It seems that the plastics industry develops faster than we can discover ways to process all the plastic waste. But using less plastic is not only a part of the zero-waste lifestyle but a healthier one, at that. If you already try to use less plastic in the kitchen, you have most certainly realized that it is both beneficial and more economical.
When you factor in the contribution you'd make to the wildlife and the general state of the environment, starting your journey toward a plastic-free lifestyle seems like a logical thing to do. To reduce the amount of plastic you use in your kitchen, as one of the most frequented rooms in your home, you need to observe the whole process. From the moment plastic enters your kitchen to the moment it leaves.
It seemed that we, as a society, were finally becoming more eco-conscious when the pandemic struck. Not only has the use of facemasks increased the production of plastics, but the production of disposable plastic bags and gloves as well. Most of them were used in groceries, where not touching any produce by hand has become an imperative.
However, a solution is present in the form of reusable grocery and produce bags that both protect you and the products and can be washed afterward. In case you do need to buy a product in packaging, opt for the biggest size. Split the product into smaller portions, keep it in reusable eco-friendly packaging, and store it accordingly until needed.
Food preparation sees a ton of plastic every day, from salad bowls to mixing spoons and numerous plastic bottles in between. You can start eliminating plastic from your kitchen by switching to a bamboo cutting board, wooden spatulas, and glass jars. If you buy container-free foods, keep them in transparent glass jars at home. Make sure the jars have air-tight lids, and you can keep produce even longer than in plastic packaging.
The best thing about metal and glass dishes is that they can serve as mixing bowls, baking pans, and storage containers. Don't underestimate wooden bowls from sustainable woods. While they are not oven-friendly like plastic, they don't contain any harmful chemicals.
If you don't know how to prepare an eco-friendly birthday party for your kid once a year, use regular cutlery and dishes and cloth napkins. But if you don't know how to avoid plastic when you're feeding your baby every day, opt for wooden plates and cutlery.
Baby plates and bowls made of bamboo are too gentle for the treatment they get, and so are ceramics, while the wooden ones are just right. Otherwise, opt for 100% biodegradable and compostable plates made of sugar cane and complement them with reusable bamboo cutlery sets. That way, you can use less plastic in the kitchen and keep your loved ones safe.
Preserving food leftovers by wrapping them in cling film seemed like such a great option until we realized that we're spending enormous amounts of plastic and money on a single-use product. Have you ever tried to wash, dry, and reuse cling film? Neither have we. But we have reused beeswax food wraps successfully and keep happily using them to wrap sandwiches, fruits, and open containers. Speaking of containers and storing, glass is 100% recyclable, as well as stainless steel. As a matter of fact, most steel we're using today is already recycled, at least once. So, let's keep using these healthier alternatives.
Preserving food and groceries especially comes to mind when you need to travel or relocate. Although it is advised to buy less before the moving day and eat what you already have opened, it is not always possible. In such a situation, you should consider eco-friendly packing solutions and look for the greenest way to prepare for relocation while keeping your food safe. If there is no way to bring your perishables with you, donate the unopened, unexpired food.
Responsible disposal of plastic from your kitchen is important but not always possible. Recycling centers are not available to all environmentally conscious people around the world. And even concerns that not all plastic sent to recycling is actually processed are valid, and quite frankly, frightening. So, what options are we left with?
Simply, to buy less plastic and use plastic-free reusable containers, dishes, cutlery, and cooking utensils. And then complete the lifecycle of our naked foods from the farmer's market by composting at home, creating humus for our potted plants. The ones that we grow in our terracotta clay pots.
Once you've finished cooking in an eco-friendly pot and eating with green utensils, washing your environmentally safe dishes is in order. And it's most likely that the first thing you'll reach for is your polyurethane cleaning sponge. Non-recyclable and short-living, this cleaning tool found an alternative in eco cleaning brushes, coconut scourers (also known as coconut dish-scrubbers), and cellulose sponges. But you're still halfway toward clean dishes. The majority of liquid dish soaps come in plastic containers.
While there are ethical producers that offer their products in recycled packaging, they are too few. A solution is to prepare your own cleaning chemicals and keep them in glass jars. Glass is inert, and the container won't react with the contents, such as citric acid or vinegar. If available in your area, take your own dish soap bottles to the local bio-shop for refilling. If you're concerned about water preservation in your kitchen as well as plastic reduction, use a dishwasher. Some brands use eco-friendly, water-soluble, non-toxic PVA wraps for their dishwasher tablets.
The journey toward sustainable living begins with one step
While zero-waste may be challenging to achieve if you have never focused on environmental protection before, it is not impossible. The road to it leads through eco-friendliness, speeding up as you get more familiar with sustainable practices. Hence, creating an eco-friendly home is a path of numerous tiny steps where you use less plastic in the kitchen as a starting point.
Meta: Creating an eco-friendly home is a path of numerous tiny steps where you use less plastic in the kitchen as a starting point.
Guess Post Tanya Douglas from EastCoastHaul