The impact we make on the earth can be either positive or negative. For years and years, our impact has leaned more toward the negative end of the spectrum rather than positive. People are finding that they are wanting to change things in their lives to make lessen their negative impact and truly change the world. One of the biggest ways you can do this is by learning how to maintain a zero-waste fridge!
How to have a zero-waste fridge
Think about the amount of plastic that is used every day in the kitchen. How many times have you opened up a block of cheese to then wrap it in plastic and place it back in the fridge? Instead, try beeswax wraps. It is a perfect alternative to plastic when transitioning to a zero-waste fridge!
When using these wraps, it is a smart idea to wrap whatever it is you are storing in the cloth and pop it into another container such as a glass jar. This preserves the product very well.
Another way you can use beeswax cloth is by simply placing it over bowls rather than covering the bowl with plastic wrap. These cloths are typically reusable so you can lessen your impact in the kitchen!
We all know the typical plastic Tupperware used for our leftovers. Here’s the thing though, glass containers are perfect for storing leftovers! I am sure you are familiar with the age-old problem of leftovers, like spaghetti, staining your plastic bowls. Then, you most likely toss it. With glass containers, this isn’t an issue. That means less waste to end up in landfills! Talk about the ultimate zero-waste fridge!
Plus, glass containers are great for storing your produce. When shopping, you most likely place your produce in one of the standard plastic bags the store provides and toss it straight into the fridge. Have you ever done this and a few days later notice your peppers shriveling? Produce will do better outside of these bags!
Speaking of the plastic bags you place produce in at stores, why not switch entirely over to a zero-waste kitchen and start using cloth bags. You can purchase cloth bags to put your produce in from the moment you pick them off the shelves. This way, you eliminate the use of plastic bags and avoid throwing them into the trash after getting home.
The earth will thank you for not adding more waste to landfills!
When it comes to having a zero-waste fridge, buying plastic-free is obvious! We have to include it though because buying plastic-free involves more than simply ensuring limited amounts of plastic use in your kitchen. It starts with buying products and food at the store!
There are many ways you can do this. We have included buying cloth bags as a perfect first step. However, this can even mean opting for a glass bottle of milk instead of plastic. Or, say you are popping into the gas station for a drink. Maybe look at the glass bottle of your favorite drink instead of the plastic!
This way, you can use the glass jar for things afterwards. With plastic, you are more likely to throw it away after its use. With glass, you can wash it easily and use it later to store more food!
Don’t wash produce before storing
Washing your produce before storing them, believe it or not, can make them more susceptible to spoiling before you use them. Plus, many people wash their produce before storing it and again before using it! This is unnecessary waste that could be harming your fruits and veggies. So while it may seem like a good idea, it isn’t helping your desire to have a zero-waste kitchen.
Instead, pop your produce into the appropriate container to store them and only wash them immediately before their use!
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Store food together correctly
After buying fruits and vegetables from the store, we usually just throw them right into the fridge or onto our counter without a second thought. Many people don’t know that storing your produce next to one another can have harmful effects on them.
It is usually fruits that produce what is known as ethylene gas that spoils produce faster. This gas acts like a ripening hormone that speeds up the decaying process.
The following fruits and veggies are those that you don’t want to store other produce by unless you want them to ripen faster:
- Ripe bananas
Know where to store your food
Knowing how to store your food is an important step in preserving their life. If you don’t know how to store them properly, they will go bad faster meaning there is a higher chance of your needing to throw it away before use!
Some popular foods and how to store them include:
Apples, avocados, melons, pears, and mangoes should all be stored outside of the fridge. They can all rest happily on your counter!
Berries, grapes, bell peppers, and citrus fruits like oranges should all go in the fridge. Using one of our many methods, these produce items can all be placed in glass containers to help keep them fresh!
Surprisingly, a staple produce item that many get wrong is leafy greens! Where do you store them? It is said that leafy greens do better in some water right out in the open on your counter!
Finally, we have delicious potatoes! For a zero-waste kitchen, the optimal place to put potatoes to expand their lifespan is in a cool, dark spot! This is the same for both garlic and onion but it is crucial to never store your potatoes next to your onions. Why? Well, onions secrete what is known as ethylene gas which can cause your potatoes to sprout!
Store bread the right way
When purchasing fresh bread, knowing how to store it can make or break how long you have it. If you buy your bread in a reusable fabric bag, you can simply keep it in this bag and store it in a wooden bread bin or your cupboard.
If you buy your bread from a bakery and it is not wrapped in a bag, you can wrap it in your own cloth and place it in the same bin!
With bread, you mustn’t have too much airflow around the bread because this is what causes mold to occur.
If you have bread that you don’t plan on using for some time, you can easily pop it into the freezer. Looking into a nice freezer storage bag may be helpful however so you can avoid freezer burn and having to throw it out!
This tackles all areas of your zero-waste kitchen when it comes to the bread you purchase.
Buy fresh and stay fresh with a zero-waste fridge
I can’t tell you how many times I have purchased various food to only have them go bad in the fridge before using them! At this point, there is no other option but to pitch it.
It can be frustrating and guilt provoking.
I mean, who wants to throw away food? No one!
Learning how exactly to change your lifestyle and have a zero-waste fridge is crucial! We use our kitchen every single day. Making this transition is one of the biggest things you can do to help and love our planet!