Written by Gabby Meerwarth, Volunteer Manager 

As the effects of climate change become increasingly present in everyday life, and food insecurity deepens, every activity you engage in and chore you perform are opportunities to produce less waste. This is an especially important truth when it comes to what happens in the kitchen, as about 37% of all food waste is generated by household consumers. Such waste is typically a product of food spoilage, concerns about expiration and sell-by dates, as well as a general lack of commitment to eating leftovers. 

In the midst of this culture where throwing away perfectly edible leftovers and unopened grocery items is not only common but also widely considered unavoidable, there is also a growing community of people who are dedicated to doing the opposite. This determined group is composed of bloggers and chefs who are defining a “Zero Waste” cooking culture by sharing the methods and recipes they use to decrease waste production in their kitchens. 

Anne Marie Bonneau, otherwise known as her online pseudonym and blog title “Zero-Waste Chef” is one such person who is committed to producing essentially no waste and encouraging others to follow her lead. Her website serves as a nice introduction to the movement; it is teeming with helpful recipes and articles from “Apple Scrap Vinegar” to “5 Tips for Throwing a Zero Waste Party.” Her tone is always that of a friend and a mentor who is passionate, encouraging, and straightforward. Most importantly, a deep dive into her blog reveals not only many tips and tricks to reduce waste, but also an answer to the question “why?”. Why should you do this? Why should you care about apple scraps? What difference does it make?

The answer is littered throughout all of her writing, but she provides a nice summary in her article titled “Why Bother.” In it, she emphasizes that cooking with the goal of minimizing waste improves your health, introduces you to new skills, commits you to your own values, and enacts change through the provenly effective grassroots model. Ultimately, a read through her blog will give you a sense of the beauty of caring, which could appropriately be deemed the underlying philosophy of the zero-waste movement.

You should try reducing your food waste for so many reasons, but through Anne Marie’s elegantly crafted lens of care and commitment, you might just find yourself more motivated and inspired then you ever have been before. Whether you want to try out some of her recipe’s, or completely adopt the zero-waste lifestyle and all that comes with it, check out Anne Marie’s blog and others like it. 

This reference list of zero-waste and food-scrap recipes can get you started! 

  1. No-Waste Irish-ish Soda Bread and Confusing “Best-Before” Dates
  2. Chocolate-Dipped Coconut Macaroons 
  3. How to Make Zero Waste Coconut Milk and Coconut Butter
  4. Chard Stalk Hummus
  5. 15 Creative Uses for Food Scraps 
  6. Waste-Not Vegetable Stew 
  7. Seed To Skin Squash and Sage Pasta

Sources:

Bonneau, A. (2019, May 1). Why Bother. Zero-Waste Chef. 

ReFED. (n.d). Reshape Consumer Environment. 

https://refed.com/action-areas/reshape-consumer-environments/


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