waste cooking” or “zero waste recipes” to find a plethora of ideas.
  3. Cookbooks: There are also several cookbooks dedicated to zero waste cooking, including “The Zero Waste Cookbook“, “Waste Not: How to Get the Most from Your Food” and “The Waste-Free Kitchen Handbook” by Dana Gunders.
  4. Food blogs: Many food bloggers are passionate about reducing waste and share their zero waste recipes on their blogs. Check out blogs like Zero-Waste Chef and Going Zero Waste for recipe ideas.
  5. Online cooking communities: There are also online cooking communities, such as food forums, where you can find and share zero waste recipes with like-minded individuals.

With so many resources available, finding zero waste cooking recipes is easier than ever!

Waste-free grocery shopping

Going grocery shopping with the goal of reducing waste is a fun and empowering experience! To get started, I like to plan out the meals I want to make for the week and make a list of the ingredients I need. This helps me avoid impulse buying and only purchase what I actually need. Another tip is to try shopping in bulk. I love visiting bulk stores and bringing my own containers to fill with ingredients like grains, nuts, and spices. 

This way, I can minimize packaging waste and save money in the process. Also, I’m trying to buy what’s in season and go for unpackaged options. I’ve learned to embrace imperfect produce like slightly misshapen or overripe fruits and veggies, which are often discounted but still perfectly delicious. I also try to support local farmers by shopping at farmers’ markets and buying locally grown produce. By keeping these tips in mind, I can make my grocery shopping experience more sustainable, reduce waste, and eat delicious meals all week long!

How to properly store food without plastic

I love using reusable containers like glass jars or stainless steel containers, instead of disposable options like plastic bags or aluminum foil. And I’ve learned a few tips and tricks for proper food storage, like separating fruits and veggies and storing food at the right temperature. But the best way to reduce waste, in my opinion, is to plan my meals and only buy what I actually need. And when I do have leftovers, I get creative and find new ways to use them, or freeze them for later. 

Food scraps: what to do with them

Instead of throwing away food scraps, there are several ways to make the most of them and reduce waste. Here are a few options:

  1. Composting: Composting is a great way to turn food scraps into nutrient-rich soil for your garden. You can compost fruits and veggies, coffee grounds, eggshells, and more.
  2. Feeding to animals: If you have a backyard, you can feed food scraps to chickens, rabbits, or pigs. Just make sure to check with local regulations first.
  3. Making stock: Food scraps like vegetable peels, onion skins, and herb stems can be used to make a flavorful stock. Simply add them to a pot with water, simmer for a few hours, and strain.
  4. Growing new food: Some food scraps, like garlic cloves and romaine lettuce, can be regrown from their scraps. Simply place the scraps in a bowl with water and wait for roots to grow.
  5. Donating to a food bank: If you have excess food that you can’t use, consider donating it to a local food bank or soup kitchen. They will be grateful for the extra help in feeding those in need.


Wrap it up! Zero waste cooking is a fun and meaningful way to do our part in saving the planet. By using a little imagination and some smart strategies like planning meals, shopping smart, and getting creative with food scraps, we can make every bite count and feel good about reducing waste in our kitchens.