Food, Lifestyle, Plastic Free Challenge
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How To Use Less Plastic in the Kitchen

Kitchen glassware

This post is part of an on-going series about going plastic free one area of your life at a time. See the other posts here and sign-up for Nikkey’s newsletter to recieve new plastic free challenges as they come out. This challenge is inspired by her work with eXXpedition on a microplastic research voyage through the Pacific Ocean. 

Over 8 millions tons over plastics ends up in the ocean every year, it’s time we change that. Welcome to our first no plastic challenge!  

With Easter weekend here we thought it was fitting to start in the kitchen. There’s going to be food to buy, people to feed and leftovers to save. So here we go, for the next two weeks we challenge you to these swaps:

Grocery Shopping

Plastic bags > Reusable bags (including produce and bulk food)

Why:
Most are not recycled. With their lightweight nature even when disposed of plastic bags can easily be blown into waterway and end up in the ocean to be eaten by turtles and whales mistaking them as jellyfish.

Where to find alternatives:
Most grocery stores carry reusable bags for purchase, keep a few in your car so you’re never without when you go to the store. If you have scrap fabric hanging around you can make your own bags, check out Boomerang Bags for inspiration. You can find reusable produce bags in most health food stores, online or ditch them all together. For bulk food if your store doesn’t carry paper bags in the bulk area you can usually find them in the produce section by the mushrooms. Or bring your own – just make sure they’re food safe.

One step further:
Watch how much packaging goes in your cart, if there’s an option for two of the same item opt for the one with less plastic packaging. Or shop at a zero waste grocery store if there’s one in your area!


Food Storage

Plastic Cling Wrap > Beeswax Wraps or Fabric Covers

Why:
Plastic wrap can not be recycled and can contain harmful chemicals.

Where to find alternatives:
You can make both of these if you like DIYs or find them at most health food stores and online.

Plastic Tupperware > Glass Containers

Why:
Glass is more sustainable, the plastic in your tupperware will outlive you and eventually breakdown into microplastics. Many brands contain harmful chemicals that can leach into your food over time.

Where to find alternatives:
Most kitchen stores and online.

Advisory: Never use left over plastic containers from things such as yogurt or butter – these containers are single use and not meant to be used over time. They’re more likely to contain chemicals like BPA that will leach into your food faster.


Straws

Plastic Straws > Steel Straws (or skip straws all together)

Why:
Straws are a single use, non-recyclable plastic. Over 500 million of these unnecessary items are used daily around the world making them a major contributor to the plastic problem.

Where to find alternatives:
Most kitchen stores and online.


Cutlery

Plastic Cutlery > Rented, Borrowed or Biodegradable Cutlery

Why:
Single-use, non recyclable plastics. These contain harmful chemicals that you’re probably using on hot food which can speed up the leaching process.

Where to find alternatives:
If you are feeding more guests than you have cutlery for ask to borrow extras from family or friends or rent from a catering company (we do this at Christmas). If you absolutely must use something disposable for some reason then go for a biodegradable brand (I’ve never seen these in store but you can purchase online).


Cooking Utensils

Plastic Utensils > Bamboo Utensils

Why:
Plastic utensils can melt or flake off while you’re cooking transferring harmful chemicals into your food. Bamboo is a fast growing renewable resource.

Where to find alternatives:
Most kitchen stores or online.

 

There’s your challenge readers! Comment below to let us know how it goes for you! Let us know if you have any question or more suggestions for alternatives.

Our next challenge will be in two weeks, sign-up here to be notified by newsletter.

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