All started with a straw. Or better with my first NO to a straw. I guess we are quite familiar with all those images and videos about turtles and fishes choked by straws and plastic bags in the oceans. The documentary ” A Plastic Ocean” did the rest so I decided to slowly start doing something to reduce plastics in our family life.
Sincerely, I didn’t realize the huge amount of plastic we use and consume everyday since I started to focus my attention on it.
IT’S A LOT and unfortunately you cannot get rid of every single packaging because there are some goods who come with plastic and there is no feasible alternative for that.
I tried so hard to find alternative way of buying these things but unfortunately either they are too much expensive (as buying mozzarella in a cheese shop and in any case it comes with a plastic bag) or not handy (as the small pot with cheese that sometimes i put in Gea’s lunchbox) or you can’t simply find an alternative. Sometimes you can find yoghurt and cheese in glass pot but it’s not recommended to put a glass pot into your small child backpack.
Here comes the first point: YOU CAN’T GET RID OF ALL THE PLASTIC in your life because we are not in a circular economy .
Despite of all this, we can still do something in our kitchen to reduce the amount of plastic and waste in general.
- If you still have something in plastic (it’s totally normal) do not throw it away. USE IT until its last breath! 🙂 I have some tupperwares that I found in this flat when I settled in. I put them in the dishwasher and now I’m using them a lot to store food in the fridge, to freeze raw and cooked food and I’m not ashamed just because they are plastic because it has no sense to throw away something that you can still use.
2. Insted of paper towels, use cloth towels. I had several old cotton shirts, small terry cloth towels we never used and a big fleece blanket with a hole in the middle we couldn’t use anymore. So, I cut everything in squared pieces and now I’m starting to use them to slowly replace the paper towel roll (that’s actually still there because it’s hard to convince all the members of the family. It takes time). It is the same with the kleenex. I remember when I was a child my mum used to put a nice cotton “handkierchief” in my pocket before going to school. Let’s try to bring back in fashion these apparently old habits because they can change the way our children act towards the environment! And btw, it’s softer for the nose!
3. DIY the most you can and the most you enjoy to do. I am addicted to prepare food, to bake and to cook. I even use baking and cooking as fun activities to do with Gea in our afternoons after school (and she is fascinating by the chance I am giving her to get dirty!) So, I almost always cook pizza every weekend, bake two cakes a week for the breakfast (I do it as a relaxing activity for me in the evening after dinner), sometimes I make bread even if it takes a bit more time. Lately I started to produce my own oatmilk! This will drastically impact on our plastic consumption as we drink oat (or coconut) milk every morning with the coffee. It’s easy and quick. You just need oats flakes or coconut flakes and water. It lasts for a couple of days in the fridge.
4. Use baking soda and vinegar to wash the sink. You don’t even need a photo for this. It’s the easiest (and cheapest) way ever to wash it. Just take a couple of spoons of baking soda, spread them all over the sink, do the same with the vinegar and then rub everything with a (ecologic) sponge or a brush. It will impact on the use of the detergent. The less you use the better is for the environment and for your pocket too.
5. Use beeswraps insted of aluminium or plastic foil. Beeswraps are basically a piece of cotton cloth covered in beeswax. Again I did them by myself because I had a lot spare cotton cloths to recycle (and it’s super easy) but you can easily find them browsing on Internet or in your local organic shop (if you have one). You can use them to cover bowls, to store leftovers, to freeze raw or cooked food.
6. Refresh your plants/fridge/face with coffee grounds. I know it sounds weird but it’s effective! I have the classic italian moka so we produce at least two grounds per day. I use them to:
- fertilize my indoor (and outdoors) plants. Just be sure to do it only once per month otherwise you will risk to acidify too much the soil that’s not good for all kind of plants.
- clean your fridge from the bad smells. Put three or four grounds in a bowl and mix it with two spoons of baking soda. Put in the fridge. It generally lasts for about 10 days then you have to do it again. In this case, use the old grounds with baking soda to clean the sink, brushing it all over and then wash it with boiling water.
- use coffee grounds for facial scrub! It’s funny and cheap!
These are our main points of our Zero Waste Routine in the kitchen. It’s not perfect and it’s not completely Zero Waste but it’s already something and I’m proud of our efforts!
Do you have any other hints or things you do in your kitchen to reduce your footprint? I would love to hear those from you!