Minimise plastic in the kitchen

March 27, 2019

I wanted to share a post about plastic in the kitchen as I’m currently working on minimising plastic in all parts of my house. Recently I was standing in a big supermarket and came to the realisation that nearly everything was packaged in plastic. It’s crazy to think how reliant we have become on this cheap form of packaging. It’s almost impossible to go plastic free when so many items that we need and use in every day life is wrapped in it..so I began researching my options and I thought maybe I can encourage a few others to also reduce plastic in their daily lives. Reducing all plastic is not something we can fix over night…but I’m optimistic just some small changes and tweaks around my own home and maybe the homes of other people can help our plastic problem. 

Apart from a few exceptions, I’ve very nearly stopped buying plastic wrapped produce and products…but the challenge is still there! Especially as some of my favourite products do come in plastic wrapping (i.e my favourite cheese, tea and even the cat food that I buy) – until we have a solution for that I’ve started working on finding solutions for other items in the kitchen. It’s a work in progress! So here are some things that I try go by and that I’m trying to find solutions for..

I’ve added some links below to some brands that provide great options (these are not sponsored). 

Meat

One of the best solutions for meat I think is simply to go to a butcher direct whenever you can and bring your own reusable meat container. This isn’t always possible – especially when you find yourself with an empty fridge at 7:30 pm and need to grab a few ingredients fast! And with less and less butchers around most meat now is being sold in supermarkets…but if you can find a great local butcher that also supports biodynamic, free range, or organic meat then I encourage you to buy your meat direct from the butcher and bring your own reusable glass, any reusable old plastic containers, bamboo container, enamel container or just asking them to wrap it in paper wrapping (At least paper breaks down faster than plastic!). If you’re in Sydney  – Harris Farm Markets have a few stores that also have a butcher section.. also a great solution!

You can find plenty of bamboo and reusable containers available for sale online i.e on amazon etc 

Pantry Items

For ingredients like rice, nuts, flour, spices, other grains etc I really recommend going to bulk food stores like source bulk foods . These types of stores are great because you can bring your own containers and jars! I have so many reusable old jars from old pasta sauces or other condiments to fill up on rice, grains, spices. You can also search for any local co-op shops as they also sell in bulk. 

Cheese and Dairy

This is a hard one for me, because some of my favourite cheeses come in plastic packaging (i.e mozzarella, brie and parmesan!) but I do go to the local cheese stall at one of the organic markets we visit, and get them to just wrap the cheese in paper packaging or directly in a bamboo container that I then store in the fridge. I also love my yoghurt and get my yoghurt from our friends at Burraduc Buffalo Farm..they sell their yoghurt in glass jars, which I then use to store my pantry items like nuts, rice, homemade pickles, ferments, sauces etc and if I ever have too many..I give them out to friends and family to use. In general search for brands that try and use more sustainable and better alternatives wherever they can. 

Vegetables and Fruit

99% of the time we can avoid buying fresh produce thats packaged in plastic. However sometimes it is just unavoidable. I find that buying seasonal helps and try find a local fresh produce market or supermarkets that are also focussed on reducing plastic usage and that have plenty of plastic free options. 

Shopping bags/Wrapping/Storing etc 

These days there are more and more options for reusable bags. I’ve collected a few over the years that are great to use at the markets and everywhere I go. For smaller items like grapes, plums, other soft fruit, or herbs, I now use small pouches and smaller cotton, hemp or bamboo bags to store small fruits or soft vegetables/fruits at the shops..instead of placing them in plastic bags. The smaller bags are also great for storing and they keep the produce fresh in the fridge. Instead of using plastic wrapping to cover food leftovers in the fridge, put a plate over your food or use beeswax wrapping and only use plastic wrapping when you really really really need to. 

This is one of the many options out there for hemp bags

DIY and cook more from scratch 

Cook from real ingredients more often..this is not only better for the environment, but it’s also much better for us! And if you have the time, make your own condiments, sauces, jams, etc all it takes is a bit of pre planning. 

More quick tips on reducing plastic

  • When you’re out of the house use a reusable glass bottle for water. I have 2 glass bottles that I just use over and over again…I’ve had them for a year now and take a bottle with me everywhere I go..to exercise, out to lunch, or to dinner. You never know when you’re going to get thirsty! 
  • Organisation and creating good habits is key. 
  • Research and research some more…new solutions keep popping up so below I’ve added some links to some wonderful resources and people who are sharing solutions on their platforms. 
  • Avoid buying or purchasing any unnecessary plastic cups, cutlery, straws and plates for any social gatherings or events at home. Look for options that are easily degradable as that’s always a better option. 
  • If you’re going to pick up your take away food – bring your own containers (just let the restaurant know advance). 
  • I also want to say, start talking about it in your community and sharing your solutions with your friends. When I first mentioned my concerns, some friends reached out and gave me actual tips, alternatives and solutions. 
  • Buy some of your pet food at the local butchers 
  • And the final tip that I would like to add is …ask yourself every time you purchase something that IS in plastic..Do you really need this? 

I think I’ve mentioned the P word enough already. So for now…I hope this post can encourage others to start learning more and to find solutions to our plastic problem. I would also LOVE to hear from you and what you guys do to minimise plastic usage in the kitchen and other parts of your life? And remember that any changes do take time…sometimes it’s just one of those things that is hard to avoid. 

Ana. 

 

Extra resources:

I quit plastics 

8 bits of plastic you can quit right now

“But it’s recyclable!” Yeah, right…

https://www.biome.com.au/911-plastic-free-life

 

 

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FOOD LIFESTYLE