How to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen
Becoming eco friendly is probably easier now than it has ever been, but with so many choices, it can be hard to take the leap. I want to help you get down the the basics and learn how to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen. Still wondering why you need to make the switch to eco friendly products? I gotcha covered there too!
Going zero waste or low waste sometimes feels like an overwhelming challenge and it really is a huge lifestyle change. My thinking is more along the lines of “many small changes make a great impact”. So have no fear my friend, if you are only able to make one small change today, than that is great! I have been on my own eco-friendly journey for many many years and still fail in so many areas. On the other hand, I do great in so many areas of life. Do what you can!
Check out these related posts for more ways to be eco friendly:
How to reduce plastic waste and why it matters
Plastic has changed our world, the way we work, our daily lives, and pretty much everything around us. Not all for the worst. I do realize that plastics have helped us be able to deliver more goods, deliver medications, afford cheaper fun (I am visualizing a cheap sled here as compared to a meta
l and wood sled), and so much more. The downside of that is that we have so much waste around us. According to 4Oceans.com our landfills are full of waste that will take upwards of 500-1000 years to decompose! That is a lot of waste hanging around for our future generations.
This waste gets animals trapped, eaten by innocent sea life, and is causing absolute wreckage to our oceans which is said to have more trash in it than sea life by year 2050 if we keep going at this rate of disposal.
The damage that it is doing to our health is no different. We are consuming plastics through our own diets by eating animals that eat plastics and allowing our plastic containers to leach into our foods. And while this seems like too massive of a problem to resolve, like I said before, many small changes make a great impact. So I want to give you some resources and tips (including my absolute favorite subscription EVER, Mighty Nest) on how to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen so that you can start today with small changes that make a big impact!
Eco friendly alternatives to plastic sandwich bags
Plastic bags are so easy, I get it. They are disposable and, if you have kids, sometimes they are mandatory. If you can commit to using eco friendly alternatives to plastic sandwich bags 90% of the time, then I call that a win! There are so many easy products out on the market today. And who knows, maybe you won’t even have to buy anything new.
I love the silicone sandwich bags from Stasher that I received from my Mighty Fix one month. Little Mister uses this to take sandwiches to school, but they also have gallon sized bags for freezer use or marinading meat. The possibilities are really endless since they can be microwaved, put in the freezer, washed, and even put in the dishwasher. You can even find them on amazon in different colors:)
If you have plastic food storage containers, you can be sure to use those for lunches as an alternative to plastic sandwich bags. While not ideal for health, it is wayyyy better for the environment than using disposable sandwich bags.
Reusable straws…a growing trend?
We have all seen that video of the poor sea turtle getting a straw pulled out of his nose, right? How sad. And those nasty little pieces of plastic hang around for about 200 years!!! That could mean a lot of sea creatures being injured from them, but I feel like that may be changing, slowly of course. Not long ago Starbucks announced they will be no longer using straws which is amazing!
There are a lot of options in the reusable straw realm, but I have only tried one. I really like stainless steel straws. They are portable, they are easy to clean with a pipe cleaner, and they can be used for a very, very long time. While I bought my first set a while ago, I did get another set from my Mighty Fix. I was happy to pass them along to another eco conscious person who had yet to use them!
Bamboo straws are another good option. Bamboo is super sustainable due to its fast growing rate. I haven’t tried these yet so if you do, let me know how you like them!
Eco friendly alternatives to water bottles
This was one of the no brainer switches that I made a long time ago. Steel water bottles won’t leach nasty chemicals into my water and they keep my water cold for a long time. There are so many eco friendly alternatives to water bottles out there so just look for the one that you love the best, that is free of lead, free of BPA lining, and is in your price range.
For my son, we love the Simple Modern bottles for their cost and the fact that they donate 10% to organizations with missions toward societal improvement. But when he was smaller, the Klean Kanteen bottle was perfect, no leaking, easy to clean, no nasty moldy straw to worry about.
If you prefer, you can go the glass route, which usually will have some plastic on it. I have used and loved Camel Back glass bottles as they are easier with kids because of the straw, but they are not 100% plastic free. And if water filtration is an issue, check out a bottle with a built in filter.
Eco friendly alternatives to plastic bags
Oh man, the plastic bag issue. I am not really sure why people get so emotional over plastic bags. It may take a bit of practice and some habit formation, but I promise that once you start shopping without plastic bags, you will never want to shop with them again!
If you are a bit of a seamstress, you can easily and quickly sew up some eco friendly alternatives to plastic bags, and they will be much cuter! Use old t-shirts or excess fabric to make it extra earth friendly. My sister made these adorable bags for me years ago and I just keep them in my purse all of the time. I get a lot of compliments on them too, which I hope inspires people to make small changes.
Grocery stores all over usually offer reusable tote bags that you can buy. There are so many that are made from recycled water bottles too! That is a really awesome way to be super eco friendly! And really, you can fit way more groceries in each bag and carry it more comfortably as well.
Another eco friendly alternative to plastic bags would be reusable produce bags. Take these baggies with you to the store (along with your shopping bag) and fill them up with produce. I promise that your dirty fruits and veggies don’t need to be protected from anything. Just wash them before eating them or cooking with them.
Plastic wrap alternatives
I am loving the new beeswax wraps that I am seeing just about everywhere. They can be used to wrap up a half of an avocado and keep it fresh for days, wrap up a sandwich for on the go, or just to wrap up a bowl of soup. They come in multiple sizes and are really reasonably priced. Mighty Fix with this link for only $3 and get 2 sheets of Bee’s Wrap for your first month with promo code BEESFIX2018 Every fix you receive after that will be $10 which is a steal!!!
Silicone lids are also a good option, but not as great as the beeswax wrap in my opinion but it is still a good plastic wrap alternative. Norwex is where I got my set, but you can find them just about anywhere. This plastic wrap alternative is made of silicone so no harmful plastics leach into your food.
Becoming eco friendly on a budget
Switching to eco friendly products can be a bit of a budget hit at first. You will pay more for products than what you are use to, but over time, they will save you a lot of money, seriously. Another good trick that I use to make the switch is to buy the products a little at a time. With a Mighty Fix subscription, you can do just that! Each month you will get 1 new product for only $10 which is a really good deal as most of the items they send are more expensive (retail price) than that. Getting the Mighty Fix subscription is one easy way to reduce plastic waste and not kill your budget. It is by far the easiest tip I have on how to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen.
Changing your habits can be hard, but it can also be really gratifying to do something so impactful. Learning how to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen is a huge step towards something bigger. It is as easy as finding eco friendly alternatives to plastic sandwich bags, using reusable straws, using an eco friendly alternative to water bottles and plastic bags, and getting plastic wrap alternatives. Remember, you can do it slowly over time using the Mighty Fix subscription or just picking up 1 item a month. Big changes come from a lot of little changes over time. You can do this!