The production of plastic dates back to the early 1900’s and as the years have gone on plastic has developed into the durable, inexpensive and convenient form it is today. Many consumers and manufacturers find plastic so appealing because it is so inexpensive but plastic production is taking a big toll on our earth. If you pause and look around, you’ll quickly notice how much plastic actually surrounds you. Some claim they choose plastic because they can use it over and over again for a very long time but the fact is most of the time we only use that plastic briefly and, in some cases, only for one use. Approximately 50% of the plastic we use gets thrown away after just one use.
The unfortunate thing about plastic is it can stick around for years. In fact, it could even take up to 1000 years for a piece of plastic to degrade. On average we throw away 35 billion plastic water bottles every year. Likewise, the average American will throw away 185 pounds of plastic each year. To put that into perspective that is enough plastic to circle the earth four times per year. Now you might be asking yourself, well what about recycling? Recycling is a great option and should be a priority when possible, however, roughly only 5% of plastic that is produced is recovered. At the end of the day, we only have one earth and it’s important we take care of it for us and for the generations to come. This starts with mindfulness of your plastic consumption and the next step is trying to convert our beloved plastics to eco-friendly options. In an attempt to help make this transition easy we have found 16 tools and tips to help reduce the plastic in your kitchen.
If you’ve already cut back on the plastic shopping bags, that’s great! However, there are little bits of plastic that seem to still make their way into the kitchen. One of those little sneaky plastics is produce-bags. We often grab them for fresh produce and to cover meat packs.
The little bags might seem thin and harmless but they too can add up. In an attempt to help eliminate those bags you could try these meshed produce bags. They’re reusable and washable and the mesh material will help keep your fruits and veggies fresh and crisp just as a plastic bag would. This set comes with 9 bags in 3 different sizes. You can use them for more than food storage you can use them around the house too. They’re also machine wash safe which is a huge win for many of us. Just don’t forget to bring them to the grocery store on your next shopping trip!
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I’m sure many have seen the viral video of the turtle who got a plastic straw stuck in its nose and after seeing that you really second guess that plastic straw. Whether you’ve seen the video or not it’s important to know how a little plastic straw can have a mighty impact on our environment.
Some sources estimate that in America alone, there are 500 million straws used each day. If you’re a visual person, that is the equivalent of filling 127 school buses with straws. While your quick fast food or coffee run might seem innocent those plastic straws really add up. They can pile up in the landfills and unfortunately in many cases end up in the ocean too. Considering they don’t biodegrade they can harm our environment and the animals that live in them. To help decrease your straw footprint on the environment you can get these stainless steel straws. I personally love stainless steel straws, they’re easy to use and this set comes with multiples of different sizes so you can bring a few with you when you’re on the go. It also comes with a brush cleaner so you can make sure you’re getting a clean straw after every use.
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Many of us keep some sort of cleaning brush by the sink for those hard to clean dishes. A lot of those brushes are made from once again, plastics and synthetic fibers. To help decrease your plastic cleaning tools you could use natural cleaning brushes.
This is a set of two cleaning brushes and is safe to use on cookware and your counter/tables. The handle is made out of bamboo and the bristles are made from natural coconut fibers which makes these brushes eco-friendly and biodegradable. This means once your brush has worn down and it’s time to toss you can put it in the compost. The ergonomically-designed handle will feel comfortable in your hand the stiff bristles will clean your skillets, pots and pans and even that Instant Pot!
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When you have leftover food or partially used veggies we often rely on plastic wrap to help preserve it. As an alternative to cut back on plastic you could try beeswax food wrap. It’s sustainable and natural and definitely environmentally friendly.
You can easily wrap up fruits and vegetables, cheese and even bread. You could also use it to cover a bowl or to pack a snack instead of using a plastic bag. They work with the warmth of your hands which softens the beeswax to form over your food or bowl and as the wrap cools it will seal. These beeswax food wraps are reusable and washable. They’ll last you about a year depending on how you care for them and once they’re no longer good you can compost them. For variety, this set comes with 3 different sizes.
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If you don’t love the idea of beeswax covers you could also simply make your own covers. There have been copious amounts of time that I’ve relied on plastic wrap to preserve my leftovers and if you’re like me these would be a great way to cut down on that plastic wrap.
This step by step tutorial shows how easily you can make your own bowl covers by using fabric, elastic and a few sewing skills. The fun part is that their very customizable and you can pick any pattern or color fabric you like. Once you see how easy they are to make you’ll be bound to start making these as gifts for your friends and family. The more plastic we can cut back the better!
An important part of your kitchen is filling your fridge and cupboards with food to fuel you and your family. With those groceries come the necessary tools to transport them. Some stores are recognizing the impact plastic bags can have on our environment and are charging a fee for each plastic bag.
To help deter the plastic bags you could convert your shopping bags to these canvas totes. This comes as a pack of 5 so you’ll have plenty to transport your groceries back and forth. They’re also plain so if you like to get creative you and your kids could decorate them for a fun craft activity.
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Cooking utensils are important tools in helping us prepare meals. There is a vast variety of utensils you can buy from cooking spoons to spatulas and even avocado slicers. When choosing your utensils it’s important to be conscious of your plastic consumption here too.
