Are you struggling to break free from the convenience of plastic in your kitchen? Now that the single-use plastic ban has been put into place, it has given those people that aren’t as conscious about plastic a forced look inside their homes. People are finally here and understanding how it will take their zero waste game up a notch.
For many, the kitchen is the hardest room to reduce your plastic consumption. This is partly down to the supermarkets' obsession with unsustainable packaging - it shouldn’t be so hard to find a plastic-free cucumber! When you’re trying to go plastic-free in the kitchen, the simplest way to get started is to take account of what plastics you currently have in your kitchen. If you have a lot of single-use plastic in your kitchen, like cling film or plastic containers, then you may want to look into reusable alternatives so you can swap when you’re about to run out.
Here’s our top 10 list to get you started on your journey.
1. Single Use Plastic Bags
Who doesn’t have a drawer full of these bags from years of grocery shopping? Now that there is a ban in grocery stores, there are many many reusable bags you can use for your grocery shopping. However, for single use trash bags, there aren't a lot of reusable trash bag alternatives on the market yet. The best bet is to use paper bags when you can and biodegradable or compostable bags.
2. Plastic Straws and Drink Stirrers
Plastic straws have been replaced in many restaurants and coffee shops across the globe. It is one of the easiest things to replace inside your home as well. Plastic straws are simply unnecessary. Either don't use straws or carry a reusable silicone one or paper one with you, if absolutely necessary. Inside your home, you can make the switch to metal straws.
3. Plastic Bottles
Over one million plastic bottles are bought around the world every minute and that number will continue jumping up if we aren’t a part of the solution. Drink water from the tap in a glass cup when you are at home and carry a refillable bottle with you at all times. If you think a refillable cup takes up too much space, try a collapsible one.
4. Plastic Containers for Storage/Take Away
It is so easy to store and purchase tons of plastic food storage containers for either yourself or to pack leftover food in for others. Using glass pyrex containers for storage is wonderful. Not only does it keep the food in your pantry fresh, but it helps you with the inventory. You know exactly what is in your home now that it’s in glass jars and you can see it. It reduces the plastic in your home significantly.
5. Cling Wrap
Who doesn’t already get frustrated by cling wrap? It is impossible to get a piece off the roll without it trying to wrap up into a ball. With that, this is an easy item to replace, less frustration and less plastic. Use glass storage containers, tin foil (rinse and reuse), parchment paper, or fabric bowl covers.
6. Plastic Sandwich Bags
Another disposable plastic item that is bought over and over again are Ziplock sandwich bags. Instead, there are many reusable options such as a stainless steel sandwich box, reusable silicone or fabric sandwich bags, or wax papers to wrap your food in.
7. Children’s Dinnerware & Cutlery
Plastic dinnerware contains toxic chemicals which may lead to early puberty, low sperm count, hyperactivity, and aggressiveness – to name a few. There are lots of plastic-free children’s plates and bowls available. Some great alternatives for dinnerware are stainless steel, food-grade silicone and melamine-free bamboo/plant based. For non-toxic, non-plastic kids’ cups – stainless steel cups take the cake. They will serve their purpose longer than plant-based or silicone.
8. Kitchen Sponges
The most common sponges people use for washing up are made from plastic. They are hotspots for bacteria and many people throw one away each day - a catastrophic amount of waste if everyone is doing it. There are many alternative options such as dish clothes, silicone brushes and eco-friendly scrubbers.
9. Dishwasher Tablets
It surprised me when I first found out that dishwashers use less water than washing up by hand. I love my dishwasher, but I hate that most brands use toxic chemicals and wrap each tablet in plastic. Opt for a brand (like Berkley Green) that come in wrappers that dissolve in water so you don’t have to take them off.
10. Plastic Produce Bags
If you take cotton or mesh bags to the supermarket you will be more likely to buy them loose and plastic-free which will reduce the amount of plastic you bring home with you.
Berkley Green is a wholly eco-friendly brand and stands firm with eliminating plastic as much as possible in your home to protect our environment and landfills. Sometimes, an eco-friendly lifestyle is a privilege. If you’re at the beginning of your eco-friendly lifestyle transition, you’ll more than likely have lots of plastic in your kitchen. Try not to let the eco guilt get the best of you. We live in a throwaway society and were raised with this mindset. It’s wonderful that you’re here now making positive changes. You can still be a valuable part of the zero-waste movement. It’s important to focus on what you can do instead of what you can’t.