In recent years the government has implemented several bans on disposable plastic items to reduce plastic waste from shops and other public spaces. It is also important that consumers reduce their plastic waste in their own homes.
The kitchen is notorious for generating plastic waste due to the high usage of single-use items such as Clingfilm or disposable cleaning items such as sponges. As consumers, we generate some of the waste that needs to be reduced; bottom-up action causes change. Here are some steps you can take to reduce your own plastic waste within the kitchen.
Aldi will stop 100 tonnes of plastic waste
Use mesh bags to collect loose items of fruit and vegetables. Certain supermarkets are making the change already; Aldi has announced that it will stop providing single-use plastic bags used for gathering fruit and vegetables, which means that Aldi will stop 100 tonnes of plastic waste. Yet, more supermarkets need to adopt this vital measure.
Reusable Containers and Covers
with the UK using 745,000 miles of Clingfilm annually
Tupperware or stainless steel containers can substitute disposable sandwich bags, or replace the use of Clingfilm. Plastic wrap contains PVC, which makes it especially difficult to recycle; in fact, only 9% of plastic waste ever produced has been recycled, with the UK using 745,000 miles of Clingfilm annually
Beeswax wraps are another similar way to replace single-use plastic wrap. Nevertheless, it is an expensive substitute and is not appropriate for use with fresh meat or fish for safety reasons. But, it can be re-used several times. Simply warm it up in your hands to make it pliable.
Reusable Cleaning Products
Re-usable and washable sponges are a great alternative to conventional, disposable plastic sponges; in the UK, we dispose of 400 million sponges a year. To wash, simply put in the washing machine at 40°c and then let air dry.
Zero Waste and Wholesale Shops
The University of Nottingham has its own plastic-free store based in Portland, called ‘Portland Zero’
Use containers or jars that can be filled at wholesales stores, or eco-friendly stores, that sell loose grains and dried goods en masse. Waitrose piloted a scheme in Oxford in which the store removed a range of products packaged in plastic, instead providing customers with dispensers. It was well received so Waitrose decided to extend the scheme. The University of Nottingham has its own plastic-free store based in Portland, called ‘Portland Zero’. Here you can stock up on spices, pulses, rice and pasta
Reusable Cups and Bottle
Based on figures collected by various organisations, recycling appears to be an ineffective method, and makes people complacent
Flasks and re-usable bottles are an essential tool to eliminate use of single-use water bottles, of which only 1 in 5 ends up being recycled. On average, every minute 1 million bottles of water are bought. If more people begin to use re-fillable flasks and bottles, this amount can be massively reduced
It is clear that the best way of eliminating plastic wastage is simply not buying or using it in the first place. Based on figures collected by various organisations, recycling appears to be an ineffective method, and makes people complacent because they become over-reliant on it instead of addressing the root of the problem. Making small changes will cumulatively result in success and improvement. As consumers we have the power to shift companies in the right direction with the power of our purses.
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