Going plastic-waste-free in the kitchen mainly involves foodie plastic and cleaning products and as such I’ve listed my solutions for various kitchen-related items below:
- It goes without saying that food packaging involves a heck of a lot of plastic so the first step would be to keep an eye out for alternatives in cardboard packing, tins or glass.
- Food storage also involves plastic in the form of plastic tubs, bags and clingfilm. Plastic tubs are particularly reuseable, and the ones in our family we’ve had for years and just keep washing and reusing so they’re a really useful form of plastic. Frozen food bags and clingfilm, however, are easy to avoid by using tubs instead, or, if possible, glass jars or greaseproof paper (which you can put in the compost or green bin).
- Buy a reuseable metal water bottle like this 500ml one from Oxfam to save a tonne of plastic from bottles, not to mention the amount of energy that goes into bottling the water.
- If you use straws, buy a load of reuseable stainless steel straws from savesomegreen.co.uk
Cleaning – Ecover
- Washing powder and dishwasher tablets both come in cardboard packaging (although recyclable plastic encases each dishwasher tablet), and you can buy huge washing-up liquid refills to cut down on a load of plastic
- All their other products (and there’s one for every cleaning need) come in plastic which is a combination of recycled plastic, Plantplastic® and ocean plastic and is fully recyclable (lids and spray caps included).
Let me introduce your best friends here: white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Almost all homemade solutions involve one or both. An important thing to bear in mind here is that you don’t need a separate product for every little task – if it’s cleaner, it will clean whether it’s a surface or the floor. You can find detailed instructions for how to use your vinegar and baking soda from plasticfreejuly.org but I’ve pulled out 3 ideas from various plastic-free sites below:
- All purpose cleaner – reuse an old spray bottle with 1 part vinegar to 3 parts water
- Washing-up liquid – either use bicarb or bulk castile soap
- Window cleaner – use an old newspaper to wipe vinegar on the window and dry with a clean sheet of newspaper
- Cleaning cloth/brush – biodegradable washing up brushes are available from savesomegreen.co.uk or amazon. Skoy cloths are biodegradable, you can wash them in the dishwasher/washing maschine and reuse them for ages, but they can be expensive to get hold of. An alternative are twist cloths which are also biodegradable but come in less-than-desirable plastic packaging. But the best thing by far is using old pieces of cloth or teatowels which can be washed when needed. This should also mean fewer kitchen towels are used which is better for the environment as well as your purse of course!
- Bin liners – this one is tricky. You can buy biodegradable bin liners, or line your bins with old newspaper but by far the best solution is to not to use a landfill bin at all! Now before you scoff and turn away, just hear me out. Almost all types of plastic (as well as the usual cardboard/tins/glass etc.) are now recyclable, even the film plastic from e.g. cereal boxes, so it wouldn’t be impossible to avoid landfill altogether. If that sounds a bit too ambitious then how about starting by reducing what you do send to landfill? Use a smaller bin (so smaller bag), make sure you have up-to-date recycling information for your area and use it to the full, and maybe make the occasional change in what you buy so that the materials are recyclable. Sounds doable, right?