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P2 House - Kitchen

Pollution Prevention (P2) House


Revised On: April 30, 2024 - 8:20 a.m.

Simple changes in the kitchen, such as transitioning to green cleaning products, reducing excess food disposal, fixing leaky faucets and turning off lights, can not only create a greener environment, but also conserve water and energy. Taking small steps and changing habits will result in long-term benefits.

Green Cleaning | Learn More >

The Three Rs

Minimize kitchen waste by learning the basics of reducing, reusing and recycling | Learn More >

Reducing, also known as source reduction, is the most environmentally preferred strategy. It includes avoiding one-time use of items such as tableware (plastics spoons, forks and plates). Also, reduce waste by only shopping for necessary items. This prevents the purchase and disposal of excess food. Visit ADEQ’s Recycling Program for helpful tips, toolkits, and videos | View >

Other ideas include

  • Eliminate single-use plastic water bottles by filling a reusable 5-gallon water jug at your local grocery store, or use an energy-efficient refrigerator with a water filter.
  • Avoid using single-use grocery bags, as they are not widely recycled. There are companies that collect bags for recycling *Please see the recycling section below
  • Lessen paper mail by canceling subscriptions
  • Minimize aluminum cans with a sparkling water maker.
  • Avoid using conventional takeout containers and reduce participation in at-home delivery services, as using polystyrene styrofoam in packaging threatens humans and wildlife. This material is not biodegradable and cannot be recycled, making it a major source of pollution.
  • Look for reuse and recycling opportunities from manufacturers. If you use single-serving coffee machines, large name brands offer a donation program where you can send used cups back to the seller for recycling. However, many other companies offer reusable single-serving coffee cups! 

Reusing involves the reuse of items and natural resources, such as water. For example, food containers and one-time-use items can be reused for many purposes. Jars can be repurposed as drinking cups, clothes can be used as cleaning cloths, and wastewater can hydrate plants. Also, items can be donated to local charities and second-hand stores to divert waste from local landfills.

  • Consider eliminating kitchen products made of single-use plastic, paper, and foil. Here are some examples:
  • Lint from your clothes dryer reused as a firestarter
  • Cloth-based produce bags, silicone baggies, mason jars,
  • Candelilla or sustainably sourced beeswax food wraps
  • Cellulose-based dishcloths and cloth-based paper towels
  • Silicone huggable lids for bowls
  • Stainless steel coffee filters and  reusable single-serve coffee filters

Recycling means converting waste into reusable material. Separate recyclables such as cans, glass, plastic, cardboard and paper for pickup or drop-off at a local facility.

Find out which kitchen items can be recycled and where to recycle them (remember to read which materials are recyclable in your area) | View Recycling Locator >

Plastic Bags

Thirty-two million tons of plastic waste were generated in 2012, representing 12.7 percent of total municipal solid waste. Part of that waste includes plastic bags. Serving a one-time use, these bags also require non-renewable resources such as water and petroleum for their production. Plus, since plastic bags are difficult to recycle, most cities exclude them from lists of recyclable items. When not recycled properly, plastic bags typically end up blocking drainage systems, are ingested by animals and leach toxic chemicals into waters. Give plastic bags a second life by reusing them as:

  • Liners for small containers in bathrooms and rooms 
  • Pet waste collection bags
  • Thrift store donation bags
  • Shoes or dirty clothes containers in suitcases

While biodegradable bags may seem more eco-friendly, it's important to be aware that the degradation process can be slow in landfills. Without sunlight, photodegradation can't occur, meaning these bags could remain intact for a long time. If a plastic is biodegradable, it doesn't necessarily mean it's compostable. On the other hand, if a plastic is compostable, it is definitely biodegradable. It's all about the specific materials used and how they break down over time. So if you're looking for eco-friendly packaging options, do your research and look for both biodegradable and compostable plastics.

Next time you shop, consider toting reusable bags instead. Reusable bags can be purchased in a multitude of colors, styles and materials (including old clothing). In addition to grocery shopping, they can be used at retail and specialty stores and to carry library books. Alternatively, you can contact your local grocery store and see if they offer a grocery bag take-back program.

Food Waste

Did you know that in the United States, up to 40 percent of our food supply ends up as waste? While food waste is the number one contributor to the nation’s landfills, the USDA estimates the value of food loss for retailers and consumers yearly to be over $161 billion. This is a problem because it contributes to greenhouse gas emissions and wastes valuable resources. Surprisingly, 85 percent of greenhouse gas emissions from landfilled food waste occur before the food is even thrown away. This includes processes such as production, transportation, processing, and distribution. When we throw food in the landfill, we waste all the water, energy, and resources used to grow it. To reduce the impact of food waste on the environment, it's important to consider the entire lifecycle of our food. Learn how to help reduce this waste by participating in the Food: Too Good To Waste program. Not only does the program help the environment, but can also help a family of four save around $1,600 a year | Learn More > 

View our Food Storage Guide for tips on length of time and where in the fridge to store various types of food | View/Download >


Composting is a natural process in which organic material decomposes into a rich, dark soil. By starting a compost collection, you’ll divert waste from landfills and create plentiful garden materials. Plus, composting is a fun activity for family and the community. Visit ADEQ’s Compost Guide for everything you need to know to get started on your own! From choosing the right materials to troubleshooting common issues, this guide has you covered | Learn More >

Buy Local

Consider ethical food purchasing! Did you know that Arizona produces food all year long? We grow nuts, fruits, vegetables, and grains from the high country to the desert. Yuma, also known as the “Winter Salad Bowl” capital of the United States, exports leafy greens all over the country. Additionally, Arizona is the #2 in the nation for supplying honeydew, pistachios, and cantaloupe! With the diversity of Arizona’s climate and soil variations, hundreds of different food crops grow. Supporting local farmers and purchasing food from sustainable sources benefits the local economy, the community, and the environment.