6 hacks for a more sustainable, waste-free kitchen


Now is the time to rethink how eco-friendly our kitchens are, and you can switch-up the way you cook to be more sustainable with these hacks

Family Returning Home From Shopping Trip Unpacking Plastic Free Grocery Bags

Food waste is one of the biggest problems facing the world to date. Around 40% of food (2.5 billion tonnes) produced globally goes to waste - 9.52 million tonnes of which comes from the UK.  

And that’s also money going down the drain. The Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP) report found that some £700 worth of food, per family, could have been each year.  

The good news is we are getting better at cutting back on food waste. Since 2007, Brits have reduced the food they throw away by 1.7 million tonnes.    But there’s more to be done. Make your kitchen waste-free with these six simple hacks. 


Ditch the clingfilm

We all know we should avoid plastic packaging, but cling film often slips under the radar, as 1.2 billion metres of clingfilm is used in UK households every year.  

“When storing leftovers, we default to clingfilm or tin foil to cover our foods and keep them fresh for longer,” explains Crista.  

“However, we can't reuse clingfilm, and rather than Tupperware containers filling up our cupboards and missing lids you haven’t seen for months, I use reusable silicone stretch lids that go over bowls. 

“This way you don’t use excess water from washing up, as you can store the food in whatever you cooked or served it in.” 

But did you know there are even more alternatives for this staple household item? Beeswax wraps and biodegradable clingfilm are great options as an eco-friendly replacement that helping towards a plastic-free lifestyle.

Vitality is a business that drives positive change. We reward people for making and sustaining healthier choices. But healthy people also need a healthy environment.

Find out how Vitality is helping to drive a healthier, more sustainable future here.

Try seasonal eating

The wonderful thing about supermarkets is being able to enjoy foods from around the world, yet a lot of us have grown accustomed to accessing these all year round.  

From strawberries to spinach, most fresh foods on supermarket shelves are shipped or flown in and are responsible for huge amounts of CO2 emissions – transportation in and around the UK result in 19 million tonnes of carbon dioxide being released ever year that’s the equivalent of 5.5 million cars

6hackstoamoresustainablewastefreekitchen3 1resized

This is why incorporating seasonal foods into your meals significantly shrinks your carbon footprint. There are seasonal fruit and veg calendars found online that can guide you through the months of the year.  

Crista highly recommends eating what’s in season, she says: “Source food locally where possible, then you and your food have travelled fewer miles.”  Not only will you be supporting UK farmers but enjoying fresher produce too.  

Grow your own veggies

What’s even better than buying local in-season fruit and veg? Eating your own homegrown produce.  There are so many reasons why growing our own food is a great option – it can bring both environmental and personal benefits.

All that is needed is some outdoor space (big or small), seeds, water and time to grow.   Reports from 2020 show that the UK imported 84% of its fruit and 44% of its vegetables, but growing your own fruit and veg allows you to control what ends up on our plates.  

Playing outside in the garden for 30 minutes a day has also been seen to promote better sleep and mood. You can spend this time with friends and family outdoors, and at the end of a day enjoy the fruits of your labour, all while costing a fraction of the price.  

Not to mention your own freshly grown produce will taste all that much sweeter.

Composting and wormery 

It’s estimated that 40% of wasted food from UK kitchens ends up in landfill, producing harmful methane gases as it decomposes, which contribute to global warming.  

A major step towards reducing your food waste is by composting, either via your local council or in your garden. So, instead of sending vegetable cuttings to the land of garbage, composting boosts the health of your plants and veggie garden. 

All this goodness left in the food that we deem as waste “can provide for something else,” says Crista. As she uses the excess vegetable matter and green waste for her wormery.  

“Having worms in your soil is a good reflection of the soil’s health, when they break the food down they provide compost and worm tea [a natural liquid fertiliser] as a by-product, which is great for the herbs and vegetables I grow.”  

If you’re new to wormeries, there are great worm-based composting resources online that will help you get started.  

The new way to supermarket shopping

As you wheel your trolley into a food store, you can’t help but recognise the number of items wrapped in plastic packaging.  

Over 500,000 tonnes of plastic food packaging is used in UK homes each year, with less than half of this being recycled. If plastic packaging is improperly disposed it can generate colossal harm to our ecosystem. 

6hackstoamoresustainablewastefreekitchen4 1resized

Although there are steps being taken to improve this, fruit and vegetables must be kept fresh often using this toxic material – especially when transported across the globe. 

Most UK supermarkets have a strategy in place for removing or switching to alternatives to plastic packaging by 2025. But there are plenty of ways we can minimise this impact, here we provide three: 

1. Opt for refill items 

Another way to lower your plastic consumption is to refill where you can. Waitrose’s Unpacked offer kitchen condiment refills such as olive oil and vinegar, loose dry items like pasta, rice, lentils, cereals, nuts and seeds, and kitchen cleaning products such as washing-up liquid.  

2. Rescue wonky veg 

If you want to save some food that didn’t pass the beauty contest, explore local markets and shops where they often sell wonky looking veg. There are also delivery subscription services that you can opt for, selling supermarket rejected fruit and veg.  

3. Choose meat and dairy alternatives 

Easy ways to start reducing your dairy and meat consumption is by exploring other food options. Alternatives such as oat milk, almond milk or hemp milk, are available and there’s always an option of eating more vegetables instead of meat.  

If you like meat, introducing plant-based alternatives into your diet helps to create a more sustainable lifestyle. Brands such as Linda McCartney, Deliciously Ella, and THIS™️ are just a few available for you to try. 

Know your ‘best before’ and ‘use by’ dates 

Sometimes we scrap food because we aren’t sure what the labels on the packaging mean. According to WRAP, 25% of people can’t differentiate between the two, which leads to more unnecessary food waste.

So, what do these labels ‘best-before’ and ‘use-by’ mean exactly?  It’s important to note that they don’t mean the same thing – ‘use by’ refers to food safety and ‘best before’ is related to food quality.  

Use-by dates are printed on fresh food that may be unsafe if it’s consumed after the date has passed, so it is advised that you stick to these dates as there is a risk of food poisoning if eaten.  

Best-before dates are a guide to the quality of the food. It may deteriorate in quality after that date, but it remains safe to eat, even if it may be a little stale. Despite this drop in quality, it means that rather than throw the food out, it can still be eaten, even if its taste isn’t Michelin-star quality. 

So, what are you waiting for? Start your sustainable kitchen journey today and save yourself pennies as well as our planet.  

At Vitality, we’re all about encouraging our members to make small positive lifestyle choices that can make a big impact to their lives.

Thats why we offer partner benefits and rewards with a range of big brands.  Log into Member Zone or visit vitality.co.uk to find out more. 

Share This Article