Hello friends, I wanted to take a moment and share with you few easy swaps you can make in your kitchen to eliminate or greatly reduce single-use plastic waste. I’ve tried many different products sold at various zero-waste shops, and these are the items that ended up working best for us.
About plastic pollution
Before I jump into sharing with you what has been working well for our family I wanted to share with you a little bit about why it matters.
Many people are under impression that as long as we put our plastic waste into a recycling bin it will be taken care of. But sadly we produce such colossal amount of plastic than recycling industry simple can not keep up with it and vast majority of our plastic waste ends up littering our planet and will remain there hundreds of years.
Here, in the above images is the very sad reality of where our plastic trash ends up.
And if you use instagram check out these profiles — @ourgoodbrands, @no_plasticwaste and @plasticfreedom_ — both for eye opening images of what is happening with plastic, and for some great inspiration of things you can change in that regard.
Before you buy new supplies —
use what you already have first
So many times I was tempted into buying new pretty things to simply replace the old, yet workable things I already had. So I want to give credit to my mom, who comes from different generation, when buying new things all the time wasn’t coded into their DNA yet. It is thanks to my mom that overtime I adjust my habits to try and use the things we already own, make the most use of old towels, old clothes or even plastic containers. And though they surely don’t earn points on Instagram, they make great points for our planet. No matter how sustainable the new things do take resources to make them after all.
Plastic-free kitchen cleaning supplies
Hand-washing dishes with a block soap
A block of plastic-free dish soap for hand washing by Meliora is remarkably effective, you need the smallest amount of it to do the job. It is non-toxic and ships with no plastic packaging whatsoever.
I’ve tried many products in the search for effective, but plastic-free dishwasher soap. I even tried using soap nuts and soap nut tea. Everything that was effective at washing the dishes came with plastic packaging. And many other products left white film on our glasses, even if we added vinegar as our rinser. So I was quite excited when our local health stores started caring If You Care dishwasher tablets which come with zero plastic packaging and do great job at dishwashing. According to their website they are aquatic life friendly, biodegradable, GMO-free and have not been tested on animals. Unfortunately they re rated C on EWG.ORG, so I’m yet to find my perfect dishwasher soap.
Although there are many natural and plastic-free scrubbies sold in zero-waste shops every single one I tried was bulky once wet and pretty uncomfortable to use. I also tried these nylon scrubbies, which worked well, but they are made out of nylon, so they are still very much plastic. While the Twist scrubby we are currently using is a bit stiff when new, it besoms soft over time, is lightweight and has good scrubby texture to do the job. And of course comes with no plastic packaging.
Instead of paper towels
We do use usual paper towels, but we do it only occasionally. For the most things we use cloth rags made from old bath towels or wash cloths which do much better job at whipping spills, kitchen surfaces or hands than paper towels do.
While there are so many alternatives to paper towels out on the zero-waste market, I found many of them to be pricey and not always practical. Meanwhile using our old bath towels cut into washcloth size pieces works so well and costs no new investment. We always have a stash of those around under the sink, and when they get too used looking we just toss them in with a load of kitchen towels and other such things. Yes, they don’t look very sexy, photo proof is above 🙂 But this way you don’t feel bad wiping a mess with something that cost you $30 and looks like a work of art :). And because you are up-cycling what you already had you don’t use any additional nature resources.
And if you don’t have old bath towels to up-cycle then consider buying these wash cloths from Target. They are only $3 per pack of 6, and made with OEKO certified cotton. A couple packs of these wash cloths will give enough supply to always have them handy, and they will last forever.
For general cleaning like washing kitchen cabinet surfaces, counter tops and backsplash we use the same Meliora dish soap block and it never disappoints. It is a very effective as a soap. It even does a great job at handwashing of terribly dirty kids clothes, so I highly recommend having those around the house.
Small changes do add up
In closing I wanted to say Thank You for visiting my blog, thank you reading and thank you for considering what changes could be made at your home. While the changes of a single person may seem insignificant these small changes multiplied by the millions of us will make a difference. And also remember that demand brings about the supply. We can chose where to put our dollars into and support those business who are being innovative and strive to offer us sustainable options.