By now you’ll know that we’re on a mission to help families reduce waste and make more sustainable choices so that we can teach our kids to make better choices in the future too. The kitchen is one of the easiest areas to start making an impact at home. In this post we’re sharing six easy sustainable swaps for families in the kitchen.
Once you start to really think about it, pretty much everything you touch in the kitchen will involve plastic in some way. We’re all about making small swaps and educated choices, because we know how difficult it can be to go completely plastic free as a family - especially when the kids are young. However, the fight against plastic shouldn’t just be planetary, it’s also about our health. So much of our food comes wrapped tightly in plastic which can leach toxins out of the plastics and into our food, especially when it gets hot (take away containers, for example). So, in our sustainable swaps for the kitchen feature we’re thinking about ditching plastic from your kitchen for the planet, and for your health.
1. Swap Cling Film for Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps
First up, reusable beeswax food wraps. Bin the clingfilm and aluminium foil in favour of beeswax or plant-based wax food wraps – they keep food fresh just as well and are completely reusable, biodegradable and easy to clean. Use them in exactly the same way you would clingfilm to wrap anything from leftovers, to sandwiches for lunchboxes; they also come in some super cute designs which gets a big thumbs up from our kids. Our favourites are these patterned ones from beeswaxwraps.co.uk
2. Swap harsh cleaners for a natural alternative
Next in the firing line is your trusty anti-bacterial surface spray. There is an overwhelming amount of research now that suggests that our health actually benefits from coming into contact with microbes on a daily basis, it helps to strengthen our immune systems and make us more resilient to illness.
We obsess over killing bacteria (99.9% of it most of the time..!), and use stringent and harmful chemicals to do so. The kitchen is the worst place for this, as we spray these toxins directly onto our work tops, and then chop food in the same place. If you’re looking to swap to something that’s a bit more natural, Method cleaning products are our go to.
They are better for us, our animals and the planet, because they are made from biodegradable ingredients, and the packaging from recycled materials. If you’re looking for an anti-bac Method’s Wild Rhubarb is a total winner - it smells amazing too!
If you’re looking to go one step further, why not put a hand to making your own. You can even get the kids involved in a mad-professor moment! A great starter potion is distilled white vinegar infused with orange peels and diluted with water - you’ll be astounded at how well this stuff cleans, and the best part is that it’s 100% chemical free. Use an old spray bottle to make things easier and use it time and time again.
3. Swap plastic sandwich bags and tupperware for reusable alternatives
Now let’s think about food storage. When it comes to packed lunches there is nothing more convenient than a resealable sandwich bag right? Wrong!
Swap out single-use bags for reusable silicone food bags like these Stasher ones which can be used for everything from on-the-go snack bags to cooking food, they're plastic-free, self-sealing, dishwasher safe and free from toxic chemicals like BPA. Better for your little ones and the planet.
Sandwich bags not your thing? Tupperware can be so much more convenient, especially when storing leftovers in the fridge. Some great alternatives to plastic tupperware is glass (which still unfortunately have plastic lids), or if you want to go totally plastic free then some stainless steel food containers like these ones from Elephant Box would be a better option for the planet.
4. Swap teabags for loose leaf tea or non-plastic alternative
Now depending on how hot you are on your sustainability knowledge, you may or may not know that tea bags contain plastics via the glue that holds them together. When we found this out we couldn’t believe it either! That tea bag goes into boiling water in your cup and then, potentially, into your brew as well, but definitely into the environment when you chuck the bag in the bin!
Switch to loose leaf tea for a better flavour as well as a better environmental footprint. If you take your tea caddy or mason jar to Whittard they’ll refill it for you with the loose leaf tea of your choice - no need for any plastic at all.
If loose leaf tea is a bit too messy for you then Teapigs - just like us - are super conscious about their plastic footprint. Teapigs tea temples are made from cornstarch and sealed with heat so they’ve never used plastic. Their inner packaging, which looks like plastic, is made from wood pulp - and the best part is you can chuck this into your compost bin!
5. Swap plastic straws for reusable or biodegradable alternative
We all know kids love to drink from straws. Perhaps the most obvious choice, but consider switching to paper straws, take it one step further with these nifty biodegradable hay straws. If your kids are old enough then stainless steel straws are the ultimate waste-free choice!
6. Swap paper towels for reusable bamboo paper towels
Last up, bamboo paper towels. Instead of buying roll after roll of paper kitchen towel, which we know is a must have for a busy family kitchen, try using washable bamboo towels which can be reused again and again. Plus, they’re stronger and more absorbent and don’t leave any lint or residue.
These are just a few of our tips, but we’d love to hear if you have any sustainable tips for the family kitchen. Leave them in the comments below and if you end up making any of these changes, let us know how you get on in the comments below!
For more sustainable swaps, make sure you check out our collection of girls swimwear, which is made from ECONYL ® - a sustainable yarn made from recycled nylon waste found in the ocean and landfill.