We all know the benefits to the environment of leading a low waste lifestyle, but it can be difficult to know where to start, especially in a way that is both practical and affordable. Well, we’re here to help, and we’ve decided on: the kitchen.
Inspired by Meera Jain, an eco-blogger who runs a page called The Green Mum, we’ve compiled a list of low waste swaps that people actually use. No crazy technology or drastic changes, but a few tips on how to create your new reduced waste lifestyle in your kitchen.
These are reusable bags that you can use when you go shopping specifically for loose fruit and veg. This is a convenient way of avoiding the excessive amounts of single-use plastic that is common in the supermarket aisles, so your weekly shop can be as waste-less as possible.
Whether it’s for juice or pre-drinks, if you’re the type of person who simply cannot sip without a straw, it doesn’t mean that you can’t still aim for a low waste lifestyle. For optimal drinking pleasure ensure that a metal straw has a place in your cutlery drawer. This change keeps your lifestyle low waste as the straw can easily be washed up and reused with the rest of your utensils – and it doesn’t endanger any turtles!
Silicone is a brilliant material to replace nasty, cheap plastic. Often ice cube trays can be a challenge to the low waste lifestyle, as once frozen, the plastic trays are likely to snap and put in the bin, ready to be shipped off to landfill. Investing in silicone ice cube trays, as opposed to the plastic ones, eradicates this possibility. Who says parties can’t be low waste?
According to Recycle Nation, the common kitchen sponge should be one of the first to go if you’re looking for a less wasteful lifestyle. Typically, the sponges are made from petroleum, bleach, assorted sulfates and a whole slew of chemicals:
“Even after you throw old sponges away, the bacteria-killing triclosan that they’re impregnated with negatively impacts aquatic ecosystems.”
“Plus, the synthetic materials that they’re composed of continue to release dioxins and formaldehyde into soil and the atmosphere long after they’ve left the factory.”
There are a whole host of eco-friendly alternatives available, including hemp scourers, compostable dish pads and bamboo brushes.
There are a bunch of reasons why glass jars are essential for leading a more sustainable lifestyle. Firstly, they reduce food waste – the fact that they are an air-tight container makes them more effective than clingfilm or tinfoil (imagine half an avocado lasting until the next day!)
They are also great for making things like overnight oats and homemade jams and sauces. Finally, they can be recycled, so unlike the plastic ice cube trays, if for some reason there is a breakage in the kitchen, the glass can be swept up and sent to be recycled all over again. This is not only low waste, but no waste!
Fancy coffee is all the rage. We’ve got iced macchiatos and soya frappuccinos and skinny lattes not only in almost every café you stumble across, but thanks to the development of coffee machines and coffee pods, you can even whip one up at home.
But what’s even fancier than throwing a plastic coffee pod into the bin every single morning – something that will just sit in landfill – is using a French press to make coffee. Not only does this sound impressive, but you can use ground beans that are available in bulk, cutting the packaging right down and reducing your plastic consumption. reducing your plastic waste? Oo la la!
Grease-proof parchment paper may be a life-saver when it comes to the washing up, but it is completely non-recyclable or compostable. Instead, opt for silicone mats which can be reused infinitely.
It’s not just coffee where we can level-up our low waste game, but tea as well. Often tea bags have plastic in them, so are not completely compostable. Owning a tea pot with a strainer does makes you look uber classy, tastes much nicer and is low waste.
The leaves will biodegrade so quickly that they will not be an issue in landfill, or, if you have your own compost, are brilliant for the soil.
Admittedly, this low waste stop expands beyond the walls of the kitchen (where, presumably, you’re kitted out with mugs!) but, like the produce bags, storing this in the kitchen is a great reminder for how you can resume your less wasteful lifestyle when you’re out and about.
Disposable coffee cups are obviously, uber convenient, but they are also terrible for the environment. Keep your travel mug washed up and ready and take it with you when you head out!
Scrubbing brushes are yet another plastic kitchen utensil that will, undoubtedly, end up in landfill when they start to get a bit tatty. To keep a low waste lifestyle with as minimal impact as possible on environment, opt for compostable versions.
These are made from natural materials and will biodegrade after they’ve been thrown out, making them environmentally-friendly.
These are just some ways of how you can kickstart your new reduced waste lifestyle. Check out The Green Mum for more practical tips on how you can incorporate environmentally-friendly habits into your everyday lifestyle – and don’t forget to look at our more general tips of reducing your carbon footprint by checking out of sustainable brand partners.
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