food storage

Making simple changes to the way you store dry ingredients, stash freezer meals, and decant leftovers means you have the power to create a massive reduction in the amount of waste your family produces. Shifting your food storage to more sustainable options is super simple — and doesn’t have to cost a penny!

Here are three great tips to gets you started on your way to a zero-waste kitchen!

1. Use what you’ve got.

Often the most sustainable storage option is the one you already have in your kitchen cupboards, and for many people, this will inevitably include some variety of plastic storage containers — that’s OK! Even if you are committing to a plastic-free life, please don’t feel as though you need to throw everything out and start from scratch. Your plastic containers have already been produced, packaged, and sold, so you may as well use them as long as you can —  doing so allows you to avoid buying something new to replace them.

Just remember to avoid any potential for adverse health issues by not using plastic in your microwave or to store hot food.

2. Jars!

Jars are my all-time #1 kitchen storage device, I use them for pretty much everything — dry ingredients like rice, quinoa, or shredded coconut, staples like coffee and tea, and even leftovers like soup or salad.

reusable jars
Easy, safe storage in cleaned out food jars.

The key is to avoid the temptation to have a perfectly Pinterest-worthy pantry with rows of identical brand-new Mason jars with perfectly printed labels. Simply wash out and reuse jars from pasta sauce, almond butter, pickles — you name it! — and create simple, easy-to-replace labels with washi tape and permanent marker. The result is efficient, convenient, and waste-free storage that looks pretty darn cute, too, if I do say so myself.

3. Ditch the disposables.

One of the easiest ways to cut down kitchen waste is to stop using disposable food storage products like plastic wrap, aluminum foil, and zip-top plastic baggies. Replacements are easy to find and they work incredibly well.

beeswax food wrap
You can reuse beeswax food wraps over and over.

A natural Canadian product called Abeego has completely replaced plastic wrap in my house, the adorable vintage-looking sheets are made from hemp and cotton cloth infused with beeswax and natural oils. Abeego is flexible and conforms to cover bowls, wrap cheese, or seal the ends of cut veggies. It is almost infinitely reusable, and you can simply compost it when it wears out! Similarly, reusable fabric snack and sandwich bags have replaced ziptop bags, they’re simple to use, great for throwing in a purse or backpack to snack on the go, and you simply pop them in the washing machine as needed.

With a little ingenuity, sustainable food storage can become simple, esthetically pleasing, and endlessly reusable.

Feature image courtesy of Ella’s Kitchen Company. Remaining images courtesy of Madeleine Somerville. 

By Madeleine Somerville

Madeleine Somerville is the author of All You Need Is Less: An Eco-Friendly Guide to Guilt-Free Green Living and Stress-Free Simplicity. She is a writer, wannabe hippie and lover of soft cheeses. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her daughter. You can also find Madeleine at her blog, Sweet Madeleine.