Use less plastic in the kitchen: tips & tricks

WE’VE HEARD by now of the dangers of BPA and other toxic chemicals leaching from plastics and into our food—not to mention all that waste that is produced from plastic bags, bottles, packaging and more.

Chances are, you’ve taken some steps, such as replacing plastic water bottles with metal or glass, to reduce your use of plastic. But plastic has an inevitable way of “leaching” its way into our lives, particularly in the kitchen. It’s true plastic wrap, plastic baggies, plastic food storage containers and the like offer a convenient, sanitary, inexpensive way to store food and keep it fresh. But if you’d prefer to keep plastic out of your life, and particularly away from your food, here are some handy swaps for your whole kitchen.

  • Phase out the plastic storage containers, and start using glass and stainless-steel food containers instead.
  • Swap out plastic wrap and use reusable beeswax-coated cloth wrap instead. Find it at your local natural food store.
  • Aluminum foil is another great alternative to plastic wrap. While it is not entirely eco-friendly, it is more reusable than plastic wrap and can ultimately be recycled. Or use parchment or wax paper.
  • For a quick-and-easy food storage solution, just use two plates: invert one on top of the other, and voila, leftovers ready to be set aside for another day. (This method should not be used for particularly perishable items or raw meat).
  • For a lightweight, portable cutlery option, pick up a set of reusable bamboo flatware.
  • Use reusable cloth produce bags (also found at your local natural foods store). Since they are more breathable and absorb moisture, cloth bags can also help keep your produce fresh longer.
  • If buying canned food, make sure it is labeled as having BPA-free lining.
  • Buying bulk, and using paper or reusable bags to do so, helps avoid plastic food packaging.
  • Grow your own food! This can be as simple as a few herbs on your windowsill or a full-blown backyard garden. Whatever your growing capacity, you bring your food one step closer to home and one step away from cellophane-wrapped heads of lettuce and plastic bags of carrots.
  • Use wooden or metal kitchen utensils, and opt for wooden cutting boards. You can also find mixing spoons and spatulas made from silicone rubber, which is safer to use than plastic.
  • Did you know food can be frozen in mason jars and Pyrex storage containers? Remember to leave room for expansion, and wait until your food is frozen to screw glass jar lids tight (or you risk broken glass).

Take just a few of these steps, and you’ll be well on your way to a healthier, more sustainable kitchen!

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