Food & Drink

Three Plastic-Free Kitchen Swaps To Make Today | Ad

This post on plastic-free kitchen swaps is paid-for content in association with Friends of Glass.

I’m working with Friends of Glass today to promote the benefits of glass, by sharing my top three plastic-free kitchen swaps. Friends of Glass is a community that supports everything about glass packaging and advocates a lifestyle that includes glass. There are three main reasons for this: health, taste, and sustainability.

My Top Three Plastic-Free Kitchen Swaps

When you first start off reducing your plastic usage, using glass in place of plastic can be daunting. So, I wanted to show you three ways in which I have switched from using plastic to using glass in my kitchen.

1. Store Food In Glass In The Fridge

storing food in glass jars

Preventing food waste isn’t always easy. With the best of intentions sometimes you find something festering away in a tub at the back of the fridge.

I always feel that what lets Tupperware tubs down is that depending on the style of the tub or how tomato-stained your tub is, you can’t always see inside. And out of sight, out of mind. This is not a good thing when it comes to food waste.

Something I have had good success with is storing my food in glass jars. I can easily see the contents of the jars. This means I’m more than likely to use up my food. For added bonus points – glass doesn’t get tomato stained!

2. Store Food In Glass In The Freezer

Did you know that you can store food in the freezer in glass jars? Oh yes! It’s one of the great plastic-free kitchen swaps! You made have heard horror stories about freezing glass. However, I have found that if you stick to the four golden rules when it comes to freezing food in glass jars then you can eliminate breakages:

● Do not overfill your jar. Always leave around two inches of headspace in your jar. As the contents freeze, they will expand a little. As such, this method offers room for expansion, helping to avoid breakage. Jars with a wide mouth, rather than bottles, make for a safer choice for freezing.
● Make sure your food is fully cooled before placing it in the freezer.
● When you first put your food in the freezer, sit the lid on your jar loosely.
Once your food is completely frozen, you can then tighten up the lid. If you forget to tighten up the lid (I often do!), then don’t worry, it won’t affect your food.
● Finally, watch how you stack your jars to prevent jars from falling out of the freezer. This won’t be much of a problem if your freezer has drawers.

I don’t buy specific jars for freezing food in. Instead, I re-use what I already have. Jars that I have found particularly useful are old peanut butter jars and vegan mayonnaise jars.

Food Storage On The Go

plastic-free kitchen swaps

I could wax lyrical about the joys of soup all day long. It’s such a great way to use up any leftover vegetables looking a bit sad in the drawer of your fridge.

Whilst making soup is easy, transporting soup for an easy homemade lunch at work can be tricky. I’ve had many a Tupperware container or a flask leak my precious soupy cargo over the years.

Through trial and error, I can safely say that what I have had the most success with is transporting my soup in a glass jar with a tight-fitting lid (not a clip top style jar). Just make sure that the lid is tightly screwed before popping it in your bag, and try not to drop your bag! If you are accident-prone, wrapping a tea towel around your jar can help act as a buffer. It’s also handy for mopping up any soupy spills after lunch!

For an added eco bonus, if your work doesn’t have any composting facilities, you can bring any of your food scraps home in your empty jar at the end of the day.

What makes glass a good replacement for plastic Tupperware?

If you are inspired by these plastic-free kitchen swaps, then that’s fantastic! There are six main reasons as to why glass is a good eco-friendly replacement to Tupperware (remember – only once your Tupperware has come to the end of its lifespan):

  1. Unlike plastic, glass has an endless life. It is 100% recyclable and can be recycled infinitely without loss of quality – it can take just 30 days for your bottle or jar to return as a new bottle or jar to the store shelf.
  2. Unlike other packaging materials, glass packaging is a healthy choice because it needs no chemical layer to protect what it contains, so there is no danger of toxic chemicals, such as BPA, leaching into food and drinks.
  3. Glass preserves the taste of food and drinks perfectly.
  4. Food and drink preserved in glass can help keep food and drink fresher for longer.
  5. Glass is made from three naturally occurring, abundant materials – soda ash, limestone, and sand.
  6. Modern glass bottles and jars are typically up to 40% lighter yet stronger thanks to new manufacturing processes.

Don’t Throw Out Your Old Tupperware Though!

Before you get carried away and start binning your old Tupperware, stop and take a breath. I am a huge proponent of using up what you have – I believe it’s simply not sustainable to throw out plastic items you already have in order to replace them with reusables made from more eco-friendly materials. So I am still using my old plastic Tupperware containers, which will be in active service until they are no longer usable.

When your tubs give up the ghost, I recommend only then replacing them with glass. I have bought two glass tubs, but in the main, I have been using old glass jars as the most sustainable and eco-friendly way to store food.

Are you a fan of glass too? Are you looking to make some of your own plastic-free kitchen swaps? Why not join the Friends of Glass community The Friends of Glass community believes that many families and retailers are unaware of these benefits of glass, and so want to spread the word. You can help by joining the ever-growing number of glass advocates on Instagram, Facebook and/or Twitter, to help add your voice!

PS: check out my guide to plastic-free snack ideas for more clever plastic-free ideas for the kitchen.

Health & Beauty, Life & Style

Homemade Hand Sanitiser Recipe – WHO Recommended Formulation

homemade hand sanitiser

DISCLAIMER: This homemade hand sanitiser recipe is not a substitute for proper handwashing.

