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Reducing Water Waste in the Kitchen: Zero Waste Tips and Tricks

A kitchen sink beneath a shelf of glass jars filled with oats, seeds, and different nuts.
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Wasting water is one of the most significant issues surrounding the environment. Thousands of people waste water every day, and if you’re looking to move towards a zero-waste lifestyle, attempting to lower your water waste is a significant first step. 

The kitchen is one of the main rooms of a house where water is regularly wasted. While there’s no perfect solution, here are some tips and tricks to help reduce water waste in the kitchen.

Compost Your Food

Garbage disposals are one of the easiest ways to get rid of food you didn’t finish, but they’re far from environmentally friendly. To save water in your kitchen, composting your food instead of using the garbage disposal is a great idea. 

Not only will you limit your water waste, but you’ll be able to provide healthier soil for your garden or someone else’s if you give them your compost. 

Even if you live in an apartment or condo, there are ways to compost your food, like vermicomposting or looking into community programs for composting.

view of an open and empty dishwasher appliance

Use an Efficient Dishwasher

If you want to commit to using less water but still want the luxury of not washing your own dishes, using a more efficient dishwasher is a fantastic way to do so. Water-saving dishwashers tend to use only four to six gallons of water per round compared to non-efficient dishwashers. 

Some people think that hand washing your dishes is more efficient, but many people use over 20 gallons of water every time they wash a load of dishes. 

If you have the money to get a new dishwasher or are ready to install a new one in your new home, this is a great way to save water.

Keep a Bucket in Your Sink for Soaking Dishes

This next tip is for those who don’t have a dishwasher or who don’t use theirs. Instead of spending time scrubbing food off plates and other dishes under running water, leave a bucket in your sink to soak dishes first. 

By leaving a bucket in the sink, you’ll use that water to soak hard to get off food without wasting excessive water before washing your dishes. Not only will you use less water, but you’ll be making doing the dishes easier than ever for yourself. 

How often you dump the bucket and refill it will be up to you, but limiting how often you do that is key to this trick working well to reduce water waste.

Use a Greywater System

Installing a greywater system in your home can help you reduce water waste in your kitchen and other areas of your house. These systems help capture water from your shower, bathroom sinks, laundry, and kitchen and help divert it to your yard. 

You don’t need to spend thousands of dollars on a greywater system. If you want something to get you started before installing a legitimate system, you can use a bucket in your shower to capture water and then use it in your garden. 

You can also use a bucket in your kitchen to capture excess water and then use it elsewhere in your home.

Water coming through a faucet at a kitchen sink.

Don’t Thaw Food Under Running Water

One of the quickest ways people know how to thaw meat and other food is to run it under warm and hot water. While this can be highly effective, it’s incredibly wasteful. Even if you’re using a low-flow tap, it can still release more than two gallons of water every 60 seconds. 

If you’re looking for one of the easiest ways to save water in your kitchen, thaw your food in the refrigerator overnight versus under running water. 

Sure, thawing your food in the fridge takes some planning, but if you’re committed to reducing your water waste and moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle, this is a great way to start.

Only Wash Things When Necessary

Only washing things while necessary might be an obvious way to save water in your kitchen, but being more conscious of not washing dishes every time something is dirty can help. 

For those who drink water all day long, continuing to drink out of the same glass instead of washing it and getting a new one or washing it just to pour more water is a good idea. 

Another helpful thing to do, as long as you can handle it, is only to do dishes once daily. Whether you do them in the morning or at night after dinner, washing your dishes simultaneously versus continuously throughout the day can save water.

Pre-Fill a Jug or Two With Water

How many cups of water do you think you waste when filling up cups for water, pots, and washing the dishes? Probably a lot more than you realize. 

Pre-filling jugs with water can help you reduce how much water you’re wasting in the kitchen. 

You can keep one in the fridge for drinking so that it’s cool and keep one on the counter for cooking. 

This will save water continuously running through your sink and help you be more mindful about how much water you’re using.

A woman with dark hair is stirring a dutch oven pot over a stove in a modern kitchen with fruit and vegetables on the counter.

Cook With Less Water

A great way to limit your water waste is to find ways to cook with less water. It sounds complicated, but getting creative can help you reduce how much water you waste regularly. 

For example, when you have fruits and vegetables that you need to wash before eating or cooking, you can use a soft brush to clean them instead of putting them under a running faucet. 

Another great idea is to steam or roast veggies rather than boiling them in water. If you have to boil the veggies, finding a way to reuse the water they boiled in is a great way not to waste water.

Final Thoughts

Cooking with less water, composting your food instead of using the garbage disposal, and other strategies are the best ways to limit the amount of water you waste in the kitchen. Whether you’re looking to slowly move into a zero-waste lifestyle or fully commit, the above tips are a great way to reduce the water waste in your kitchen.

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