Easy Swaps to Reduce Plastic In Your Kitchen
I know how hard it is to start creating a home where we recycle, reuse and try to limit our impact on the planet, it’s such a daunting task. It can be a little overwhelming for us humans, we are creatures of habit after all, how do you even know where to even start?
Personally, the logical place for me to start was the kitchen. It’s the place where the magic happens (kidding). Seriously though, it was the easiest place to make the biggest impact because it’s where I notice the most how much rubbish I create when I buy and store food. It’s also where I separate my recycling and where I store my cleaning products so for me it was a no brainer. I don’t think it matters where you start, just start somewhere.
It’s crazy how much ‘stuff’ I used to put in the normal bin, embarrassing really. I’ve come a long way from the weeks of putting out a full bin each week. It's so satisfying now, secretly knowing it only has one bag in it. All the rest goes into the recycling bin or the soft plastic bag, and my food scraps go to a community worm farm a few streets away as I don’t really have a garden.
Here are some easy ways to swap out a few kitchen products that will really make a BIG impact. Do what feels right for you and your family, and certainly don’t think you have to throw out all the plastic you currently have. Use it as long as you can, then replace it when the time comes.
Stop using the plastic bags at the supermarket and take your own reusable cotton bags
The easiest thing to do is not use any type of bag if you can get away with it. Apples, oranges, tomatoes all come in their own packaging, do you really need to put it in a bag ? If you do prefer to bag some products make sure you remember to take your washable cotton bags into the supermarket with you ! The one’s from Us and the Earth actually have the weight of the bag on the tag, and a handy drawstring which is super helpful. You can also reduce your use of plastic packaging by so MUCH when you buy in bulk. Just transfer the contents from your bags into glass jars when you get home.
Think about how many plastic bags you use at the supermarket each week and times it by 52, then think of all the other households in Australia doing the same. Mind blowing huh ? We really need to change our habits and be the drivers for change, it will be worth it.
Say no to plastic wrap and swap it for silicone bowl covers.
Cling wrap has been a kitchen staple in our homes for years. It’s been around as long as I can remember, always kept with the baking paper, aluminum foil and tea towels.
I’ve got rid of it from my kitchen. Whatever was cling wrapped previously is now covered with a silicone stretch lid, or popped into a silicone food zip lock pouch. There are so many sizes available which can fit over a glass, a serving bowl, a glass or even a pan. They are transparent so it’s easy to see what’s inside, and even though they are round they are super stretchy so can fit on most odd shaped containers. They stack well too.
Don’t forget you can always use a flat plate over a bowl in the fridge, it’s a fantastic zero waste option for something you want to keep for a few days, just be careful when you’re taking it out. I know I’ve lost a few plates that have just skidded straight off the top of the bowl when I’ve removed it from the fridge !!
Consider buying a set of glass or stainless steel straws instead of continually buying single-use plastic straws
I have to admit, I don’t use a straw very often now, I guess because my kids are adults. Back in the day though, a paper straw just didn’t cut it with the kids, especially with a thick shake. Paper straws just got soggy pretty quickly so even though they aren’t made from plastic, they are not a great alternative in this case.
I do like a straw to swirl around a Bourbon and Coke though, and a glass straw seems to make it that little more fancy and enjoyable. Anyone with children will understand the amount of smoothies that can be consumed on a hot day, and they are just more fun through a stainless steel straw. Reusable straws can easily be put in a picnic basket or bag when you go out, and you can relax with the knowledge that you aren’t contributing to the crazy amount of single-use plastic straws we use here in Australia every day. I love going to a bar or pub now who don’t stick a plastic straw into every drink they make. Whether it’s because they realise the effect this practice has on the environment, or maybe it’s because it's a total waste of money? I don't know, I like to think it's the first option though.
Swap plastic food containers for silicone food pouches
How good are silicone ziplock food pouches? You can use them for almost anything ! They go in the fridge, freezer, dishwasher, microwave and pantry. They don’t leak, they are amazing and my all time favorite swap option. I store meat, chicken, frozen fruit, chicken stock, cut up melons and fish. I also use them to store rice, pasta and biscuits in. They are made to stand up in the fridge, I like to lay them flat and stack them in my freezer as it's not that big. I quite often make a salad for work in a big one, knowing the dressing won't be all through my bag by the time I get there.
Ditch your recycled supermarket bags when they are getting ratty, and replace them with some funky coloured, organic mesh shopping bags
Everyone has them, but hands up if you always forget to take your recycled supermarket bags with you? It’s so annoying I know ! Organic cotton mesh shopping bags are small and lightweight, easily fitting into your handbag so you won't be caught without them again. I keep mine in the car with my reusable food bags so I don't forget them, and also a few on a hook on the front door which I grab if shopping within walking distance of home. They are super handy for carrying beach equipment such as googles and towels to the pool too.
You can purchase these products over time like I did, or if you’re really ready to go you can save some $$$ and buy the Zero Waste Kitchen Starter Kit. It contains all the products I’ve discussed above, and can easily help you get started making eco-friendly swaps in your kitchen. It’s also a great gift idea for a Birthday or Mother’s Day, who needs a reason really? We offer complimentary shipping on all orders over $70 within Australia, and also offer Apple Pay and Afterpay.