by Texas Homesteader ~
I’ve been on a quest for many years to reduce as much plastic from our home as I can. It’s almost impossible to completely eliminate – plastic is EVERYWHERE!
So I’ve decided if it’s coming into our home, I’ll USE it in its entirety instead of buying more plastic.
But luckily there are ways I’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount of plastic that I use in my kitchen. It’s often cheaper too since many times I’m using things I already have on hand to do it.
Refuse To Buy Plastic
Of course the first and most important thing is refusing items that come in plastic whenever you can.
When possible I go to the bulk fruit bins to buy my fruit instead of a bag of apples. And It goes without saying that plastic dishes and cutlery aren’t allowed in my kitchen.
But there are many other ways to remove plastic from the kitchen.
Replacing Plastic Food Storage For FREE
I’ve written before about storing food in glass jars in the fridge. This eliminates the need for plastic food containers. I often use repurposed glass jars to replace those old stained plastic food storage containers I used to have.
Plus glass makes it easy to see the food they contain. So leftovers are eaten promptly and not wasted.
In many cases it makes it possible to store, heat & eat in the same container! Here’s a snapshot of my refrigerator:
Say “NO” To Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
I’ve refused paper AND plastic shopping bags from retail establishments for years. Well before it was the vogue environmentally-friendly thing to do I was saying “No thanks” to bringing home more plastic.
Fabric Bags: It’s very easy for me to remember my fabric bags when I go to the store since they’re always in the trunk of my car. Plus they’re so much easier to carry than those flimsy plastic bags since the fabric bag’s straps are long enough to go over my shoulder.
Woven Basket: And I recently acquired a handmade basket that replaces plastic shopping bags for those quick stops too.
Plus the basket holds my soon-to-be-purchases for me while I’m shopping.
I’m constantly talking about the Reaction To My Basket while shopping. Everyone I meet loves it. And so do I!
Learn To Make It Yourself
I’ve written before how this plastic-free journey started for me with my morning yogurt. I’d been frustrated that I couldn’t even recycle those plastic tubs my yogurt was sold in because our city didn’t accept that kind of plastic.
So I decided to learn to make my own homemade yogurt and found out it was deceptively easy. Since I make my yogurt in single-serve and reusable 1/2-pint canning jars there’s no plastic necessary!
I’ve also made vinegar out of pineapple scraps (it’s delicious). Plus I strive to preserve much of our garden produce by canning or dehydrating. All that garden goodness is stored in glass jars in my pantry.
Think Outside The Box For Trash-Bag Needs
I haven’t bought actual trash bags for over a decade. Since our trash output is so miniscule, our kitchen waste basket is small. So there’s always something I can use for a liner.
For instance, I may carefully open the family pack of toilet paper (which is shrink wrapped in a large piece of plastic) to preserve the bag.
Then I use that bag to line our trash bin.
Or maybe I’ll shake out an empty family-sized cereal bag & use that instead.
There’s always something I can use to line the wastebasket without buying actual trash bags. It’s a double score since it often comes free with something I’ve purchased. And that plastic wrapping is intended to be immediately thrown away. Might as well put it to another use first!
If You’ve Got It – Use It!
But still those plastic shopping bags often make their way into our home through visitors bringing things and leaving them behind. Sometimes I use them in our tiny kitchen wastebasket since that’s the only size we require.
But I don’t want to accumulate them. So if they begin to accumulate I’ll smooth those bags out and send them to our local food pantry, who can repurpose them for their clients.
Plastic Food Wrap
What about plastic wrap? I haven’t bought the cling-wrap stuff in years.
As a beekeeper I’m always looking for ways to use products of the hive. I’ve made beeswax wraps by melting beeswax from our hive onto a cute patterned lightweight cotton-blend cloth.
NOTE: I often sell natural beeswax wraps on my Online Store Here, along with other handmade items. Feel free to check it out!
But as I mentioned above, plastic still occasionally finds its way into our home. So when it does I’m also able to put it to a second use as well.
For instance, although I try to keep RancherMan supplied in the homemade bread he loves, there are times when I’m not making bread. The heat of a Texas summer being one of those times!
So when we have to purchase bread and the bag is emptied, I’ll shake out any crumbs and fold it neatly and tuck it into a box where I store them.
When I need a plastic food bag to separate serving-sizes after I’ve used the Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking, these repurposed bags help separate the servings.
I then add a description on a piece of paper and slide it into a previously-used zippered freezer bag along with these separated servings.
Then I place the whole thing in the freezer. Food doesn’t stay in our freezer long so I’ve never had a problem with freezer burn.
Covering Food In The Refrigerator
But what about thawing food? I’ve found a way around plastic for that too.
When looking through the freezer recently I spied a bag labeled “Grilled Pork Steaks”. I thought that would be delicious to enjoy for tomorrow’s supper. So I pulled two serving sizes from the bag and placed the frozen steak portions on a plate.
I topped them with an inverted bowl, the way I’d seen my grandmother do a thousand times when I was a child. Into the fridge it goes to thaw overnight and throughout the day tomorrow.
When It’s time to eat all that needs to be done is to heat the steaks, whip up a couple of veggie sides such as a Roasted Vegetable Medley and dinner is served in a flash!
These are a few ways I’ve dodged adding plastic to my kitchen. I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally plastic free. But at least when it does come into our home I’m able to use it fully before disposing of it.
However, I’m still striving every day to become more & more plastic free. What are your favorite tips for going plastic-free in your kitchen?
Other Great Posts About Reducing Plastic
- Reducing Plastic Is Easy
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Natural Air Freshener In Reusable Glass Jar
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
Reducing Household Waste
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junkmail
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Detergent
…and Many More
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