Wooden utensils will work just as great as plastic utensils and they’ll last you a really long time too. Some wooden tools can come back to life once you condition them. If you haven’t conditioned wooden tools before it’s a process where you clean the tool then rub with oil to bring the wood back to life. By doing this you can often double its lifespan. However, once it is time to toss them and because they’re wood you can compost them and they’ll biodegrade.
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It’s quite common that the average household has a cutlery set of some type of metal but we’re not focusing on your daily silverware. We’re looking at all that throwaway plastic cutlery that we often use for parties. Yes, they are convenient because you can throw them away and that means minimal mess and fewer dishes to clean after a gathering or party. However, those little plastic forks, knives, and spoons too can add up.
Whether you keep your disposable cutlery sets in the kitchen or not we have a found a disposable and biodegradable version that you can feel good about using. This specific set comes with 300 pieces so unless you regularly host 100 guests at a time this set will last you a long time. They’re definitely unique and might even be a conversation starter but the fact that you can compost these utensils makes them definitely environmentally friendly.
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When we go on our weekly grocery shopping trip it’s so easy to pick up a bag of lettuce or a carton of berries but then you’re left with loads of plastic waste. Sometimes it is hard to avoid the plastic so don’t forget to recycle what is allowed in your city.
When it is avoidable we recommend that you shop locally when possible. Many cities have local food markets where you can buy fresh food from a local farm. Buying locally helps support the family farms in your area and can help cut back on all the plastic packaging. If you’re unable to shop locally due to lack of fresh food in your area or whatever circumstances don’t forget to bring your reusable produce bags to the grocery store.
I’m sure many of us have a cupboard designated to plastic container madness. Those plastic containers come in handy especially for leftovers or if you’re a devoted meal-prepper but once again that plastic adds up. A simple solution would be to switch to glass containers.
They don’t cost much more than buying a set of plastic containers and they’re definitely better for the environment. You also don’t have to worry about plastic chemicals leaching into your foods over time especially after every time you heat that container up. Following, glassware doesn’t stain like plastic and keeps your food tasting and feeling fresh even after you’ve reheated it. If you want to complete overhaul of your plastic containers this set would be a great idea because it comes with 13 containers of different shapes and sizes.
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Many prepackaged loaves of bread we buy from the supermarket come in plastic bags. These bags help keep the bread fresh until you’re ready to eat. Although the plastic bags serve a purpose their footprint on our environment really adds up too.
In an attempt to help cut down on the plastic firstly you can start to buy your bread locally at a bakery. Afterall, there is nothing like freshly baked bread. Secondly, we have found an easy do it yourself tutorial on how to make your own linen bread bag. The combination of using linen and the deisng of the bag will help you keep your bread fresh without any plastic at all.
If you’re like me and your cupboard is filled with an assortment of serving and mixing bowls then you most likely have plastic ones in the mix too. They may be inexpensive and lightweight but aren’t great for our environment. If you want to transport your kitchen to be as much plastic-free as possible then switching to all glass or wooden bowls would be a great idea.
These glass bowls come as a set of three that work great for mixing or for serving. You’ll also get 3 different sizes for variety. They’re also clear which provides a sleek and aesthetically pleasing design.
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Metal ice cube trays have been around for ages and might bring some serious flashbacks for some of you. They were quite popular in the 1950’s but were often made out of aluminum. Through the ages, ice cube trays have transitioned from aluminum to a twistable polypropylene then to silicone. The plastic trays offered convenience but now years later, we’re really noticing the toll plastic has on our environment.
To help make your kitchen have a little less plastic you could go back tot he 50’s and start using a metal tray. Although, instead of aluminum, these trays are 18/8 stainless steel. It’s durable, dishwasher safe and most importantly not plastic.
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If you don’t already have a reusable water bottle it’s time you get one! Those disposable plastic water bottles are filling the landfills and not in a good way. They may be convenient to grab and go but so is a reusable one. First, we’ve included a stainless steel water bottle. This one is vacuum insulated so it will keep your water cold for long periods of time.
Secondly, we’ve included glass water bottles. Some people don’t like stainless steel products and that is okay too. They’re simple yet effect and this particular one comes with a set of 6 so you can get everyone in your family their own water bottle. Once you get into the habit of using a reusable water bottle you’ll never look back!
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If you look around your kitchen cupboards you’ll quickly see how much food comes packaged. While we may be able to recycle cardboard all those plastic bags and containers can’t always be recycled. In result, we often end up with a large amount of trash.
Another great way to help decrease your plastic consumption is to buy your foods in bulk. Many of us have access to bulk food stores where you pay by weight. Some of these stores even allow you to bring your own containers instead of using yet again, a plastic bag so makes sure to ask your local bulk food store and save the plastic!
It’s quite common for the average person to have a glass or ceramic mugs on hand in the kitchen but you can go one step further and make sure to always have a travel cup handy. Many cafe’s and restaurants will allow you to bring your own cup which saves the environment from some added trash. Some cafes even offer a discount if you bring your own so make sure to ask!
This travel mug is a stainless steel and perfect for hot and cold drinks! It’ll keep your beverage warm or cold (depending on the beverage you have inside) all day long. It does have a BPA-FREE plastic lid but that small lid is a much better choice than purchasing throw away cups everytime you go for a coffee run. This cup also comes with a bonus stainless steel straw and brush to clean it.
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