Your kitchen is messy. In every kitchen, you need to do loads of wiping, mopping, sponging, and using kitchen rolls with their seemingly never-ending paper towels is not the best idea. Have you thought about a paper-free kitchen? Mostly from the Zero Waste perspective, because discarded paper is a major component of many landfill sites, accounting for about 35% by weight of municipal solid waste (US data). The days of feeling proud because we recycle our newspapers and milk bottles are long gone.
So not worth it.
Switch to Cloth for a Paper-free Kitchen
If the cotton is organic, even better.
Note: Don’t go out and buy fancy new kitchen towels; use your old tshirts or cotton dresses that you’ve been meaning to throw away. Let’s recycle to make our zero waste kitchen essentials.
You can wash and reuse cloth numerous times. Just wash it like you do your other clothes (but separately so as to not stain the clothes that you wear). You might need stronger cleaning stuff to remove the oil and grease captured in your kitchen rags, and I suggest using baking soda and vinegar to achieve that cleanliness. Do not bring in another problem into your kitchen by going for a stronger industrial cleaning product. They are unnecessary, and cause more harm than you realise. Besides, vinegar and baking soda work just as well, without all the toxic chemicals. But ridding your kitchen of toxins happens in Step 3, so hold on until then.
A cloth rag, at the end of its lifespan, when it’s an old rag (ha!), it can be given/sold to recycling groups or, well, I’m not fond of throwing things away, but sometimes that’s all you can do. Dispose of things responsibly, though. This is why it’s important to choose, right from the beginning, materials that decompose well.
But what you can do with your used-up non-organically produced old rags of cotton cloth, instead of throwing them away, is repurpose them. Use the cloth as stuffing for your cushions and pillows, or make a rope toy for your doggy friends. There’s always some way to reuse something if you’re so inclined:)
Step 1: Replace Paper with Cloth
So, what you need to do as Step 1 is to replace all paper towels in your kitchen with cloth towels.
Don’t throw the paper towels away; just keep them in storage for now, and forget about it. A more ‘practical’ thing to do would be, of course, to wait until you’re out of paper towels, and instead of buying new rolls, start using cloth towels and rags. Do what suits you best. The important thing is to change your paper habits for cloth in your kitchen to make it zero waste.
Next, we tackle the kitchen plastic.
Step 2: Go Plastic-free
Step 3: Wormless Composting
Step 4: Waste Segregation
Step 5: Meal Planning
Advanced Zero Waste: Building Your Kitchen Herb Garden
Want to get a head-start and do it your own way? Check out these books (affiliate links):
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