Zero Waste Baking: How To Make More Sustainable Treats

If you’re the kind of person who loves spending time in the kitchen and baking treats, you’ll know that even the simplest recipes creates waste by the end, regardless if it food scraps or used parchment paper. But surely there’s a way to help reduce that, right?

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Over the past couple of years I’ve really gotten into baking, along with learning about the zero waste movement, and over that time I’ve gradually started finding more products that help out with reducing my waste when it comes to baking.

Even if you’re not entirely zero waste or you have absolutely no idea where to start with it, hopefully this will help you along the right path and you can start reducing your waste in the kitchen!

Why is zero waste important while baking?

If you’re not sure what zero waste is, it basically where you live while trying to create as little waste as possible – it’s a long road and nobody is perfect, but it’s a good start.

When it comes to the kitchen, it can be one of the most wasteful parts in the house – due to that being where all the food lives, is prepared, and cooked. While baking, not only do you use up a lot of materials such as cupcake cases or baking parchment, but if there’s any scraps of food leftover – they get wasted too.

When food gets put in your general waste bin, it gets sent to landfill and eventually breaks down to create methane, which is a greenhouse gas. When this methane gas is in the atmosphere, it contributes to global warming and climate change as it’s more potent at warming the planet is than carbon dioxide.

If you’re interested in learning more about reducing food waste, make sure you check out my post on that here.

Sustainable baking supplies

There’s lots of different ways you can reduce your waste while baking, so make sure you check out this list to see where you can get started!

Bakeware

When it comes to bakeware, it’s a good idea to see what you already have at home before you buy more. Casserole dishes can be used to make lasagna and roasted veggies as well as fruit crumbles, shallow dishes are great for baking cinnamon rolls or granola.

If you do need more bakeware, I would suggest trying to find something secondhand first – either from facebook marketplace or your local thrift store, or look into more eco friendly brands like Our Place and Caraway.

Silicone spatulas

We all know how hard it is to get those last little scraps of mixture out of the bowl, which is why I recommend getting a silicone spatula. These are perfect for scraping that little bit out, which always ends up being way more than you originally realised!

Silicone cupcake cases

If you tend to bake a lot of cupcakes and you use paper cases, you’ll not only notice at how much money this costs you, but how much of the cakes get stuck to the cases. Having silicone cupcake cases not only save you money overall as you only have to buy them once, but the cakes don’t get stuck to the cases as easily either, which means you get to enjoy them more!

Reusable muffin and cake liners

Similar to the cupcake cases, you can get reusable muffin liners too! The one’s I’ve found of these come as a disc that you have to fold into the muffin tin to hold the shape. These’s can also be used for other single-serve bakes too such as pies or crumbles.

You can also get tin liners which work the same, but these are bigger and used for things like round cakes or banana bread in loaf tins. These are also great as it means that you no longer have to grease your pans before baking.

Apron

Although this one may sound like an obvious staple for any baker, but having an apron is great when trying to reduce waste too. When it comes to cooking, the last thing you want is to get sauce splatter all over your white top or to spill something on your clothes, and then having to throw them away.

Making sure you have an apron means that the apron itself will get covered in any food mess rather than your clothes, and prolonging their life!

Measuring jug and scales

So this one might sound a bit weird to anyone who uses cups rather than grams for measuring, but you actually get a better measurement this way! Using cups for dry ingredients can often be misleading as you never know how compact the ingredient is in the cup – whereas using a measuring scale gives you can accurate reading for that ingredient. The same goes for liquids too, as you’re more likely going to get the right consistency with a measuring jug rather than cups – as your ratios will be more precise.

Measuring spoon set

Having a good set of measuring spoons that will last a long time is a must. I prefer metal ones as they don’t get tainted by strong flavours or spices and they’re a lot sturdier so they won’t break! I use rectangle stainless steel ones which are able to fit into really narrow jars, which is a definite plus.

Silicone reusable baking mats

Regardless if you’re baking cookies or chips in the oven (fries for the Americans!), having silicone baking mats is a great way to cut down on buying baking parchment. As the mats are made of silicone, they’re super easy to clean, especially since food don’t stick to them as much too!

Funnel

If you regularly shop at a bulk or zero waste store, or you just like to store your dried goods in jars, then having a funnel is a great investment. With a funnel, you’ll be able to decant your produce into containers a lot easier and cleaner, as you’re less likely to lose some flour or that stray lentil!

Mixing bowl

As with any kind of baking accessory, it’s best to try and buy them second hand if possible. There are so many different kinds of mixing bowls to choose from – my favourites are either stoneware ones or metal ones, as these should last a very long time.

Storage containers

Having somewhere to store your baked goods at the end of the day is the best way to make sure they last long enough (and you don’t forget about them). I use some old biscuit tins that I got second hand, as well as using an airtight glass container for shorter life goods.

Wax wraps and bowl covers

If you bake a lot of produce that needs proving or marinating, then looking into wax wraps or reusable bowl covers might be a good idea – and you can even use containers with lids if they fit! This can save you from buying baking parchment, aluminium foil, or even cling film which can’t be recycled, so you’d be saving money and keeping things out of landfill!

If you’re wanting to see more tips for the over-all kitchen, make sure you check my post on that here.

Low waste ingredients

Trying to find your produce loose or package free is also a big step towards being more zero waste when baking, but you don’t have to do them all straight away – taking your time will save you money overall too.

Baking powder and bicarbonate of soda

If you don’t have a bulk store nearby, then you can usually get both of these in cardboard boxes, which you can then either compost or recycle.

Brown sugar

Did you know that brown sugar is actually just granulated or caster sugar mixed with molasses? You can easily make this at home, since you can get molasses in a glass jar and sugar in paper.

Mix 1 tablespoon molasses with around 200g of sugar (this usually makes light brown sugar, so you can adjust the molasses to make it darker), and then store in a jar until you need to use!

Eggs

Buying eggs can be pretty low waste overall – I would recommend getting the ones in cardboard/paper pulp as these can be either recycled or composted (after removing the sticker) along with the egg shells, instead of getting the ones packaged in plastic. If possible, see if there’s a local farm or market to buy these from too.

Chocolate

You can usually find chocolate in bulk stores, but if you don’t have access to one, try looking out for ones that are packaged in cardboard and foil as these can be recycled fully – instead of plastic packaged ones which is less likely.

Flour

You can usually get flour packaged in paper bags, which is great if you don’t have access to a bulk store. You can always store it in a glass jar if you want to, but it should last fine in it’s own bag.

Fruit

When spring and summer come around, try looking out for Pick Your Own farms or local markets, as you’re more likely to be able to get produce loose or in little packaging. Supermarkets are starting to have more loose produce available, so make sure you look out for that where possible.

That’s all I have for trying to be more low waste while baking, but I’d love to hear any tips if you have any! Taking baby steps is the best process for getting into zero waste, so don’t feel bad if you can’t achieve everything straight away.

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