Low Waste, Small Appliances for Compact Kitchens
To be honest, I think that the majority of small kitchen appliances fall under the “Items You Can Probably Go Without” category. (Do you really need a draft beer tap system? Or a miniature waffle iron that toasts shapes onto your breakfast?!) But there are a handful of compact gadgets that have helped us enjoy our tiny kitchen even more while reducing our food and/or packaging waste.
I recently posted about our composting journey here at our tiny home, which we began after learning from the EPA that food waste is the largest component within landfills in the USA. Since writing that entry, I added the FoodCycler to our routine to compliment our compost tumbler.
This appliance, which measures 16”w x 14”l x 18.5”h, transforms small batches of food scraps into an organic residual that is 90% smaller in volume, and serves as a nutrient-rich soil amendment. The process takes about 3-4 hours. It requires no water, chemicals, venting or draining. It creates no odor in the process, attracts no bugs, and is almost silent, all of which is particularly appreciated in our small space. There are no methane gasses created during the process. Any C02 emissions created throughout the process are captured by the carbon filters built into the unit.
We keep the FoodCycler on a slim, versatile, multi-tiered rolling cart that we can move whenever needed. Once a cycle is complete, we add the residual to the compost tumbler in our garden, helping its contents dry out a bit, and cutting back on the amount of scraps we contribute to the Jora every week, thus helping expedite the natural process.
We are trying to do our part to help divert organic materials from landfills, and cut back on the energy use, wasted resources and emissions that result from hauling away so much organic material.
SPARKLING WATER MACHINE
Our whole family is a fan of sparkling water. Rather than spending money buying bottles, then lugging them home and ultimately producing waste that needs to be recycled, we rely instead on our slim SodaStream, which we use multiple times per day. The used cartridges for this appliances can be returned for refill/reuse, so we simply bike to our local Staples to swap ours out when needed.
No more single-use plastic bottles, folks. They’re horrible for the planet from start to finish, plus they leach chemicals into the contents that are then consumed. There are so many water filters available that there’s no reason to bring bottled water into your home. The most space-savvy design is perhaps a simple faucet add-on, which immediately converts tap water to safe drinking water. However, here at the Cottage we opted for a handmade, ceramic Walter Filter. While it has a fairly small footprint, it is a statement pieces that’s admittedly not as versatile as a traditional pitcher-style filter. But I love to outfit our home with functional decor, and this piece is a striking work of art that also filters our drinking water. It comes with a charcoal filter with a 2-year lifespan, which basically purifies ~3,000 gallons of water. The Walter contains no plastic, and is the product of a small business consisting of a father and daughter team.
We have a simple pour-over Chemex and reusable filters for coffee, and they’re great. But lately we’d been spending a small fortune on lattes for ourselves, guests and crews. The expense was getting ridiculous, since these drinks are often around $7 here in Venice. We found this compact SMEG espresso maker in our search for a solution. It requires very little space, brews a rich shot (or double-shot) of espresso, and steams milk for making a velvety cappuccino, and does it all WITHOUT requiring pods or filters.
BLENDER, KETTLE, TOASTER
We have a personal blender that we use daily for green juices, a kettle for pour-over coffee or tea, and a pop-up toaster that we use several times per week. The kettle and toaster are both Muji, which is a company that consistently produces space-savvy, minimalistic, stylish home goods.
We stash all three of these small appliances on pull-out shelves within a narrow base cabinet. The toaster helps extend the life of our bread in case it’s a bit too stale to eat otherwise, and the blender has been the perfect solution for increasing our intake of healthy foods (particularly for our son West), while decreasing our produce waste. If a fruit or veggie is just a touch too ripe to eat as-is, we drop it into the Vitamix.
Cheers to less waste, more space, and a healthier home overall.