Our tips for a kitchen without plastic, part 1
You come home from your weekly shopping and after unpacking your purchases the trash can is full of packaging waste? Everybody is talking about the worldwide plastic problem, and yet avoiding plastic in everyday life can be quite difficult sometimes. That’s why we have focused on the kitchen and collected some handy tips for you. Even if it is not possible to follow all of them at once, what matters is a growing awareness – and setting a good example. Of course, we cannot have our kitchens plastic-free overnight. But every small step in terms of avoiding plastic is important. Just try for yourself what you can integrate into your everyday live:
Your best friend in terms of sustainability? The cloth bag!
Simple and effective: always take a cloth bag with you. And it’s best to store another one in your office, your car or your bicycle basket. They don’t take up much space and you will never again be confronted with the plastic bag dilemma when making spontaneous purchases. Of course, this does not only apply for the supermarket, but also for purchasing books or clothing. Our Tip: Draw your cloth bag even before the shop assistant can offer you a plastic bag, since (unfortunately) in some shops the purchases are automatically packed in a bag.
Buy unpacked products, if possible
On the market, in farm stores and bakeries, at the farmer’s, in organic supermarkets, in specialty stores or stores that have specialized on selling products without packaging, you can buy food at least with reduced packaging, usually even completely free of plastic. Here you can put your purchases directly into your cloth bag (which you always have with you, of course) or fill them into your own containers. Reusable jars are ideal for all kinds of food – and they also look better on the shelf than plastic packaging.
Keep your eyes open: plastic-free alternatives in the supermarket
Often you can also buy unpacked fruit, vegetables and herbs in the supermarket – instead of using the plastic bags that are still provided by most supermarkets, you can either put them directly on the belt or into a light shopping net. And milk, cream, yoghurt, oil, vinegar, ketchup, mustard, juices and yoghurt are not only offered in plastic containers and Tetra Paks, but also in glass bottles and returnable jars (which you can conveniently use again the next time you go shopping in a store that sells products without packaging).
Deli counter instead of plastic jungle
There are only plastic packagings in the refrigerated section of the supermarket? Then have a look at the fresh food counter of the supermarket, at the butcher’s or in the cheese shop. Here, it gets more and more usual to put the products into your own containers on your request. You just have to ask!
Freezing without freezer bags
Do you know that you can easily freeze many kinds of food in screw top jars (here are the reusable jars again)? Jars with a straight form and a large opening are ideal. Please make sure not to fill the jars to the brim and to freeze them standing. If you are worried that your jar may burst: first put on the lid lightly and only close it firmly when everything is frozen. This is a great way to preserve seasonal fruit and vegetables and enjoy them all year round – that’s doubly sustainable.
Storage without cling film
Have you ever heard of wax cloth? You can actually use it for everything you would use cling film for, it is greaseproof and keeps food fresh entirely without plastic. You can easily rinse the cloths with cold water and use them again and again. Since they are made of pure cellulose coated with wax, they can be disposed of in an environmentally friendly way once they have exceeded their service life. Alternatively, instead of covering a bowl with foil, you can also try grandma’s pleasingly uncomplicated trick – simply cover it with a plate turned upside down. And of course, screw top jars are also perfectly suited for storing food of all kinds.
Cooking instead of buying ready meals
Frozen pizza, microwave lasagne, packet soup: aside from questionable ingredients, ready meals are usually packed in plenty of plastic and aluminium, and even tin cans are often coated with plastic on the inside. Cooking with fresh ingredients, for example with regional and seasonal products from the market, is not only healthier – you also avoid a lot of garbage and in most cases it tastes much better.
Snacking without plastic
Another advantage if you do your own cooking: you can double the portion, so you’ll have another one for the next day. You can also enjoy your second serving on the way, for example during your lunch break – and yet again you have eluded using a disposable aluminium container from the snack bar or a baker’s bag. The all-purpose wonders screw top jars work well for storing most dishes (who would have thought), as well as stainless steel boxes. And the already mentioned wax cloths are great for wrapping sandwiches.
Coffee to go? Only in returnable cups, please!
Oh, and since we’re on the way: make sure to get a reusable coffee cup, made of bamboo for example, if you like to have a coffee on the go. Because every plastic-coated to-go cup saved is an important contribution. That’s why you can even get a discount in many cafés if you bring a reusable cup. You don’t have a returnable cup with you? Take a seat more often and take your time to drink your coffee. Breaks are important!