The kitchen is the heart of the home, and it’s also a huge source of waste. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Now, with more of us concerned about where our waste ends up, it’s never been easier to switch to some zero waste kitchen routines.
Here’s how you can achieve a plastic-free kitchen in seven simple steps. They’re all kind to the planet, and to your bank balance. Win-win!
Beeswax Wraps Instead of Cling Film
Looking for a way to keep your leftovers fresher for longer without leaving a cellophane-shaped dent on the environment? Beeswax wraps are causing a buzz and for good reason. These waxy strips are reusable and biodegradable. They also have naturally antibacterial properties.
The selection from online zero waste store Acala is well priced for the assortment of sizes you get. Made from organic beeswax and cotton, a pack of six costs £12.99.
Local, Bulk Buy Shops Rather Than Packaging-Heavy Supermarkets
Fed up with the plastic packaging that accumulates after a weekly shop? Grab a couple of tote bags and find your local zero waste store. (Check out Pebble Magazine’s ever-growing list of UK-based zero waste shops.)
Here you can fill up on cupboard staples including pulses, pasta, oils and spices plus toiletries and cleaning supplies. If you don’t live near a bulk buy shop, supermarket delis are usually happy to serve you using your own tupperware.
Bamboo-Based Cleaning Supplies Over Plastic Sponges
From dishcloths and kitchen towel to chopping boards and washing up brushes. Bamboo is having a bit of a moment. This fast-growing crop doesn’t need fertiliser or pesticides, making it a worthy alternative to plastic versions.
Pick up recycled dustpans and brushes made with bamboo handles. Or look for sustainably sourced wood pulp supplies from ethical brand Greener Cleaner.
Reusable Containers, Not Single Use
BYOC (Bring Your Own Container) is a mantra worth adopting if you’re trying to make greener life choices. Leftover takeaway boxes and rinsed out glass jars make excellent containers. Use them for your bulk purchases, work lunches and leftover dinners.
It’s also worth investing in a reusable coffee cup and water bottle. Pret, Patisserie Valerie, Starbucks, Costa and Paul all reward customers who carry reusable cups. The perfect purse-and-planet-friendly option!
Loose Fruit and Veg Over Packaged Varieties
Plastic can be handy for extending the shelf-life of products. But when so much fresh produce comes pre-wrapped in its own natural skin, it often seems excessive and unnecessary. (Hello, shrink-wrapped coconuts?!)
Forgo the big chains for farmers markets and local stores. You’re much more likely to bag plastic-free produce. If you’re short on time and big on getting your five a day, it’s worth signing up to a delivery box scheme. Farmdrop and OddBox are both excellent.
At £3.50, Morrisons wonky veg box gets you the most bang for your buck. Hyper local schemes exist too. CropDrop delivers locally grown, organic fruit and veg to north London’s Haringey residents for under £10.
Plant-Based Scrubbers in Place of Synthetic Sponges
Traditional polyester scourers shed harmful microfibres down the drain, and are usually binned after a couple week’s use. Instead, try plant-based loofah sponges, they’re durable, long lasting, compostable and look great too.
NatBrands offers 15% off when you buy their full set of loofahs. They can be used in the bathroom, kitchen and garden. Make sure you leave them to dry out naturally between uses to prevent mould.
Natural, Refillable Cleaning Supplies Instead of Disposable Detergent Bottles
Ecover offers a UK-wide refill service of its washing up liquids, laundry detergent and all purpose cleaner.
Sustainable start-up Splosh allows you to order its returnable cleaning pouches via an app. You can even use its “Bottle-ometer” to see how many bottles you’ve saved from entering the waste steam. Now there’s an idea we can’t refuse.
Small Steps Equals Big Action Towards A Zero Waste Kitchen
It’s inevitable that we’ll need to buy some plastic. Thankfully, there’s an increasing number of companies who recycle or upcycle the plastic we do accumulate. For example Lush accepts plastic lids (from drinks bottles etc). Terracycle takes cigarette-related waste and rubbish from beauty packaging. Readorn London refurbishes your broken or unwanted jewellery.
Don’t feel disheartened if you can’t fit all your waste into one, tiny mason jar after making these swaps. It’s admiral enough to take these small steps that will have a lasting impact.
Have you gone plastic-free? Tweet us your tips and tricks for creating a plastic-free home @thefoodrush