Creative Ways To Reduce Kitchen Waste

By Sarah Makhluf

March 3, 2024 at 12:00 AM

Illustration by Rakib Zaman Khan

Illustration by Rakib Zaman Khan

The US has a bad reputation for wasting food, but we can still make a difference. The kitchen, the heart of many homes, is a significant source of food waste. Luckily, plenty of simple, practical ways to reduce kitchen waste exist.

The greatest threat to our planet is the belief that someone else will save it.” – Robert Swan, Author.

To help you get started, we’re sharing a few pro tips to help make your home greener and more sustainable.

1. Use Every Part of Your Fruits & Vegetables

Get creative in the kitchen by using parts of food often tossed out. Did you know you can make homemade broth from vegetable scraps or citrus peels to make marmalade? Broccoli stems, kale stems, and chard stalks can be sliced thinly and added to stir-fries, and potato, carrot, or beet peels with oil make the perfect crunchy treat.

For more inspiration, look up recipes that use every part of your fruits and vegetables.

2. Get Creative with Leftovers

Around 30% to 40% of food in the United States goes to waste, according to the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (USDA). Don’t add to the stats. Remake your leftovers into new and exciting meals with a bit of creativity. Transforming your leftover rice into an Asian-inspired egg-fried rice is a fantastic way to repurpose it. If you had roasted vegetables last night, consider blending them into a hearty soup. For leftover grains or proteins, turn them into the foundation of a nutritious salad bowl.

3. Plan Your Meals

Plan your meals at the beginning of the week to help minimize food waste. Planning makes buying only what you need easier, reducing the chances of food spoiling in your fridge. Meal prep is easier than you’d think - think of your favorite dishes and add only the necessary ingredients to your weekly grocery list. Open your pantry and fridge before you shop to double-check what you have on hand. You want to avoid buying duplicates.

You can also order your groceries online to help avoid impulse buying unnecessary items.

4. Give “Ugly” Produce a Chance

A staggering number of fruits and vegetables are destroyed because they don’t meet the grocery store's cosmetic standards. Nothing is wrong with these items. They simply don’t look “pretty.”

Imperfect produce is the misshapen, scarred, or slightly bruised fruits and veggies that farmers and grocery stores throw away because they are not deemed perfect for sale. Why buy imperfect produce? It's just as tasty and healthy and cheaper for you to buy. You can find ugly produce at your local farmer's market or sign up for a subscription service like Imperfect Foods or Misfits Market.

5. Share or Donate Unwanted Food

It's easy to share your unused food. If you have items you won’t use, give them to friends, family, or neighbors. Alternatively, you can search for food-sharing apps and programs in your community where you can donate extra food.

OLIO is the #1 food-sharing app (you can also give away household items) to help reduce food waste and build stronger communities by connecting neighbors and local businesses. Another great app is TooGoodToGo, which allows users to buy excess food from restaurants, grocery stores, and cafés for a fraction of the cost.

Local food banks are also happy to receive donations of non-perishable items.

Food banks often need the following:

●     Peanut butter

●     Canned soup

●     Canned fruit

●     Canned vegetables

●     Tuna fish

●     Beans

●     Pasta

●     Rice

●     Cereal

●     Granola bars

●     Dried fruits & nuts

6. Start Composting

At-home composting is a great way to reduce waste and give back to the environment. Composting reduces kitchen waste by turning your old food scraps into nutrient-rich soil. You only need a compost bin or pile, green and organic materials (like food scraps, leaves, and yard waste), and patience. The materials naturally break down into nutrient-rich compost for your garden or plants. It's a great way to reduce waste and create a sustainable fertilizer for your plants.

Join The Conversation

Use these creative kitchen hacks to make your kitchen more sustainable and efficient. Learn more at Ecomilli.

Together, we can make a difference, one meal at a time.

Readers curious about adopting 'Waste Management,' Ecomilli offers you to read Harmful Waste Generation Set to Jump, U.N. Warns.


Ecomilli, we're on a mission to transform the world into a greener and more socially just place. We believe that everyone has the power to make a difference, and we're here to help you do just that.

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