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Food made by hand is an act of defiance and runs contrary to everything in modernity. — Bill Buford, Heat

Concerned with the planet’s plastic pollution problem, I went plastic-free in 2011. (Check out my daughter’s blog, The Plastic-Free Chef, which she started back then at age 16.) Zero-waste was the next logical step (more like a half-step). I’m not a huge consumer (I don’t buy thneeds), so before my transition, most of our trash came from the kitchen. To cut down on plastic waste there, I began shopping more at the farmer’s market, filling up on staples in the bulk sections of grocery stores and making more food from scratch (I’ve always done this, but now I’m pretty hardcore). I cut out all packaged food, which I quickly realized meant I cut out all processed food. (Like Michael Pollan says “If it’s a plant, eat it. If it was made in a plant, don’t.”) And I’m healthier for it. By the way, I don’t mention this in every post, but I use only organic ingredients unless I can’t find them (which rarely happens).

For a few reasons, I haven’t quite hit zero waste in the kitchen but I’m very close. While zero waste may be possible to reach in my home, my activities will still produce waste indirectly elsewhere. When I shop at the grocery store, I bring glass jars, stainless steel containers and homemade cloth bulk bags to fill. This means I bring home zero waste BUT the store itself generated waste to fill its bulk bins with the food I buy there—the nuts, seeds, rice, flour and so on arrive packaged somehow after all. So, until I do buy that farm, I must rely on others to supply my food and that produces waste, albeit much, much less. Sometimes I buy food packaged in glass jars (but not often), which often have plastic seals and always have lids that can’t be recycled. (However, I do reuse almost all jars. If you go plastic- and waste-free, you need lots of them for storage.) I do love butter but without a cow, I can’t get it without at least some paper packaging. Even I don’t think regularly making butter from heavy cream uses my time wisely. But I’ll try it once! And if I use raw cream, I can make cultured butter filled with probiotic goodness and enjoy its byproduct, real buttermilk. Maybe making butter isn’t such a bad idea after all…

I live in an intentional community in the San Francisco Bay Area, work as the senior editor at a small publisher and have two kids, so I’m pretty busy. But I try to post once a week, usually midweek. Occasionally I have time for an additional post on a weekend. I answer to Anne Marie, AM or ZWC 🙂

Thanks for reading about me! If you would like to contact me, please fill out the form below at the bottom of the page. You can also find me on FacebookInstagram and Twitter.

14 Comment

  1. This is such a wonderful idea, and I look forward to reading about your zero-waste adventures! What you’ve posted so far is delightful. 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I really appreciate it 🙂

  2. I love what you’re doing…I’m not nearly zero waste (stares in horror at the pizza packaging lurking in the corner of the kitchen), but I’m trying! Thanks for the ideas and encouragement on how to dump the packaging and make more for ourselves…

    1. You’re welcome. Thank you for the comment. My biggest problem with zero waste right now is my loved ones’ sabotage. I keep finding contraband in my kitchen! But today I talked my 19-year old out of buying a tub of sour cream (she’s home from university in Canada right now). It was like talking down an alcoholic from having a drink. And she’s the one who showed me how to make sour cream a while ago!

  3. […] huge thanks go to Lindsay from Treading My Own Path (an amazing sustainable-living advocate), the Zero Waste Chef (plastic free and zero waste advocate) and Joanna from Every Week is Green (eco-friendly living […]

  4. Such a nice and unique idea….Just loved the concept…Hats off

  5. Very much enjoying your blog. Going zero plastic would be immense but I heard an appalling statistic that 100% of fulmars in the English Channel have plastic in their stomach which starves and poisons them. So I will add my small contribution to this growing movement. Thank you for your inspiration.

    1. Thank you! That makes me so happy that you like the blog 🙂 I took small steps to go plastic free and it’s much easier now. I’m lucky I live near a few stores with good bulk bins, I have a wonderful farmer’s market and I can buy milk in glass bottles. Shopping this way cuts down on the packaging immensely.

      One hundred percent of fulmars have plastic in their stomachs?! This is outrageous. And I would guess it’s mostly plastic from single-use items that no one actually needs. It breaks my heart when I hear about sea life and birds starving because of plastic. I don’t want to be a part of it.

  6. Alle Hochachtung- aber nicht durchzuhalten-leider

  7. This is really wonderful!

  8. Hi Ann Marie-
    Here’s some good news in case you haven’t seen it:http://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2015/12/29/460589462/the-year-in-food-artificial-out-innovation-in-and-2-more-trends

    My resolution is to try out some of your fermentation recipes and get my gut in better order! I love reading your posts on Monday morning, it makes me smile every time!

    HAPPY 2016!!


    1. Hi Karen. I did see that. Nice to hear some good news! I hope you enjoy your fermentation adventure. It’s so much fun, not to mention delicious. I hope it helps your gut. It certainly has helped me. Happy 2016 to you too and thanks so much for reading my posts 🙂
      ~ Anne Marie

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