Corporate wellness insights

8 Steps Toward a Zero-Waste Kitchen

Posted by Colleen Sideck, MPH, RDN on 04.03.2019

“Zero-waste” is not just a trend; it’s a movement. Zero-waste retailers are popping up across the country and on the Internet. From groceries to personal products to kitchen supplies, stores are recognizing the need to reduce contributions to landfills and oceans and preserve the state of the environment.

Zero-waste living involves maximizing recycling, minimizing waste, and choosing products that are made to be reused or composted. Waste-free living has obvious benefits to the environment, but it’s also an economical choice, as choosing reusable products over disposable items can save you money over time. If you’re interested in getting on board with the zero-waste movement, the kitchen can be an impactful place to start. There are many disposable plastic kitchen supplies like bottles, straws, utensils, and storage bags available for our needs, but reusable versions of these items can be just as easy and convenient to use.

Even small changes to your kitchen supplies can help to lessen your environmental footprint. Do you have any of the following in your kitchen? Consider using some or all of these 8 eco-friendly substitutes to reduce the waste coming from your kitchen!

If You Use…    



Paper bags Reusable lunch box Choose between a cooler-style lunchbox or bento-style lunchbox depending on your needs. A cooler-style lunchbox can be packed with reusable containers of any size, while bento-style boxes contain sealable compartments that separate food items and eliminate the need for further packaging.


Plastic bottles Reusable bottles Consider an insulated bottle if you like your liquids to stay cold or warm for longer. Infuser water bottles can be great options if you prefer to add some flavor from fruits, vegetables, or herbs to your water.


Plastic utensils Reusable utensils Wrap silverware in a napkin to take on the go. Some bento box or lunchbox kits come with an attachable, sized-to-fit set of reusable utensils.


Disposable straws Reusable straws Straws come in stainless steel, glass, or silicone options. As more cities and businesses ban plastic straws, these could be helpful to have on hand when you’re out and about.


Paper towels Dish cloths  Buy a multi-pack to have enough towels on hand to clean up messes between washes.


Paper napkins Cloth napkins Air dry napkins or fit them into an existing dryer load to maximize environmental benefits. In addition to being eco-friendly, cloth napkins hold up better than paper napkins for messy meals!


Plastic wrap Bowl covers or food wraps Look for covers or wraps made from food-safe cotton, silicone, or beeswax paper. Silicone covers are a microwave-safe options.


Plastic storage bags Reusable food bags or containers Silicone or FDA-grade PEVA bags are leak-proof options that come in a variety of sizes. When selecting food storage containers, choose options that are BPA-free. Glass containers or jars can be a trendy, visually pleasant way to store food.


Colleen is a member of the WCS Health Coaching team. As a Registered Dietitian, she is passionate about our team's ability to guide employees towards sustainable, healthy habits that help them lead their fullest life—inside and outside the workplace.