Stephanie Koathes

Easy Green: Reducing Plastic in the Kitchen

Plastics are all around us and nowhere is our plastic obsession more evident than when it comes to our food.

Not only are plastics one of the biggest culprits in the pollution of the planet, but the incessant contact with the food we consume can also have adverse effects on our bodies.

Tiny bits of plastic get into our food from containers in a process known as leaching. Heating food in plastic increases the amount transferred. There is also more leaching when plastic touches fatty, salty, or acidic foods.

Many plastic products contain Bisphenol A or BPA. This chemical gets into our bodies and can disrupt the functioning of hormones, in particular, oestrogen. 

If you’re interested in reducing the amount of plastic found in your kitchen, check out the following tips.

1. Repurpose glass jars for storage or purchase glass canning jars with lids – these come in a variety of sizes.

2. Instead of reaching for plastic wrap to cover leftovers, go for reusable silicone lids. These come in different sizes and shapes, stretch to fit various containers and create a better seal than plastic wrap.

3. Choose glass storage containers made from sturdy microwave and oven-safe glass. Stainless steel storage containers are a great option if you’re worried about the breakability of glass. Flexible silicone storage containers are also an excellent non-breakable replacement for plastic.

4. Get a stainless steel water bottle.

5. Use a reusable, washable bag for your produce. These simple bags are easy to make if you’ve got basic sewing skills.

6. Replace plastic sandwich bags with washable cloth ones. You can purchase or create your own using organic cotton or cotton laminate for the outside and polyurethane laminate PUL (a kind of waterproof material often used in diapers) or ripstop nylon for the inner lining.  There are many DIY templates online like this one.

7. Ditch plastic whisks, spatulas, cutting boards and other kitchen tools for wood or metal varieties.

Sources: NC University Sustainability, Green Mom, WebMD, Pure Living Space

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