Did you remove all paper napkins and towels from your kitchen? Great! You’re that much closer to a Zero Waste Kitchen. Let’s move on to Step 2, to the very-much-more-toxic item: plastic. And learn how we can switch to glass for a plastic-free kitchen.
- Why a Plastic-free Kitchen?
- Step 2: Switch All Plastic to Glass and Cloth
- One Step Closer to a Zero Waste Kitchen
Why a Plastic-free Kitchen?
Do we need a reminder about the ill effects of plastic?
Also, BPA and phthalates from plastic containers leach into your food mostly during the cooking process. So, don’t microwave food in plastic containers or plastic wrap. Don’t use dishwashers; hand-wash them instead.
Then there are microplastics.
Microplastics are tiny pieces of plastic measuring less than 5mm in diameter. It has several effects on living beings, and none of them good. It’s enough to have to studiously avoid microplastics, which can enter your kitchen through cleaning products, and – if you have your washing machine in your kitchen – can get released when you wash synthetic garments. (In fact, machine-washing one single synthetic garment releases hundreds of thousands of microplastic fibres.) And accumulation of microplastics in marine animals can cause gut impaction, hormone disruption, and liver damage, to mention a few documented effects, and we don’t yet know the effects on humans.
Now, out with the bad news, and in with how we can kill two birds with one stone (avoid plastics and avoid waste) through having a zero waste kitchen.
Step 2: Switch All Plastic to Glass and Cloth
Here are the things we do to make our kitchen free of plastic:
1. Switch to glass containers
Store kitchen items in glass containers instead of plastic ones as much as possible. Consider using microwave-grade glass containers for warming food. Don’t use shrink-wrap.
Glass can be recycled over and over without much loss in quality. Also, have you ever wondered if you could recycle your glass wine bottles?
2. Switch to reusable (cloth) shopping bags and produce bags.
Take your own bags when you go to buy fruits and vegetables. Any plastic you end up with – set it aside and sell/donate to your local recycling centre. Store your produce in cloth bags, even in the fridge.
3. Avoid processed food, and especially canned food.
Food cans are lined with plastic containing bisphenol-A (BPA), which, as mentioned above, is a toxic chemical. Also avoid canned fizzy drinks (for your own health!).
4. Buy in bulk as much as possible.
You can buy groceries, including rice, dal, herbs and tea in bulk in some local stores. The bigger departmental stores may make you use single use plastic bags and containers, so be sure to wash and reuse them (or dispose of them as carefully as possible). Take your glass containers and cloth bags to load all the bulk foods in.
5. Make your own food
You’ll avoid lots of packaging. One not-so-curious revelation of ridding your life of plastic is that you begin to eat and live in a much healthier manner. Junk food comes in plastic, processed food comes in plastic. Well, everything of the modern world comes in plastic. To avoid plastic, you will have to buy local and wholesome food, which means you are likely to avoid GMO food, and you will be feeding local hungry mouths. If you buy organic, even better! Organic means no toxic pesticides that affect not just the food going into your body but the local ecology of the crop areas.
Note: If your local organic store sells in plastic wrapping, try speaking with them (respectfully!) about the consequences of that. And see if you can change their mind:)
So, making your own food means you (probably) know where it came from, and then you know what you put in it. Win-win.
Making your own snacks means you can avoid fried, high-fat mid-day munching. Apart from the plastic that come with chips, biscuits, and every other junk item in the store.
One Step Closer to a Zero Waste Kitchen
Step 1: Go Paperless
Step 3: Wormless Composting
Step 4: Waste Segregation
Step 5: Meal Planning
Advanced Zero Waste: Building Your Kitchen Herb Garden
This was the 101 class. You’ll find many more tips online, and I recommend you check out My Plastic Free Life for detailed information and instructions.
Want to get a head-start and do it your own way? Check out these books:
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