More and more of us are becoming concerned about the effect our actions are having on the environment, so you might be looking for ways to make your life a little greener. So, here are 5 easy zero-waste swaps you can make in your kitchen.
With UK residents collectively creating around 30 million tonnes of household waste each year (Recycle More), trying to reduce the amount of rubbish your habits create is a great place to start. In our opinion, the kitchen is one of the best rooms to focus on, as so much of this waste comes from the likes of food packaging.
To help you make more environmentally friendly decisions in the future, we’re going to outline five zero-waste switches you can make in your kitchen. Make these changes and you’ll soon notice your kitchen bin needs emptying far less frequently, and you can be proud of doing your bit for the planet, too!
1. Take reusable produce bags to the supermarket
In 2015, the UK introduced a 5p charge for plastic carrier bags in major supermarkets. And, while 5p certainly isn’t a huge amount of money, simply having to pay for a bag has made a lot of us think twice about picking up a new batch every time we go shopping. And, as a result, it’s believed that the use of new plastic bags has fallen by 90% since the levy was introduced (ICAEW).
However, the plastic bags that you can typically pick up in the fruit and veg aisles of supermarkets are still free, and it doesn’t look like there’s been a significant drop in how many of these are being used. Of course, you can choose to skip these produce bags altogether and put loose fruit and veg straight into your trolley or basket.
But this can make things a bit more difficult when it comes to paying for your groceries or unpacking them at home. Fortunately, it’s never been easier to get a hold of reusable produce bags that have specifically been made to reduce their single-use counterparts. Woven versions have been made without the use of plastic, and are a particularly great choice.
2. Swap paper towels for reusable cloths
If you go through roll after roll of disposable kitchen towels, have you thought about how much waste has been sent to landfill as a result? It’s so easy to carry on with all of your usual habits because it’s what you’ve always done, and making the switch to an eco-friendlier alternative isn’t always easy. But the environment will certainly benefit if you decide to make the effort.
Switching from disposable paper towels to reusable cloths might seem obvious, but it isn’t always convenient, which is why you might not have made the substitution just yet. Instead of throwing your cloths in the bin, they’ll need to be washed and dried.
But this could dramatically reduce how much rubbish you’re throwing away on a weekly basis, so it’s certainly worth making the extra effort.
3. Buy food in glass jars and metal cans, which can be repurposed
It’s likely that a lot of your favourite foods that you currently buy in plastic packaging are also available to buy in glass jars and metal cans. For example, if you buy salsa and honey in plastic tubes, or you buy plastic tubs of beans, you can easily make the switch to more eco-friendly packaging.
Not only are glass and metal far easier to recycle compared to plastic, but jars and tins can also be repurposed. For example, you could store coffee, sugar, or even homemade jam in the jars you collect, while tins can be turned into anything from plant pots to utensil holders.
4. Use beeswax wraps and reusable lids instead of cling film
If you frequently leave leftovers in the fridge, you might use cling film to keep everything as fresh as possible. But, because cling film is so thin and fragile, it’s really only good for one use. So, you’ll typically have no choice but to throw it out afterwards.
Fortunately, there are now plenty of more eco-friendly alternatives on the market you can benefit from. If you already have plenty of Tupperware at home, transferring your dishes into these boxes before refrigerating them will eliminate the need for cling film.
But, if you don’t, you could always invest in some beeswax wraps, or reusable lids that are specifically designed to suit a wide range of containers. These can be used time and time again, so you’ll never need to buy a new roll of cling film!
5. Use a milk delivery service that offer reusable bottles
Ordering your week’s supply of milk from someone who will leave it on your doorstep might seem old-fashioned, but milkmen are actually seeing an increase in the demand for their services as more and more people are becoming concerned about the number of milk bottles they’re throwing away.
The main environmental benefit of using a milk delivery service is your milk will typically arrive in glass bottles, which you can then put back out on your doorstep for collection. These bottles will then be washed and refilled the next time around.
So, if you’re tired of throwing plastic milk bottles or cartons in the bin, the old-fashioned way might be best!
If you’re looking to live a more eco-friendly life, reducing your household waste is a great place to start. And, because so much waste is typically created in our kitchens, it’s worth making some zero-waste swaps. These are some particularly easy and affordable options that will make a significant difference.