Tag

zero waste

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.

Ask Wendy

When Can I Call Myself Zero-Waste?

Dear Wendy…

I’ve been working hard over the last six months to eliminate single-use plastic from my life, and I’m wondering when can I call myself zero-waste? Is it when I’m not producing any waste? I’m feeling disheartened by it, because I haven’t been able to cut out all single-use plastic, and some days I despair over the amount of plastic that has entered my life just while I’m going about my daily business; whilst zero-waste YouTubers make it look so effortless.

Anon, Darlington

Dear Anon,

Aah, the age-old when can I call myself zero-waste question.

I have many thoughts about zero-waste.

when can I call myself zero-waste

What’s Wrong With the Zero-Waste Movement?

What despairs me the most about the zero-waste movement, as it stands at the moment, is that by in large it shifts responsibility from producers, manufacturers, and retailers to reduce their plastic packaging, or to shift away from single-use plastic.

Instead, the onus is on us consumers to become plastic-free super-consumers. Super consumers that have the time, money, and ability to research and seek out plastic-free options; to travel further to buy food essentials; to often pay considerably more for a product than it’s plastic packaged counterpart, and then be able to make everything from scratch.

Fail at any of these points and there’s judgment abound. If you’ve spent any time on Instagram or in some (not all) of the plastic-free Facebook groups then that judgment can at times be pretty free-flowing.

Is Zero-Waste Even Possible?

The thing is 100% zero-waste living is not possible. Our society is currently set up in such a way that zero-waste could not become mainstream any time soon. There isn’t taxation in place to punish retailers who use plastic packaging; there aren’t widespread recycling facilities to efficiently recycle every bit of waste. Questions on how we make zero-waste affordable, inclusive, and accessible for all haven’t been answered.

This is not to discourage – this is to say that because of this everyone’s version of zero-waste looks different. As an able-bodied white woman in her late 30’s, with two young kids, living semi-rurally with my partner, and an income that gives us enough to pay our bills but with not an awful lot leftover means our version of zero-waste looks different to, say, a childless single professional in their 20’s living in a city served by many zero-waste shops; or to a person in their 60’s living with a compromised immune system, who can’t shop in bulk shops because of contamination risk but still wants to minimise their waste.

Comparing oranges to apples isn’t helpful, nor are fleeting statements proclaiming “anyone can go zero-waste”, when zero-waste doesn’t have a universal meaning applicable to all, or an agreed goal – visual or otherwise.

What even is zero-waste?

Some might say, isn’t zero-waste being able to fit a year’s worth of rubbish into a glass jar? That visual, after all, is social media catnip. I would disagree. Zero-waste absolutely goes beyond being able to fit a year’s worth of rubbish in a glass jar; or any other visible benchmark.

There’s all the stuff that doesn’t look good on visual-dependent sites, such as YouTube or Instagram. The visually uninspiring stuff. The reusing a carrier bag until it falls to bits? That’s zero-waste. The using a clothes horse in a spare corner rather than using the tumble drier: that’s zero-waste.

My own visually uninspiring version of zero-waste is that as I write this post, I’m sitting at my desk with a hot water bottle on my lap because I’m the only one in the house and I don’t want to put the heating on just yet. I don’t see that making it to YouTube any time soon, but I’m saving gas and potentially making a larger carbon saving than driving for me what would be a 30-mile round trip to be able to buy some packaging free pasta. The message here: you do what you can.

Ditch the Labels

My advice, Anon? In answer to your when can I call myself zero-waste qeustion, this has all been quite a long-winded preamble to say that I would ditch the zero-waste label. I use these kinds of labels on the blog – e.g. in my guide to zero-waste Etsy shops. This is because they’re useful for people finding my blog and articles through search engines. In daily life, I would say they’re unnecessary at best, and a hindrance at worst.

Instead, stop focusing on the when can I call myself zero-waste question, like there is an end goal, and instead keep doing what you’re doing. It sounds amazing. That’s not to breed complacency though. Do more where and if you can. If you’re looking for suggestions that go beyond a jar of waste, then some are easier than others.

Some of the easier things include voting for those with green policies; switching your financial products from those in invest in fossil fuels to those who invest in renewables; signing petitions; taking part in gentle activism (I liked this one from Girl Industries a few weeks ago); to sharing environmental articles with friends on Facebook.

Labels schmabels!

Got a question about sustainability? Email it to moralfibres@gmail.com and I’ll try my best to answer it here.