Going plastic-free is more than just a trend; it’s a way of life. If you’re diving all-in to this sustainable lifestyle, you may be looking for simple ways to make it sustainable for the long-term. For many families, overcoming plastic usage in the kitchen seems like an impossible task. However, the truth is that it’s not nearly as difficult as you might think.
Ready to get started?
Here are eight simple strategies to go plastic-free in the kitchen.
Going plastic-free is more than just a trend; it’s a way of life. Use these simple strategies to go #plastic-free in the kitchen.
1. Store Leftovers Sustainably
Instead of placing leftover food in plastic tupperware, opt for glass, ceramic, or stainless steel instead. Not only will this be better for the planet, it will also be better for your health. And, as an added bonus, since these materials are durable, you’ll be able to use your containers for years to come.
2. Buy in Bulk
In many cases, plastic enters the kitchen wrapped around dried goods. However, grains, beans, dried fruit, and other items can all be easily purchased in bulk from many grocery stores and co-ops. Instead of using single-use plastic bags to bring your food home, opt for a reusable bag or bring your own mason jars—just be sure you know the tare weight of any items you plan to carry your food in. This reduces the amount of plastic you’ll use and will make your kitchen more organized.
3. Avoid Plastic Wrap
Many of us use plastic wrap to cover dishes or wrap food without ever considering the environmental impact. Try using natural beeswax instead of single-use plastic wrap. Natural beeswax is simple to take care of and is a safer alternative for packaging food. It holds up well around a variety of items and can even be used in place of plastic sandwich baggies for bringing lunches to work or school.
4. Take Your Utensils To-Go
Most people have no problem using silverware in their home. But somehow, when we go out into the world, all of that falls by the wayside. Plasticware is common and may sneak in without us even asking for it. Don’t let your takeout night or your next family vacation ruin your commitment to going plastic-free in the kitchen. Instead, make or purchase your own travel utensil kit. Whether you use old flatware or buy a set of bamboo utensils, be sure to include a fork, knife, spoon, napkins, and even a reusable straw—and be sure to decline any plasticware that’s offered since you already have our own.
5. Switch Up Your Dishwasher Detergent
When using the dishwasher, it’s easy to forget that those plastic-wrapped tablets are also a detriment to the environment. Instead, use powder or liquid dishwasher soap. If possible, you may even be able to find these items in bulk, so you can bring your own container to refill. Even if that’s not the case, you’ll still be taking a major step forward by cutting down on plastic usage in this often overlooked part of your kitchen.
6. Opt for Unpackaged Items
Plastic packaging is everywhere, especially around our food. When you go grocery shopping, consider if you really need the pre-washed salad greens or if you can buy the unbagged lettuce and spend a minute washing it yourself. Similarly, look out for prepared foods that are packaged in plastic. They may seem more convenient at first, but the long-term impacts of plastic usage are an inconvenient truth for everyone.
7. Use Cloth Napkins
Napkins and paper towels are almost exclusively packaged in plastic sleeves. However, there’s no need to use these items when cloth napkins work as well, if not better, than their single-use alternatives. Cloth napkins may have felt like a special occasion item in the past, but no longer. While it may take a learning curve to reach for and reuse a cloth napkin, you’ll soon get into the routine and see how easy it is to forgo plastic-wrapped napkins.
8. Make Your Own Snacks
One of the biggest culprits for single-use plastics comes during snack time. Whether you’re looking for snacks for yourself or your kids, it’s likely that they’ll come wrapped in plastic that will get thrown out immediately. Cracker sleeves, energy bar wrappers, cookie containers—the list of places you can find plastic in the snack aisle is endless. Consider researching recipes for knock-offs of your favorite treats. You may just find that they are more delicious, healthy, and eco-friendly than anything you could find at the store.
If the kitchen is the heart of the home, then you may feel nervous about whether or not you can pull off a plastic-free lifestyle there. But, rest assured, avoiding plastic in the kitchen has never been easier. With these tips, you and your family will be on your way to a happier, greener lifestyle in no time at all.
What are your favorite tips for going plastic-free in your home?
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About the Author
Kay Pascale is a sustainability and wellness writer. When she’s not writing, she loves to travel with her family, go on long walks with her dog, or learn new cooking recipes.