The kitchen is a big plastic generator. From shopping plastic bags and food packaging to dish sponges and cleaning products. Once we are conscious about it, we can only make a few little adjustments to our shopping habits and we will make a huge difference for the environment!
Together with our aim to be a single use plastic free company by the end of 2019, we like to take it one step further and inform our guests on how to adopt a plastic free lifestyle to reduce our impact on our blue planet. This month’s article is dedicated to our kitchen and consequently our food shopping habits.
Look at your trash
The first step to reduce your single use plastic items in the kitchen is to realise what you are actually throwing away. Right now you probably have no idea how much waste you throw out every day because this goes more or less unconsciously. However, once you get a full scope of what you are actually chucking out on a daily basis, it will be easier to make changes and start to think of non-plastic and sustainable alternatives in your daily life or to stop buying certain products.
Always bring your own bag for shopping
Every single consumer uses around 365 plastic bags per year. By switching to reusable bags, you can make a HUGE impact.
Stock up on a variety of bags made from natural materials like cotton and canvas and keep them in close range: stocked in a basket by your door, in your car, in your work bag – basically make sure you’re never without a bag in case of a last-minute purchase or errand run. There are many compact options that fold down into tiny pouches and can even be clipped into your key chain.
With reusable bags you can carry heavy items home without ripping and cutting the blood from your hands 😉
Swap plastic produce bags for reusable produce sacks and bring your own containers
Take it a step further by getting rid of those annoying thin plastic produce bags. You can either buy the re-usable ones or even better make them with an old white lace curtain, for instance.
Once at home, you can store everything in the fridge. What would you rather have your fruit and veggies stored in?A plastic bag full of chemicals or an organic cotton bag?
When you buy fish/meat/cheese, bring your own Tupperware for packaging instead of laminated papers. If they tell you that they can’t do it because it is not hygienic, don’t be shy to tell them there is no law against it.
Buy in bulk
Bringing your own container means you can also go to specific shops where you can buy in bulk. Look around your town if there is a bulk shop where you cannot only buy your nuts, grains and flours, but also your hygienic and cleaning products. Just remember to tare the jars before you fill them.
Once at home, transfer your bulk items into glass jars. Not only you are reducing plastic waste, but also bulk goods glass jars look much nicer and very organized as opposed to a bunch of lumpy bags and it makes it so much easier to find what you need!
If there are no bulk stores in your town, keep on looking for products from different brands until you find one without any sneaky plastic.
Items that were once single-use – such as jam jars – can be washed and re-used. It is a fantastic way to store your food, store leftovers or even bring your food to work. Easy and cheap!
Swap Disposable Paper Towels/ napkin for Re-usable Cleaning Cloths/Homemade Rags/fabric napkins
Paper towels/napkins aren’t made out of plastic but they always come in plastic packaging. Moreover, a lot of resources (wood, electricity and water) are used to produce them. By just swapping the paper option by a fabric option, you will reduce noticeably the number of paper towels/napkins used in just one day.
Swap plastic wrap for Re-usable beeswax food wrap
If you need to wrap dry food such as sandwich, cheese, snacks, fruit and veggies or cover up a bowl in your fridge, instead of using plastic cling wrap, go for beeswax food wrap! They are washable, reusable and compostable! Made out of organic cotton and beeswax, they are safe for touching any types of food.
You can either buy them – they come in a variety of sizes – or make them!
Swap your plastic dish sponges for a re-usable sponge or a loofah
Plastic sponges are cheap and convenient, but not great for the environment. Those plastic sponges head straight to the landfill. Replace them with a loofah or machine-washable ones! They’re made from a combination of bamboo scrubber, terry cloth, cotton flannel and polyester mesh.
A more “conscious” cup of coffee in the morning is another way to make a difference. The mixed material coffee capsules and pods found in single-serve coffee machines are notoriously bad for the environment. If you have a coffee capsule machine, go for re-usable pod expressly for this type of machine or simply go for the traditional coffee machine! They make great coffee! If you like to enjoy your coffee while you are commuting, bring your own in a re-usable cup or bring it to your favorite coffee shop and ask them to fill it up. In fact, more and more coffee shops are starting to give discounts to those bringing their own cup!
Make your own cleaning products
Big companies marketing make you believe you need a special cleaning product for every surface, appliance, surface and room in your home. Don’t believe them! You will be amazed by the cleaning and disinfection powers of white vinegar and water! 1 part of vinegar + 4 parts of water. Easy!
Use it for all purpose cleaner, to mop your floor and clean your windows and mirrors! If you are worried about the smell, you can add some drops of your favorite essential oil.
To wash your dishes, you can either buy bulk castile soap or with a solid form. It works fine!
All of this may seems like a lot of work and in a society that loves instant gratification, making the transition can seem slow and ineffective , but if you start with small, steps at a time, you’ll be hooked to plastic free lifestyle!
“One small step for man, but a giant step for mankind” Neil Armstrong.