Last year I made some homemade hand sanitiser that I have been meaning to share with you. I have two young kids, aged 4 and 8. Whilst my kids are great at getting into messes when we’re out and about, I have to hold my hands up and say I’m an expert at it too!

Also, have you seen the original Trainspotting movie? If so, then you’ll know the scene with the worst toilet in Scotland. Admittedly, whilst not as bad as that toilet, I’ve definitely found a few contenders in and around Edinburgh. Whilst I would always prefer to wash my hands with soap and water, hand sanitiser is definitely a handy thing to carry in those times.

In recent times, hand sanitiser has been tricky to get hold of, so here’s a recipe if you ever find yourself in a pinch.

I’ve updated this recipe for 2021, because my original recipe contained witch hazel. This isn’t strong enough against COVID-19. As such, I’ve updated this recipe to make it compliant with the Word Health Organisation’s (WHO) recommendations for making hand sanitiser. This means that has been proven to kill harmful micro-organisms on your hands.

The Homemade Hand Sanitiser Ingredients

The three main ingredients of the WHO recommended hand sanitiser spray are:

  • Isopropyl alcohol 99.8% provides the germ-killing properties, through its high alcohol content.
  • Hydrogen peroxide at a dilution of 3%. Hydrogen peroxide is a mild disinfectant that kills yeasts, fungi, bacteria, viruses. It’s safe to use on your skin and is often prescribed by dentists for swollen gums.  
  • Vegetable glycerine, which acts as a moisturiser to avoid your hands drying out from the high alcohol content of the isopropyl alcohol.

I have also added some essential oils, to add some scent. The essential oils may also boost the antibacterial properties of this homemade hand sanitiser. However, you can leave them out if you want. The irony here is that the essential oils are not essential!

If you do want to use essential oils, I chose lemongrass essential oil for this homemade hand sanitiser recipe because of its proven antibacterial action. This scientific study showed that lemongrass oil is even effective against drug-resistant organisms.

Please note, lemongrass essential oil can be too strong for sensitive skins. If you are sensitive to lemongrass, consider another essential oil with germ-killing properties, such as tea tree oil.

I also chose lavender essential oil for its antibacterial action. Lavender oil has proven effective against e-coli and MRSA in scientific studies.

Essential oils aren’t recommended for use on children younger than two. Again, doing a bit of research on essential oils if you decide you want to is always highly recommended.

As always, keep your essential oils and the finished product out of the reach of children, and only use them under direct adult supervision.

Make your own all natural homemade hand sanitiser / hand sanitizer with this easy recipe.

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Makes 3 x 100 ml bottles of hand sanitiser – one for your bag, one for your hallway, and one for your car.

Ingredients

3 x 100 ml glass spray bottle* (use an old one if you have one. You can also use an old plastic bottle. Sometimes over time, the essential oils can eat away at the plastic so just be mindful of that if you are using essential oil. However, if there’s less chance of it breaking in your bag then plastic is a better choice).

175 ml Isopropyl Alcohol (99.8%)*

1/2 tablespoon Hydrogen Peroxide (3%)*

2 teaspoons vegetable glycerine*

90 mls cooled boiled water

10 drops Lemongrass essential oil (optional)

10 drops Lavender essential oil (optional)

Method

Add all the ingredients to a bowl, and mixing together. Using a funnel, then pour the solution into your clean, dry empty bottles.

Next, add the spray nozzles.

Finally, as per the WHO recommendations, let your bottle sit for a minimum of 72 hours before you use it. That way the sanitiser has time to kill any bacteria that might have been introduced during the mixing process.

Usage & Storage

Before usage, I would always recommend doing a patch test on a small area of your skin, to test for any sensitivities. If after 24 hours there has been no reaction then you should be good to continue usage.

Before each use, shake the bottle well to combine everything and spray your hands a few times. Rub your hands together until they are dry. Do not use on broken skin.

Notes on Good Hand Hygiene

Whilst hand sanitiser is good in a pinch, the single most effective way of removing germs from your hands is to wash your hands with warm water and soap. My top tip is to use hand sanitiser when you don’t have access to running water and soap but to make sure you wash your hands as soon as you can.

The NHS has some good advice on how to wash your hands properly – apparently singing happy birthday twice helps you gauge the length of time you should be washing for!

Some Other Tips On Staying Healthy

Hand sanitiser, and regular hand washing, is only one small step in protecting yourself from germs. The UK Government’s current advice is also that we should:

Stay at home. Unless you can’t work from home, then you should only leave the house except for essential trips, such as picking up food, medications, and going to the doctor.

Cover your mouth with the crook of your elbow whenever you cough or sneeze.

When you need to go out for essential business, you should stay at least 2 metres away from other people. This is called social distancing. Keeping your distance makes it hard for the virus to jump from someone else to you (or vice versa).

Wear a face mask when in indoor public spaces. It is now mandatory to wear a face mask when in shops, on public transport, and in other public places, unless there is a medical reason why you cannot.

Avoid touching your face. You could transmit the virus from your hands into your mouth.

Clean and disinfect frequently touched surfaces. Do it daily. Here’s my guide to natural cleaning products to DIY. These clean, but don’t disinfect, so I would supplement with a disinfectant.