Assorted jars of dried foods next to loose carrots and tomatoes in a mesh bag all on a concrete surface (with logo overlay)

What Does No Waste Kitchen Mean?

Reducing or eliminating waste created in the kitchen can sound overwhelming. But what does No Waste Kitchen mean and how can you apply the concept in your home?

Welcome to No Waste Kitchen! I’m so glad to have you here. But you may be asking yourself, what does “No Waste Kitchen” mean? And is this part of the “Zero Waste” movement or something different?

Having a No Waste Kitchen is something I have personally been working towards for a few years now. It isn’t always a fast process and takes some creativity. But if generations before us, before plastic became so widely used, could do it, then we can too.

Everyone’s journey will look different, and that’s ok! There’s no right or wrong way to go about it. And when we say, “What does No Waste Kitchen mean?” we will all have varying answers.

Originally Published On: September 16, 2018

Last Updated On: March 10, 2020


Official Definition

It’s hard to find an exact definition of what No Waste Kitchen means since most places use the term “Zero Waste”. Because of this, we’re going to borrow the “Zero Waste” definition. Here are some definitions I was able to find:

Merriam Webster

Generating little or no waste

Environmental Protection Agency

…recognizes a Hierarchy of Material Management as follows:

– Extended Producer Responsibility and Product Redesign
– Reduce Waste, Toxicity, Consumption, and Packaging
– Repair, Reuse and Donate
– Recycle
– Compost
– Down Cycle and Beneficial Reuse
– Waste-Based Energy as disposal
– Landfill Waste as disposal

Working Definition of No Waste

The idea of “No Waste” is something that you need to define for yourself and your family.

Zero Waste would mean eliminating all waste from your kitchen. Everything. This includes no more trash bags, but also nothing going in the recycle, either. True Zero Waste would mean using, upcycling, or composting every single thing that comes into the kitchen.

But now, let’s be realistic. In today’s world, that’s extremely difficult. Some will have better access to resources than others. Some will have more challenges such as allergies that they have to work with. Or, in my case, we have picky kids.

For this reason, I like the term “No Waste” as it seems to be a little more forgiving. We aren’t perfect and it’s almost impossible to be perfect. While we are trying to cut all waste from the kitchen, the first priority should be no actual waste going to the landfill.

Bulk foods in glass jars and mesh bags for a no waste kitchen

What Does No Waste Kitchen Mean?

  • No Waste Kitchen is about working towards a lifestyle change. 
  • No Waste Kitchen is reducing the amount of waste your kitchen produces. This includes waste going to the landfill and recycling center.
  • No Waste Kitchen operates under the idea that even small changes can make a big difference.
  • No Waste Kitchen means choosing more sustainable options for your home and your family. Single-use products cost more and are hard for the environment.
  • No Waste Kitchen helps you make healthier choices rather by cutting out over-packaged, over-processed foods. 
  • No Waste Kitchen understands that not everything is black and white, but most of us fit in the grey area.

Personal Goals & Your Turn

Since every person, every family, every home, and every location is different, it helps to set realistic personal and family goals. Remember, no one is perfect, and change doesn’t happen overnight.

The idea of No Waste Kitchen is to help you work towards reducing the amount of waste that your kitchen puts out on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis. 

Now, it’s your turn. What does No Waste Kitchen mean for you and your household? Set your own goals and see what you can do to works towards them every day.

Maybe it helps to have your goals written and posted in the kitchen. Or it may be beneficial to write down your “why” and keep that at hand. 

Every home, every family, every person will have a different journey. Take a few minutes and define the journey that you would like to take in the pursuit of a No Waste Kitchen.

More No Waste Kitchen Ideas

33 thoughts on “What Does No Waste Kitchen Mean?”

  1. I am pretty good at this. I only buy the essentials which is really just SPINACH and salmon at this point. My husband loves eating out (take out) so much more than cooking that really I will just order him some food and I will cook myself some salmon and sweet potatoes and call it a day! Ha! I used to try and buy him foods for home cooking but realized it was so pointless because they just sit forever in the freezer to be used!

  2. I’ve been doing a lot of research on topics like this since I want to start using less waste especially in the kitchen whenit’s so easy to do so. Your tips are going to be so helpful!

    Alyssa //

  3. We are fairly good at this I think… I buy only what fresh food we need and if there is anything left over from a meal we either eat it the next day or I freeze it down for another day. We also try to buy products with as little packaging as possible and recycle everything that can be recycled.

  4. We are pretty good at following these standards in our kitchen. Many people need to be introduced to these ideas so I am really happy that you are sharing your experiences with others.

  5. I love this movement. It’s definitely something I’ve been thinking about for a long time and I’m trying to eliminate as much as I can.

  6. I’m not good in Kitchen but No Waste Kitchen determines save a food and don’t waste it what I mean as much as possible don’t waste our food. love this perspective post.

  7. Definitely a goal of mine is to create a no waste Kitchen. I love the idea of not having things go to waste. We try not to waste stuff but sometimes it happens. Love this idea

  8. I spend a bit of time in Europe every year and I’m always struck by how little waste their kitchens produce compared to America. I’ve been taking small steps to achieve less waste. Saving money would be an added benefit!

  9. This is great how you defined ‘no waste kitchen’ for us. I definitely have so much more to learn in this area. Thanks for all of the great details!

  10. I am dismayed to find that our waste has seemed to go through a huge uptick recently. Our district recently (I guess due to the collapse of recycling markets in China?) downgraded what it accepts in recycling bigtime. We are already on so many no-junk-mail lists, but especially with the recent election we have been getting a gazillion flyers (which we now have to put into the trash vs recycling) – and I also used to compost at my church for our community garden, but they discontinued their composting system and we haven’t reestablished our own compost pile yet. Sigh – guess I’d better get on that!

  11. We are trying hard to adopt this ”no waste kitchen” and the ”no waste” attitude generally. At least, everyone can start from it’s home, takingsmall steps day by day.

  12. Right now we have a “minimal” waste kitchen because honestly we’re a long way from a no waste one. We’re good at minimizing food waste and using reusable options but definitely need work on the rest. Baby steps!

    1. yes, baby steps! I am trying to offset our community’s recent recycling downtick with finding new ways to repurpose everything from our food scraps to plastic containers/milk cartons/other things we might toss…

      1. Baby steps are so important! A big change isn’t easy, but a small one can be. My boys like using recyclables for crafts. They are constantly raiding the indoor bin before it gets taken out!

  13. I’m definitely not close to NO waste, but I have been reducing the waste my kitchen produces over the last few years. Thanks for the inspiration.

  14. Ahhhhhhhh, no waste kitchen is such a challenge as I do have food waste. But since I am living by myself, I do have minimal waste. I don’t really throwaway a lot of things.

    1. Food waste can often be the hardest. We use our compost bins for most of our food waste. If you’re in a small space, I’ve also heard of others using a worm farm for it, too.

  15. Melanie williams

    YES, I love this!! Making sure that people get the message about food waste is key, as it is all about us being responsible x

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