11 Jun How to go plastic free in the kitchen
When it comes to creating a plastic free kitchen, you are facing a higher hurdle than in any other room in the house. Each week your kitchen can be filled with new plastic packaging, as well as plastic bottles of detergents and cleaning products. If you make one change which will really make an impact, it’s going plastic free in the kitchen.
However, that’s easier said than done. With so much of everyday kitchen-living relying on plastic, it can be difficult to know where to start.
Before we look at how to go plastic free in the kitchen, let’s begin with why it’s important.
Why should you aim for a plastic free kitchen?
40% of plastic created is used just once. 8 million tonnes of our plastic rubbish ends up in our oceans each year and it can take up to 1000 years to decompose. As David Attenborough has said in his dulcet tones: “plastic is killing our planet”.
We can feel powerless to act. But our kitchen is our domain. If we can create a plastic free kitchen then we can minimise our own individual impact. As Attenborough also said, “The actions of just one of us may seem to be trivial and to have no effect. But the knowledge that there are thousands, hundreds of thousands of people who are doing the same thing – that really does have an effect.” We can make a difference, and the kitchen is an ideal place to start.
Let’s address the question of how to go plastic free in the kitchen.
It may be tempting to get in the spring-cleaning mood and purge your kitchen of plastic. It’s best to hold your horses and replace things as needed. Simply throwing out plastic that still has use will only contribute to the problem, rather than help tackle it. Therefore, keep hold of plastic storage boxes which have decades of life left, and use up all of your potions and lotions before discarding or reusing the bottle.
A really simple place to start is with the washing up. It may sound dull, but being such a regular feature of kitchen life, and typically plastics heavy, it’s an easy place to make a difference. Look at your washing up area. You’ll have plastic dish brushes, micro-fibre cloths, bottles of washing up liquid and more.
When the washing up detergent runs out, shift over to Fill eco-friendly washing up liquid. In a recyclable glass bottle, it’s a fantastic zero-waste option. You can refill your bottle from a box. Alternatively, try a washing up soap bar.
From the moment you shop
Plastic comes into the kitchen from your shopping. Eliminating plastic at the shopping stage takes a little advance thought and conscious decisions.
If you enjoy selecting individual fruits and veg, only to despair at putting them into individual plastic bags, then invest in some reusable mesh produce bags, or these cotton grocery bags. For bringing all your shopping home, we love this large canvas shopping bag by Green Island.
Sometimes it is near impossible to choose food without plastic packaging. Make sure you follow the instructions on the plastic for recycling it correctly.
Food storage is a big area where plastics make their mark in the kitchen. Don’t throw out your old plastic containers until they have reached the end of their life. But as you need replacements, then opt for plastic-free.
There are multiple options such as reusable bowl covers. Vegans can also use wax wraps, without worrying that beeswax is involved. We particularly like these Tabitha Eve wax wraps and DIY wraps which use plant-based waxes.
Gradually collecting and using glass jars, such as over-sized jam jars, can also provide excellent food storage in the kitchen which is plastic-free.
Phasing out other plastics
As your kitchen utensils reach the end of their life, make sure you choose replacements which are eco-friendly. Sustainably-sourced porridge stirrers can be used for more than porridge alone, and we also like this pot stirrer and birch scoop.
Generally, try to choose pots and pans which don’t have a non-stick coating, as this too is a type of plastic.
Also think about the plastics which you use for transporting your food. Your packed lunch, water and favourite drinks are obvious examples. The zero-waste lunch set will eliminate plastic from your lunch time.
We also love this reusable bamboo lunch box. Glass water bottles will help you battle the scourge of plastic bottles which are notoriously bad for the environment. A reusable coffee mug, such as this gorgeous pistachio travel mug, will ensure that your coffee habit doesn’t contribute to the plastics problem either.
Moving onto cleaning
The kitchen is the cleaning heart of our homes. Not only does it need frequent cleaning, it’s where we tend to store everything. Therefore, it’s worth tackling your plastic usage in cleaning when you are embarking on going plastic free in the kitchen.
Again, the trick is to look at the bottles and the tools.
Starting with bottles, aim for refillable options, such as this biological all-purpose starter kit which you can then refill using sachets. Make sure you have the cloths you need, such as this zero waste home set. We also find it handy to have reusable paper towels on hand for all ad hoc cleaning needs that tend to arise in the kitchen.
If you’d like to introduce zero-waste to your cleaning regimen in one hit, then you can’t go wrong with the Clean Living Complete Cleaning Caddy. It has everything in that you will need to get started. You can then use refillable sachets as needed.
Make a start
The trick with creating a plastic free kitchen is to do it gradually over time. Replace items as you need to, by making zero-waste decisions. If however, you simply can’t wait to get started, a great first step is to choose the Zero Waste Kitchen-Starter Kit; it’ll get you going and help you feel inspired to carry on.