Supermarkets wrap our fruits and vegetables in it. Our meat is packaged in it. Fancy quenching your thirst when you’re out and about? Your water is bottled in it! There’s no denying – plastic is everywhere. In fact, in the UK alone, recent figures have shown that the average household produces 668kg of plastic waste every year!
But how do we even begin to reduce our plastic consumption and, ultimately, stop it from entering the oceans? We think the kitchen is a great place to start, and we’ve put together some tips below.
1. Take your own canvas bags or ‘bags for life’ to the supermarket with you. It’s often a good idea to keep a stash of these in the boot of your car or by your front door so you know that you’ve always got some to hand.
2. Supermarket bread is not only wrapped in plastic, but is often overpriced. Try making your own instead for a fraction of the cost using a bread maker. This also comes with the added bonus of having that freshly-baked bread smell wafting through the house! You can even programme it to cook overnight, so that your loaf is warm and waiting for you in the morning. Could there be a more satisfying way to wake up?
3. Ditch those overly-expensive smoothies and juices, and mix up your own (with the peace of mind of knowing exactly what’s gone into it!) with a smoothie maker that comes with reusable bottles.
5. When snack time calls, instead of reaching for a bag of crisps or a chocolate bar wrapped in unrecyclable foil, why not try an alternative that is healthier for both you and the planet by making your own dried fruit snacks. A dehydrator is a great way to do this, and there is a plethora of nibbles you can make that are sure to satisfy those 11am cravings!
6. Fruits and vegetables come in their own natural packaging – is there anything better for packaging a banana than the banana’s skin itself?! Go for loose fruits and vegetables wherever possible, rather than those that are wrapped in plastic and bunched together.
7. Stop buying sandwiches and salads that are sat in plastic packaging and start making your own lunches instead. These brick lunchboxes add an injection of fun to school packed lunches!
8. Instead of using plastic wrap to cover any leftovers, pop them in a lidded container. You can also take containers to a deli or health food store and use them over the usual plastic bag on offer to weigh out your ingredients and transport them home.
9. Make the switch from plastic straws. Many bars and restaurants now have the option of paper straws, which is fantastic, and you can now buy these at many retailers. Metal straws are also widely available, resulting in even less waste as you simply wash them and reuse!
10. And, last but not least, take full advantage of your council’s recycling services. Make sure that everything is washed out and separated according to their requirements – a bin with recycling compartments can make this job even easier, and that anything that cannot be recycled at kerbside is taken to a recycling centre.
Lead image: DutchScenery via Getty images.