Environmentally conscious consumption is increasingly important in today’s society, yet it can sometimes be hard to know where to start.
In the supermarket, products are often wrapped in multiple, unnecessary layers of packaging, but it can be difficult to spot alternatives. At home when your foodstuff is half opened, you want to preserve it to reduce waste. However, the most accessible options are throwaway, single use materials. In this article, I’m going to recommend some amazing, plastic-free, multiple use products to reduce your plastic usage.
Beeswax is a 100% organic material that is biodegradable and naturally antibacterial. It’s a much safer and healthier alternative to plastic. Combined with cotton, these wraps keep food fresher for longer than plastic, and allow your food to breathe whilst protecting it. Available in a wrap or a bag option, the texture is naturally self-sealing with the warmth from your fingers. The bags become more pliable over time. Responsible vegan substitutes also use natural materials, such as food grade plant waxes, which mimic the qualities of beeswax.
Although traditional Tupperware is made from plastic, this is multiple use and can last for years when taken care of properly. However, if you want to cut out even multiple-use plastic, you can choose glass, bamboo or stainless-steel alternatives. For a more eco-conscious choice, use recycled or sustainably sourced materials. These containers are air-tight and are great for food which needs to be fully protected.
An alternative to using cling film or tin foil to cover a bowl or plate, cotton covers are reusable and washable. They protect your food, but are slightly breathable so are not a good choice if your food needs to be stored in an airtight container. Available in a variety of sizes, simply measure your current bowls and select the fit that is right for your current kitchen. Choosing covers made from organic cotton also increases the sustainability of this product.
Refill shops are popping up all over, and glass jars are a great storage option if you want to reduce needless packaging waste. You can observe precisely how much of a certain product you are using and predict when you need to buy more, which reduces food waste. Many are available with bamboo lids, making the product significantly lighter, and totally recyclable. As they are heat resistant, they are also a great option for storing leftovers. Aesthetically pleasing and with environmental benefits, these jars are the perfect plastic-free storage solution.
Ideal for anything from fruit and veg to bread, cotton produce bags can be filled at the supermarket to reduce packaging and then used to store your food at home. Thanks to the breathability of the material, mould and bacteria growth is discouraged. Just pull the drawstring tight to keep bread fresh. Machine washable and biodegradable, these bags can be reused for years to come. When the time does come to finally replace your products, the old bags can be used as cleaning rags. As with all cotton, make sure you choose organic, sustainably sourced materials to reduce your impact.
Although we would all like to immediately move to plastic-free options, the most sustainable and ethical choice is always to use what you have first. It creates even more waste if products go unused and are disposed of improperly. Single-use plastics can now be recycled in selected supermarkets. Tin foil is usually accepted for home collection when scrunched to the size of a tennis ball or bigger (check your local recycling first).
Moving towards plastic-free food storage can seem difficult at first, but these handy solutions will enable you to take the next step. Any swaps or small changes that you can manage will make a difference, even if it’s just one thing at a time. Have another read and see which of these substitutions would work best in your everyday life.