Nowadays, we are all aware of the impact that plastic is having on our environment and people around the world are looking for ways to reduce the use. But look around your kitchen, you will see most of the products you buy come in plastic packaging and it is unnecessary. It can be overwhelming and feel like an uphill struggle to know what to do to do your part in the war against plastic.
The thing to remember is that we all start somewhere, and any small change can make a big difference down the line. Here are 5 easy ways to reduce the amount of plastic you use in your kitchen that you can start today.
1. Reuse your grocery bags
Every year, it is estimated that 500 billion to one trillion plastic bags are used worldwide. One of the simplest things you can do is reuse the ones you already have! More and more people are planning ahead and taking their old plastic bags when they go shopping but what about when you’re caught without a bag? Do your part by investing in reusable material fabric grocery bag. They are inexpensive and fold up small enough to keep in your handbag, stored in your glove compartment or even in your coat pocket, so when you find yourself in a situation where you need a bag, you won’t be caught short. This can really make a difference in picking up new plastic bags every time you go shopping.
What about that plastic bag you have in the kitchen, the one that is filled to the brim with other plastic bags? The key is not to throw them all out – that goes against being more sustainable! Why not look for new ways to use them? You can wrap meat, ready to store in the freezer, use them to line the fridge compartments to keep them clean, pack away your summer clothes during the winter months to keep dust free – get creative and you will find that there are tons. of uses for your old plastic bags.
2. Cut the plastic wrap!
In the 70 years since plastic began to be mass produced, we have used enough plastic to wrap the Earth in plastic wrap! Imagine where all that plastic is now, and how we can sustain that kind of pollution. The answer is, we can’t! Cutting out or completely removing plastic wrap and sandwich bags from your kitchen is a great way to help the environment – and it’s easier than you think. Nowadays there are many alternatives, some of which actually work better than plastic.
- Beeswax wrappers can safely wrap sandwiches and cheese, cover dishes and keep fruit and vegetables fresh for longer.
- Glass or metal lunchboxes last much longer than their plastic counterparts.
- Reusing jars, bottles and takeaway containers can ensure you avoid having to buy any storage items.
3. Reuse dishcloths
When your dishcloth is looking worse for wear, don’t throw it out! It can probably be revitalized and last for months rather than days. Regularly sanitize your dishes and then wash your laundry once a week to remove the stain. When your dishcloths have reached the end of their life and really need to be thrown away, consider making sure to buy natural cleaning cloths that can be recycled or make use of old items of clothing to create cleaning cloths.
4. Buy concentrated cleaning products
Do you check your cleaning product packaging to see if it is recyclable? Many items are, but the fact is that most of us simply throw away things like trigger bottles and then buy a new one. There are a few things you can do here…
- Repurpose old trigger bottles – wash and fill with water to spritz your plants or fill with fabric conditioner water to freshen up upholstery.
- Buy your cleaning products in bulk, concentrated form. You will greatly reduce the amount of packaging needed, the water used for the products and the fuel used for the ship. There are many brands that sell hard working cleaning products in concentrated strength which are great alternatives to your high street brands. Use your recycled trigger bottles and mix with water according to product guidelines.
5. Visit food stores without waste
Zero waste stores are popping up all over the country. You can take your own jars, boxes or bags and fill them with all kinds of food cupboard staples. These stores are particularly good for dried foods (pasta, rice, cereals) as well as nuts and dried fruits. Not only are you doing your part for the environment, but glass jars filled with your dried goods also make a much better design statement on your shelves!
These tips are a great place to start and should help you on your way to finding even more ways to reduce the amount of plastic in your kitchen.
This article was written by Annie McFadden of The Cleaning Collective