An Eco-Friendly Challenge: Zero Waste Baking

Audrey DiMarco, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Baking is a fun hobby, especially when the reward is so sweet! Imagine how much more tasty that cake would be knowing that you made it with no waste–what an accomplishment!

What is zero waste baking and why is it important?

Zero waste baking is when you bake using the least amount of waste as possible. Avoid packaged goods when you can, instead opting for bulk bins and reusable containers. The goal is to be eco friendly by being conscious of the waste you produce while baking. The concept of zero waste is important for the environment because being less wasteful while baking could also encourage you to be more eco friendly in other areas.

Breaking it down: Is all waste bad waste?

No. Not all waste is necessarily bad because food waste can easily be composted. Even though the phrase “zero waste” can be misleading, remember that the goal isn’t to make no waste at all. We just want to make an effort to reduce it. 

In fact, some people only challenge themselves to reduce packaging waste because most foods are compostable. There’s freedom in the different degrees of zero waste, and everyone can find the right difficulty level for their experience!

How to get started

Get ready to go shopping! Some stores such as Whole Foods support zero waste baking by stocking bulk bins with different baking ingredients such as flaxseed, spices, rice, beans, nuts, snacks, cereal, and so much more. Be sure to research the ingredients in your recipe beforehand; you might have to make some brave substitutions if they don’t have what you need in the bulk bins. Even if you’re not sure it’ll taste very good, experimenting is part of the process and may even be an unlikely success! Using your own glass or plastic reusable containers, carefully estimate the amounts you’ll need of each ingredient. 

At home, try to avoid using excess parchment paper (you could use nonstick instead), and be more mindful of waste in general. Collecting the waste in a small bowl is also helpful to compare how mindful you’ve been.


  • Instead of saran wrap use a plastic or glass reusable container
  • Instead of throwing out the top dome of a cake, crumble it down and sprinkle on top
  • Instead of normal milk which comes in a carton, make almond or cashew milk by blending with water
  • Flaxseed is a versatile substitute, but make sure to research and find the best alternatives for your recipe!