More than likely, the kitchen is the room in our homes that creates the most waste. We are constantly bringing in new stuff, and we are constantly taking out the trash created from it. The garbage can in the kitchen generally fills up much faster than the one in the bathroom or bedroom, and usually, it is much larger. So, for those of us looking to seriously reduce the waste we create, the kitchen might just be the best room to start.

Luckily, kitchen waste falls into many categories that are conducive for productive, useful waste cycling. There are lots of compostable items, such as paper bags, cardboard boxes, and food scraps. There are tons of recyclable and reusable things, like tin cans and glass bottles. There is even uncontaminated water that could be redirected into useful measures.

Why if there were a plan, then there would be numerous things we could do to keep kitchen waste out of the landfill.

Compost it

Composting needs to become a second-nature, knee-jerk reaction in homes and restaurants. Where there is food waste, there is the potential to create compost. With said compost, we can grow more food. It’s amazing! Plus, we can compost lots of other things, too: paper towels, paper bags, cardboard, paper napkins, belly button lint (probably shouldn’t dig that out in the kitchen, though).

Vermicompost it

Source: Homestead and Chill/Youtube

Some people worry that compost bins are smelly or that they take up too much space. Well, another option would be a worm farm, or vermicompost bin. These can be small enough to fit under the sink, and they decompose food scraps much more quickly. Plus, the worm castings (a fancy word for poop) is even better than compost for boosting garden fertility.

Bury it

For those who can’t deal with composting or vermicomposting the biodegradable stuff, there is always the option to bury it. When food scraps and even paper products are buried in a garden bed, they will attract worms and other soil life, which will help it decompose right then and there. Burying it will also douse any smells that could occur above ground.

Repurpose it

Of course, not all trash is compostable. Some of it can be repurposed. Old tin cans can become interesting crafts. Spent wine bottles can be reimagined as vases, glasses, candle holders, and tons of other things. Tetra packs have potentially useful fates. Even plastic bottles can be repurposed for good causes.

Reuse it

Source: Sustainably Vegan/Youtube

Lots of the trash and recycling we create in the kitchen are containers, and containers are really useful. Old jars can function as safe food storage containers for leftovers. Glass bottles and plastic jugs can be reused for holding freshwater (Don’t buy a bunch of bottled water!) or homemade drinks—kombucha, iced tea, lemonade, ginger beer—or infused vinegar, oil or booze.

Recycle it

At some point and sometimes, repurposing and reusing can get a bit overwhelming. We can only deal with so many tin can pencil holders and plant pots. The ideal, then, becomes to minimize our reliance on these items, and recycle what we do produce. At least, then, it hasn’t become trash, and less energy and resource will be required to produce the next bottle or can.

Graywater it

Wastewater is another, perhaps overlooked, component of kitchen waste we produce. Oftentimes, our kitchen wastewater is completely reusable as is. For example, the water we use to watch vegetables is fine for watering the fresh herbs growing on the windowsill. The water we use to mop the floor (with clean, green products) might help out a tree in the yard or the compost bin. Or, it could be used to flush the toilet.

Burn it

For those with wood-burning fireplaces, inside or out, old paper products can be collected to help with starting fires in the winter or campfires in the summer. Rather than recycling the paper or cardboard (or composting it), some of it—especially clean stuff—can be saved to use as a fire-starter or to make it into paper logs instead of buying chemically-laced versions at the store.

If we can realize a world in which our approach to kitchen waste is more like this as opposed to a lone garbage bin or garbage-recycling duo, then we can all but eliminate kitchen waste from the landfill. That’s more space for flower gardens, food forests, and frolicking! Wouldn’t the world just be a better place with those things instead?

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