I know this post is about kitchen plastic, but let’s think about the ocean for a minute. I bet you’re picturing palm trees swaying in the salty breeze and waves crashing on the white sand. I’m sure you aren’t picturing a giant patch of floating garbage. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but there is a patch of floating garbage in our oceans so large that it has an official name.
The Great Pacific Garbage Patch is a vortex of floating trash spanning from the west coast of North America to Japan. Japan! Because it’s so large, they’ve started referring to different parts of it as the Eastern Garbage Patch and the Western Garbage Patch.
If you’re as horrified to learn about this as I was, you’re probably asking yourself what you can do to help. While we can’t solve this problem all at once, we can make changes in our habits to help chip away at the problem. It might not seem like much, but making even the smallest chip is better than throwing more trash at it.
Going plastic-free in the kitchen is one way to help.
Why Go Plastic-Free in the Kitchen?
Every bit of waste you cut out adds up.
Each year more than 26.8 million tons of waste is disposed of in America.
The average American alone sends 2,072 pounds of trash to the landfill. Plastic is a large contributor.
Clean-Up Your Kitchen without the Plastic Waste
Dishwashing and all-purpose cleaners are a major source of plastic waste in the kitchen. It’s time to start looking at better alternatives to purchasing single-use bottles every time you run out. With more companies coming up with creative ways to replace these plastic bottles it’s easier than ever to make the switch.
Alternatives to Single-Use Dish Soap
The average American household uses 30 bottles of dish soap each year. Here are some cost-effective, environmentally friendly alternatives.
- Dish Soap Bars: Get rid of the need for packaging altogether
- Dish Soap Pods: Simply drop one in a reusable bottle and mix with water
- Powdered Soap: Look for this in paper pouches
- DIY Soap: You can make your own soap using castile soap, baking soda, water, and an optional drop of essential oil.
Kitchen Cleaner Alternatives
As with dish soap, the most common cleaners come in single-use plastic spray bottles. Consider using reusable containers instead.
Many online companies offer cleaning kits to make getting started easy. The starter kits come with reusable spray bottles and concentrated tabs or powders. You simply mix the tabs with water and order a refill when you’re running low.
By making the switch to reusable containers for your kitchen cleaning needs, you can:
- Reduce plastic waste
- Save space in your kitchen: The tabs and powder are much smaller than multiple single-use spray bottles.
- Save money: You buy the packaging once and then purchase inexpensive refills.
Plastic bags and containers are commonplace in the kitchen. With so many options available, nothing is stopping you from ridding your kitchen of these altogether. Instead of single-use plastic, consider:
- Investing in reusable storage and sandwich bags. They can be a little pricey upfront but typically run about the price of two or three packs of single-use storage bags. They’ll end up saving you money in the long run.
- Using mason jars or other glass containers for leftover storage. Mason jars can be used for storing leftovers or freshly squeezed juices, toting lunch or snacks, and storing bulk food items like rice and pasta(more on this later).
Keep Your Coffee Habit, But Kick the Plastic Waste
There’s no question about the convenience of single-cup coffee pods. That convenience comes at the price of 13 billion little plastic cups ending up in American landfills each year.
Consider purchasing a reusable pod to replace all those plastic ones. Not only will it cut back on plastic waste, but it also:
- Saves you money. Purchasing loose coffee grounds is typically less expensive than paying for all those little plastic cups.
- Allows you to customize your morning cup o’ joe. Options in the single-use pods can be limited. Purchase a reusable pod and use whatever coffee your half-awake heart desires.
Start Zero-Waste Grocery Shopping
Most of the plastic waste in your kitchen likely comes from food packaging. Plastic packaging is the main source of waste pollution in the United States. To go plastic-free, you can always try to buy from companies that use compostable packaging. Or, you can go the distance and start zero-waste grocery shopping.
Zero-waste stores are popping up all over the US. These stores cut out food packaging altogether. Here’s where those mason jars come in.
Shopping at a zero-waste store requires some pre-planning. Here are some things you’ll need when you go:
- Reusable produce bags
- Reusable storage and shopping bags
- Large jars for loose food items, meats, etc.
To find stores that are zero-waste friendly, check out litterless. Click on your state and find the store closest to you. You can also try shopping at farmer’s markets, produce stands, or bulk food stores.
Check out this Zero Waste Grocery Store
Save the Earth: Go Plastic-Free in the Kitchen
No matter how you do it, going plastic-free in the kitchen will be mutually beneficial to you and the environment. It can save you money and space and it can save the world from giant patches of floating garbage. Give going plastic-free a try, it’s a lot easier than you think.
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