It is widely accepted that we are slowly destroying our world with plastic. This resilient material takes 1,000 years to decompose, which means it is filling our landfills and our oceans with no intention of disappearing anytime soon.
One way in which we can help our planet is to reduce how much plastic we use. This is a challenging task simply because so much of what we consume comes with plastic, whether it’s the packaging from online purchases or the plastic microbeads in our cosmetics.
But it can be done – and the easiest way is to start with one aspect of your life at a time. Here are some tips on how you can reduce plastic waste in your kitchen.
Buying your food loose
A lot of the food in supermarkets comes wrapped in plastic, especially fruit and veg. Try and pick up fruit and veg that is on offer in its loose form – i.e. that is not pre-packaged in plastic. If big-chain supermarkets do not have such vegetables, it should be easy to find food like this from your local greengrocer. Because we buy food so often, cutting down the plastic you buy in this form can really make a difference.
Choosing beeswax food wraps
Cling film is an integral part of any household; it is just a convenient way of keeping your food fresh. But it also generates a lot of plastic waste. An environmentally friendly way of running your kitchen is to switch to beeswax food wraps. These wraps are reusable, recyclable and made out organic materials that decompose easier. And their product lifecycle is longer: you can use beeswax food wraps for about a year before you consider buying new ones, which means they are an excellent alternative to cling film.
Carry cloth shopping bags
This one is simple and obvious, but startlingly effective. If you have ever collected the number of plastic bags you receive when shopping in a supermarket, you will know that it adds up to a large amount. Simply carrying a cloth bag each time you shop can make a huge difference. So much so that supermarkets are now on the bandwagon, offering you reusable cloth bags instead of plastic ones.
Stop using plastic sponges
One of the most intriguing things about plastic is that it comes in many forms, making it difficult to identify it. Did you know our everyday kitchen sponges are made of plastic? The soft yellow part (which feels like natural sponge) is a plastic-based polymer and the green, scrubbing layer is a harder polyethylene mesh. You can find several alternatives to a plastic sponge that are both more sanitary and will make your kitchen greener.
Use alternatives to plastic food bags
Several of us have plastic Ziploc bags that we use to store our greens and our veg in the fridge. These bags act as an easy form of organisation, and are a great way to keep our vegetables fresh. But you don’t have to choose plastic – there are now several great eco-friendly alternatives, such as Vejibags and other eco-friendly bags, for exactly the same purpose. There are also several ways in which you can keep your fruit and veg fresh without resorting to bags. The HuffPost does an excellent breakdown of what your options are if you don’t want to use plastic.
Tackling the plastic problem can sometimes feels like a Herculean task. There is so much plastic in our environment and our lives that the material seems omnipresent. But each action counts. De-cluttering your kitchen is an important step in removing plastic from your life – it will leave you feeling greener, cleaner, and happier!