2012-03-09

Pantry and fridge practices of a zero waste couple

Apples kept in a fruit bowl on the bar. Waste = little stickers.
We can get bulk loose leaf tea from Whole Foods on 91st and we use our reusable tin that we got from Teavana.
A glimpse into our freezer: Vodka for certain recipes/home remedies, Amaretto for, well, the occasional consumption,  a glass jelly jar repurposed for walnut storage, and no, we no longer have a bucket of Margarita mix, but it is filled with ice to take up more space in the freezer as to try to conserve some energy. Seeing as how we rarely use our freezer, perhaps we need to get another bucket. Waste = eventually lids from alcohol.
Inside our refrigerator: In the door, there is the butter door in which we keep homemade butter. We have a bottle of ketchup that is who knows how old. In the future we will get a smaller bottle made of glass if we need ketchup, or better yet, just make our own. Caesar dressing in glass. Grape jelly in glass (I also make a point to watch that no high fructose corn syrup, white flour, saturated fats, trans fats/hydrogenated oils, etc. are in any of our ingredients). I hope to try my hand at making and canning my own jelly in the future. Then we have some homemade cinnamon butter, a bit of chocolate in the form of chocolate covered coffee beans, and a plastic bag of gluten we are using up (and then we can start getting gluten in bulk and not from a plastic bag). The bottom drawer holds glasses of spaghetti sauce, salsa, yeast, pizza sauce, pickles, and fig spread. Waste = eventually lids from any jars that will not be reused, the plastic bag of gluten that is phased out, and the bit of foil pictured from some chocolate.
Inside on the shelves: Salad spinner holds our spinach. We do sometimes get some small fruits that only come in plastic which we recycle at least, but still. Some other random fruit and veggies are there in mesh bags and just on the shelf. Some sundrops (natural m&m's) that we used in some cookie recipes are pictured, as well as some local milk in glass that they take back. We have some eggs in a recyclable carton (and we now get local eggs that are from free range chickens), meat in a jar, beans in some Tupperware, cheese in Pyrex, a few drink bottles, and then Pyrex of other random goodies like fruits/veggies/etc. Pyrex has pretty much been vital in our zero waste journey. They are just as important as the jars for sure. Waste = the metal tie from the spinach, any stickers from fruit, the price sticker on the meat jar, and lids from glass bottles.
Ah the pantry: Bulk items are in glass jars, we phased out the Pam spray (hoping to get a little spritz bottle to put grapeseed oil in), and those paper cups are leftover from our wedding three years ago (we use them sparingly here and there until they are gone). When we run out of a spice, we replace it with a glass bottle (simply organic brand) and we can then reuse the glass when they are empty again by getting spices and seasonings directly from bulk. I'm sure that that box of cocoa powder and baking powder will last me for a very long time, but will have to investigate better options in the future. Waste = phased out Pam container, eventually the cocoa and baking powder containers (might be able to recycle some of them), paper cups, lids from phased out plastic bottles of spices, the gift foil container that was purchased in the intention of giving food to someone, but then we just ended up taking the food to them and eating with them.
Pantry continued: That plastic container of popcorn kernels has been phased out and we can get popcorn kernels from bulk put into our glass. We get peanut butter from the grinder at the store, it is literally just ground up nuts, nothing added. We got some sweet potatoes in mesh, some tuna in a can (still not sure if I can be willing to give this up yet) and some other soups in cans. I think we will try to limit cans as much as possible for health. They are currently recycled. Random nuts, snacks, grains, etc. in jars. Phased out the plastic bag of rice as we can now get rice in bulk. Waste = Lid from plastic popcorn container, plastic bag from rice that is phased out.

Well there you have it. Sorry this was on the long side. Comments/questions welcomed.