5 Easy Steps to Reducing Kitchen Waste

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In an effort to go GREEN, The Standup Gourmet™ recommends five easy steps to help reduce kitchen waste:

1. Try reducing your paper towel consumption:

  •  Have plenty of dish towels/hand clothes on hand. For sanitation purposes, make sure not to cross use your towels by keeping the hand, dish, and countertop towels separate from each other. We suggest washing or switching out the towels frequently.

  • If you do not have a dishwasher, then we suggest letting your dishes air dry after they have been hand washed. This way you are conserving water and electricity by not having to frequently wash dishtowels. Water consumption and over use of electricity is a growing problem, so make sure to use your best judgment when it comes to making environmental household changes.

  • Another idea is to wipe down your dirty countertops with a sponge as an alternative to paper towels. Again, keep your sponges separate. Use a different sponge for your countertops then the one you would use for your dishes.


Betty was guilty of using an over abundant amount of paper towels during the cooking process. Cut an onion, wash your hands, grab a paper towel, toss. Chop some garlic, wash your hands, grab a paper towel, toss. Rinse some parsley, grab a paper towel, pat it dry, toss. Fry some chicken, pour out oil, wash the pot, grab a paper towel, dry, toss. We can keep going, but we do not want to embarrass Betty too badly even though she was an undeniable tree killer. It is a process but she is finally coming around.

2. Save an empty coffee can in order to recycle fruit and vegetable trimmings. Why throw out those rinds, peels, trimmings, discolored leaves, egg shells, used coffee grinds and filters, used tea bags etc.? As you are in the kitchen preparing, instead of throwing those items into the garbage, throw them into the coffee can, and then close the lid. When you have time, you can transfer them to your outdoor compost bin. See The Misfit’s Manual to Making the Most of Compost to get the process started.

3. Make sure to set up two garbage bins, one for your city recycling (i.e. tin, aluminum, plastic, paper, glass, etc.) and one for everything else (i.e. meat and poultry scraps, etc.).

4. Recycle your store bought glass jars or bottles in order to use them for storing other foods, arts and crafts, home improvement notions, etc. Why throw out something that actually cost you money? We all forget that every time we purchase something that is packaged, we are paying for it. The packaging, especially glass, is not free with purchase. Visit 8 Ways to Recycle Glass Jars to give you some useful ideas.

5. Embrace your garbage disposal by adding your leftovers or spoiled foods instead of throwing them into the trash. Make sure to read the consumer manual to determine which foods should not be put into the disposal. We suggest, not adding fats, meats or meat bones and anything that will break down into a string-like consistency, like celery or onion peels. This will clog your disposal and you will have to call the fix-it guy to repair it. Read the manual, save some money.

When can I use paper towels? In order to minimize cross contamination, you may use paper towels when you are dealing with raw meats and poultry. You should dispose of them quickly then sanitize the workspace with a mixture of four parts water to one part bleach or ammonia. Once the workspace has been sanitized, you can dry with your countertop towels. You may want to look into purchasing biodegradable and/or recycled paper towels.



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