The Zero Kitchen Waste Project

I love the idea of creating a daily zero kitchen waste project.  It’s a challenge to see how little I can put in my garbage can each day. I really get a kick out of the ritual of planting the seeds, picking the produce, eating it, and then recycling the scraps and waste into vegetable broth and compost for the next crops.

This whole blog is about my journey to grow my own food year round, and create a self sufficient home system to produce healthy, organic food in an environmentally friendly way. I approach it like a fun, daily activity.

So what happens daily in my kitchen…

Here you see a fresh garden salad made with romaine, purple leaf lettuce, Swiss chard, cucumbers, and carrots.

Fresh Garden Lettuce Salad
Fresh Garden Lettuce Salad

What happens to the left over scraps?

  1. I usually save the leftover onion ends, carrot peel and ends in a gallon zip lock bag in my freezer. When I’m doing food prep, I also add celery ends and leaves, leeks, tomato, parsley stems, and other compatible herb scraps like chives, sage, and garlic. When the bag is full, I dump it in a large pot, cover it with water, and let it simmer on the stove for a hour. Then I strain out the solid vegetable matter and freeze the vegetable broth to use for cooking. The leftover solid vegetable matter goes into the compost.
Vegetable Stock Bag
Vegetable Stock Bag

2. The remaining scraps (See #3 for exception) get saved in my kitchen compost bucket. When full, it gets taken out to one of my compost systems. For more information about my current compost methods, check out this blog post.

Kitchen Compost Bucket
Kitchen Compost Bucket

3. Certain delectable kitchen scraps go to one of several canines on the kitchen clean floor patrol. My lab Pepper loves all fresh veggie and fruit scraps.

Canine Kitchen Floor Patrol
Canine Kitchen Floor Patrol

There are other ways I save leftover prepared food. We freeze single servings for “brown bag” lunches, multiple servings for another dinner, and multiple tiny servings of rice, vegetables, and pasta can be frozen in a container to make soup.

I think if we each seriously look at our food choices in relation to where it comes from and where it’s going, we can make better decisions for our health and the health of our biosphere. It all starts with one person or family. A kitchen garden on the patio, in the backyard, a community garden project, or buying from local farmers seasonally is the start of eating with zero waste and lowering the miles your food needs to travel to your table.

My lifestyle has more areas to improve on zero waste. I take my lunch and reusable water bottle every day to work, but I still commute 25 minutes 4 days a week. The challenge is to find employment closer so I can ride a bicycle, walk to work, or work from home. I can also buy more in bulk with less packaging.

My hope in sharing my journey is that others will want to get in on the movement to grow their own food in the space they have, no matter how small. Once you start on this happy path, other healthy changes magically take place.

I’ve created a garden planner PDF with the information you need to easily create your own delicious year round garden. My free planner includes finding your planting zone, first and last frost dates for your specific location, a seed planting time table for over 30 vegetables and herbs, and a garden planner you can print.

Just enter your first name and email below to receive your free copy.

Happy Gardening!

~ Haynes

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