Are you feed up with the large amount of plastic accumulated, particularly in the kitchen? Wrapping materials, packages for fruits, vegetables, and ready-made foods, plastic containers for washing liquids and detergents. We are drowning in plastic!
Plastics at home means a large amount of material going to rubbish bins, and even if the waste goes into recycle bins it still requires space and time for separating them from the rest of the products (for example some packages contain different material as paper, metal, etc.) All this time and energy could go instead for doing something more useful. In this article, we would like to give you some practical hints in order to reduce the amount of plastic in your kitchen.
1. Think before you buy
Perhaps the largest amount of plastic coming to the house is after everyday shopping which end up in the kitchen. There is really lots of items which are not essential to buy, and they might contain many pieces of plastic in them. Simply think well about your shopping list, watch around the kitchen if there is really need to buy everything on your list, or if it is possible to re-use any object, or repair. Let’s give an example of the plastic brush used in the kitchen regularly, if it looks a bit old or has got spots on it because of high use, simply scrub and wash it well or use some vinegar (natural disinfectant) to clean it and making it look better.
2. Buy unpacked food when possible
Often the products in supermarkets have so much packing materials; for example vegetables such as tomatoes, or some fruits could be found both in plastic packages, and loose/irto (unpacked) too. You could try to avoid buying always items in plastic-containers, instead take the weight of the product, place into paper bag, and buy the amount which you need.
3. Keep glass jars for storage
when we do our shopping, the products are sometimes found in glass jars, such as pickles, jams, sauces, olives, etc. It is very convenient to keep some of those glass jars after getting empty; wash well, and re-use for the purpose of storing food in them. For example, we could keep dry grains, rice, pasta, dry beans, and dry herbs inside those jars instead of storing them in plastic containers. Glass jars are from different sizes, we could keep some from each size and re-use them also to keep the leftover food in the fridge, such as soups, tomato sauces, salad dressing if home-made, porridge, etc.
4. Buy or re-use glass containers
Often containers for the use of kitchen are of plastic, but if you look for them, there are also glass containers of various sizes and shapes in the shops. If it is not easy to find in normal supermarkets, perhaps you could look for them in specific kitchen shops.
5. Use plate, paper, or cloth to cover leftover food
If you make a food which is then transferred into a bowl/dish and is not eaten all, you will need to place it in the fridge for the day after. In that case, instead of covering the bowl with the plastic, you could easily use a flat-plate, kitchen paper, or a clean cloth. If you are patient enough, you could also look for a piece of elastic, and use it to put around the cloth to keep it tighter, or just simply use a large enough paper/cloth which goes around your dish well. The cloth could then easily be re-used.
6. No need for straws
For sure we are all able to drink with the glass/cup, no need of plastic straws, not even for kids. Simply talk to children about it, they understand this is something which creates rubbish and it is not essential, not even for the birthday parties. If children understand the reasons, then they will collaborate better. For example, you could instead together be creative and decorate the house for the birthday party.
7. Use a non-plastic kitchen tool set
Not only for eating, but also for cooking, we cook use big wooden/stainless-steel spoons instead of plastic ones. Or using wooden cutting board instead of the plastic. Watch carefully around the food stores (or specific kitchen shops), there are many available alternative tools made of wood, stainless-steel, glass or sometimes of ceramic.
8. Refill detergents and soap containers
Often it is also possible to avoid liquid detergents in plastic containers, for example to buy solid-bar soaps instead. There are also shops which provide possibility of re-filling some detergents such as shampoo; one can buy a certain shampoo first, and go back to the same shop and fill it again when it is finished. Also for most cleaning in the kitchen, one can use vinegar which is a powerful disinfectant, rather than harsh chemicals often found in plastic containers.
9. Practice self-production
When providing food for kids and family as snacks or full meals for school/work, you could use home-made/leftover food put in own containers, and try to avoid buying always ready packaged-snack-foods of the shops. This is going to be healthier and perhaps cheaper.
10. Eat more plant-based foods and less fish
We must know that plastic-pollution in the environment is not only all about bottles or straws, but also related to our choice of food; in this case related to fish industry. According to many investigations by scientists and researchers, the amount of plastic in the seas and oceans is a lot also produced by the machinery and fishing-nets of the fish industry; e.g. see Garbage and Plastic in Waters. A simple change of food on our plate is a powerful and efficient way to reduce the impact of plastic-pollution.
*You might find also useful tips on how to reduce waste at home: Recycle and Waste Control
by Mehri R.