Easy, real life advice on reducing plastic in the kitchen
FOOD & DRINK | February 1, 2019

Easy, real life advice on reducing plastic in the kitchen

Been wanting to cut down on plastic in your home, but not sure where to begin? Or perhaps you feel intimidated by teenage zero-waste YouTubers who seem to be able to dedicate every waking moment to the task?

What if you need some easy tips to get you started? Tried and tested, no deep thought or faffing required, realistic for folks in busy homes?

We’ve got you covered.

Why should you start by reducing plastic in the kitchen?

When we try to develop a new habit, positive reinforcement is the name of the game! The sooner we see change for the better, the more likely we are to stick with that habit.

The business of feeding ourselves tends to be where we make the majority of our household decisions and create the greatest ‘flow’ of material, in this case from shop to plate to waste. Replacing even one or two regular choices with plastic-free versions will immediately have a noticeable, positive impact on the amount of plastic you’re putting in the rubbish and recycling each week.

Feeling comfy with the new reduced plastic routine? Add a new habit! Keep doing it! See where you end up!

Tried and tested tips – from folks with actual lives!

We asked some busy people of varied commitments – careers, caring for family, volunteering, social lives plus some solid plastic-reducing habits – to think back to the first breakthrough. The first tip that switched their thoughts from, “Oh my gosh, we’re drowning in plastic rubbish!” to, “Crumbs, I think we can do this.”

Maxi: “We had a ton of plastic bags under the sink. Couldn’t seem to stop bringing them home, even after the 5p charge came in. Then I got given one of those fold-out shopping bags at a promotional event. Threw it in my car and forgot about it, but a few weeks later I popped into the corner shop and remembered to use it. Suddenly I wasn’t bringing those plastic bags home any more!”

Breakthrough plastic-reducing tip? Always carry a fold-up shopping bag.

Advanced tips? Have a set of glass jars and fabric bags ready to go, so they’re quick to grab when you head out shopping. Buy groceries loose whenever possible.

Selection of shopping in reusable bags and jars

Jennifer: “Well, I wasn’t really thinking about plastic at the time, but the effect was the same. We’re a big family with one vegan teenager plus our youngest and myself don’t do well with dairy, so we were spending a fortune on non-dairy milk for cereal and custard and smoothies. One day someone at school mentioned that you can make oat milk really cheaply, for pennies, just with plain oats and water. I tried a recipe I found online and we’ve saved thousands. Think of all those TetraPaks that were saved, too! Probably a couple a day!”

Breakthrough plastic reducing tip? Save money and plastic packaging by making your own non-dairy milk.

Advanced tips? Try making other expensive foods that you can’t usually find without plastic packaging. No bake date and nut energy bars are really easy to make in bulk for lunchbox snacks or try making muesli. Get to know the scoop-and-weigh people and they may give you the odd discount or freebie.

Homemade energy bars lined with wax paper

Kristian: “I worked late at the office quite often and would come home starving, just grab something to eat for dinner when I got off the train near my flat. A microwave meal, something like that usually. The bin was full of these smelly plastic trays. I remember feeling gross, I had no energy, and then my partner at the time made some joke about me having dad bod. So I tried a few healthier diets. I got quite into it, taking in a proper lunch rather than grabbing a Meal Deal sandwich from wherever. And I found out that a lot of the recipes could be batch prepped at the weekend, so all I had to do was heat up the portion when I came home. Simple.”

Breakthrough plastic reducing tip? Cut down on microwave tray meals and other processed, overpackaged stuff.

Advanced tips? I have a weekly organic box delivery from Abel & Cole, so I’m always eating fresh, seasonal fruit and veg – and all of it plastic-free. I continue to batch cook healthy meals at the weekend and freeze in portions to last the week. Still quick but you have control over the ingredients!

Organic vegetable box

How have you reduced the plastic in your life? Share your methods with Greenredeem on Facebook or Twitter.

>> Makeover your leftovers from humble to fabulous

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