Moving towards a Plastic Free Kitchen
We are all concerned about the amount of single use plastics in our homes and the environment, but overhauling your entire household to get rid of every bit of plastic all at once, is not only overwhelming, it is also expensive and environmentally irresponsible. Plastic Free July is a global movement which was started in Western Australia in 2011 from humble beginnings, and now attracts an estimated 326 million participants worldwide.
Plastic Free July is about raising awareness of the options so that the next time something needs replacing – even something as simple as your kitchen sponge – it will hopefully make you think twice about the replacement purchase you make and steer you towards a more environmentally friendly option. The plastic free alternative should not only be something that you can use for a long time, but also ideally fully compostable in your home compost system at the end of it’s life, and not contributing to landfill.
What are the Alternatives to Plastic?
When something does need replacing – how do you know what the best option is out there, and in our increasingly busy lives, who has the time to sit and research the seemingly endless possibilities for all these different products? Here at Urban Revolution, we pride ourselves in doing the research for you on all the products we sell, to make sure they are the most environmentally sound option we can find so you don’t have to. And what’s more, a lot of the products we find are not only locally made, but are made from up-cycled materials which would otherwise have gone to land fill.
Here are our top simple swaps for those common kitchen items the next time something needs replacing.
What did we do before these came on the scene! The easiest way to banish cling film from your kitchen, Beeswax Wrapscome in various sizes and will wrap and cover everything from the bowl of leftover pasta in the fridge, to that bit of cheese leftover from last night’s cheese platter. They're also fabulous for fruit and vegies like the half an avocado left over from your smashed avo brekky and more. Beeswax wraps are suitable for just about everything apart from raw meat and you can wipe them clean and use them over and over again. They are fully home compostable at the end of their life and come in a vegan option. Why not have a go at making your own?
Beeswax wraps are excellent for storing part used fruits and vegies
2. Dish, Bottle and Veggie Scrubbing Brushes
Brushes made of plastic from their handle to their bristles, are not only an environmental disaster in landfill, but their plastic bristles allow for a buildup of fats and scum that can be a breeding ground for germs. By replacing your plastic cleaning brush with a wooden and natural fibre brush, you not only keep plastic out of our environment, but you also are using materials that do not use petroleum products and water heavy resources to manufacture them. Eco friendly cleaning brushes can be made from bamboo or other sustainable, fast growing timbers, with natural sisal or Tampico fibre bristles. As an added bonus, natural fibre bristles are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial and do not harbour dangerous germs so your kitchen is healthier too! These are also home compostable at the end of their life.
3. Glass, Ceramic and Metal Containers
Ditch the plastic containers for your lunches and leftovers, and as they need replacing (not before), switch to metal, glass or ceramic containers. Choosing these alternatives means plastics are kept out of our environment and not breaking down into microplastics in landfill, and they don’t use energy intensive petroleum products in their manufacturing. Glass, ceramic and metal storage containers can be recycled or upcycled without impacting the planet. Reheating leftovers is also healthier for you when using glass or ceramic containers in the microwave as you ensure no chemicals are being leached into your food.
4. No Sponge, Sponges and No Sponge, Scourers
Those scented and brightly coloured sponges or scourers often bought in multipacks in the supermarkets are one of the worst culprits for micro plastics ending up in our environment. They are often filled with chemicals to make them antibacterial and take a long time to break down in landfill. By choosing a No Sponge, Sponge or Scourermade from natural fibres like cotton and coconut fibres, you can wash them and reuse many times over without them breaking down and releasing micro plastics. These compostable cloths made from natural fibres are naturally antimicrobial and antibacterial and will breakdown in your home compost bin when their cleaning days are done. If you are handy with a sewing machine, you can easily make your own No Sponge, Sponges from upcycled natural fabrics you have at home like old towels, clothing, tea towels and other linen.
5. Wooden Kitchen Utensils
I’m sure by now you are starting to see a trend here! Wooden kitchen utensils made from sustainable timbers, are not only more attractive in your kitchen, they won’t leave plastic bits in your food or in our environment, are naturally antibacterial and antimicrobial and you guessed it – can be home composted! They also make great plant labels or mini stakes in your pot plants or garden beds when they are no good for the kitchen anymore.
6. Silicone Snack Bags
Say goodbye to single use plastic zip lock bags and switch to these environmentally friendlier reusable silicone bags that can be washed and used over, and over, and over and over….you get the idea! As an added bonus – your wallet will thank you with all the money that you save!
Aside from the already discussed benefits of being plastic free – plastic free reusable food wraps are a big money saver as you can stop buying cling film, aluminium foil and baking paper. The Agreena Food Wrap is one of our favourite products at Urban Revolution for its versatility in the kitchen as you can bake on it, wrap things with it and it can go from the freezer, to the fridge to the oven - and with proper care, will last you a long time.
No one likes cleaning but we all have to do it so you might as well get some environmental cred when you do it by choosing products made from sustainable timbers and plant fibres, or metal.
By making these simple swaps when it is time to replace items in your kitchen and by choosing new products wisely, we can all help reduce our dependence on plastic and hopefully keep it out of landfill. Remember, the staff at Urban Revolution are always on hand to help with advice on your plastic free journey, not just in July but all year round!