7 Easy Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen

by Tammy Taylor~

I’ve been on a quest for many years to eliminate as much plastic from our home as I can.  It’s almost impossible – plastic is EVERYWHERE!  So I’ve decided if it’s coming into our home, I’ll USE it in its entirety instead of buying more plastic.  But even then there are ways I’ve been able to significantly reduce the amount of plastic that I use in my kitchen.

As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

 

Refuse To Buy Plastic

Of course the first and most important thing of course is refusing items that come in plastic whenever you can.  When possible I go to the bulk fruit bins to buy my fruit instead of a bag of apples.  And It goes without saying that plastic dishes and cutlery aren’t allowed in my kitchen.  But there are many other ways to remove plastic from the kitchen.

I’ve written before about storing food in glass jars in the fridge.  This eliminates the need for plastic food containers.  Plus they make it easy to see the food they contain so leftovers are eaten promptly and not wasted.  In many cases it makes it possible to store, heat & eat in the same container!Glass in the refrigerator. As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

Say “NO” To Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags

I’ve refused paper AND plastic shopping bags from retail establishments for years.  Well before it was the vogue environmentally-friendly thing to do I was saying “No thanks” to bringing home more plastic.  It’s very easy for me to remember my fabric bags when I go to the store and they’re always in the trunk of my car.  Plus they’re so much easier to carry since the straps are long enough to go over my shoulder.

Reusable shopping bags. As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

And I recently acquired a handmade basket that replaces plastic shopping bags for those quick stops too.  Plus the basket holds my soon-to-be-purchases for me while I’m shopping.  I wrote about the Reaction To My Basket while shopping.  Everyone loves it and so do I!

Reusable basket when shopping. As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

If You’ve Got It – Use It

But still those plastic shopping bags make their way into our home through visitors bringing things and leaving them behind.  Sometimes I use them in our tiny bathroom-waste-basket-sized kitchen wastebasket since that’s the only size we require.  But I don’t want to accumulate them so oftentimes I’ll smooth those bags out and send them to our local food pantry, who can repurpose them for their clients.

Learn To Make It Yourself

I’ve written before how this plastic-free journey started for me with my morning yogurt.  I’d been frustrated that I couldn’t even recycle those plastic tubs my yogurt was sold in because our city didn’t accept it.  So I decided to learn to make my own homemade yogurt and found out it was deceptively easy.  Since I make my yogurt in single-serve 1/2-pint canning jars there’s no plastic necessary!  I’ve also made vinegar out of pineapple scraps (it’s delicious).  Plus I  strive to preserve much of our garden produce by canning or dehydrating.  All that garden goodness is stored in glass jars.

Think Outside The Box For Trash Bag Needs

I haven’t bought trash bags in over a decade.  Since our kitchen waste basket is so small there’s always something I can use for a liner.  For instance, I may carefully open the family pack of toilet paper (which is shrink wrapped in a large piece of plastic) and use that in our trash bin.  Or maybe I’ll shake out an empty family-sized cereal bag & use that.

Use large plastic bags in trash can. As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

Plastic Food Wrap

What about plastic wrap?  I haven’t bought the cling-wrap stuff in years. As a new beekeeper I’m always looking for ways to use products of the hive.  I’ve made beeswax wraps by melting beeswax from our hive onto a cute patterned lightweight cotton/polyester blend cloth.

NOTE: I often sell natural beeswax wraps on my Online Store Here, along with other handmade items.  Feel free to check it out!

But plastic still occasionally finds its way into our home &I’m also able to put it to a second use as well.  For instance, although I try to keep RancherMan supplied in the homemade bread he loves there are times when I’m not making bread.  The heat of a Texas summer being one of those times!  So when we have to purchase bread and the bag is emptied, I’ll shake out any crumbs and fold it neatly and tuck it into a box where I store them.

When I need a plastic food bag to separate serving-sizes after I’ve used the Cook-Once, Eat-Twice method of cooking, these bags help separate the servings.  I then add a description on a piece of paper and slide it into a previously-used zippered freezer bag along with these separated servings and place the whole thing in the freezer.  Food doesn’t stay in our  freezer long so I’ve never had a problem with freezer burn.

Covering Food In The Refrigerator

But what about thawing food?  I’ve found a way around plastic for that too. Of course I often use my beeswax wraps but there’s an even easier way. For instance, when looking through the freezer recently I discovered a bag labeled “Grilled  Pork Steaks” and I thought that would be delicious to enjoy for tomorrow’s supper.  I pulled two serving sizes from the bag and placed the frozen steak portions on a plate.

I topped them with an inverted bowl, the way I’d seen my grandmother do a thousand times when I was a child.  Into the fridge it goes to thaw overnight and throughout the day tomorrow.  When It’s time to eat all that needs to be done is to heat the steaks, whip up a couple of veggie sides such as a steamed vegetable medley and dinner is served in a flash!

Cover food in the fridge with a bowl. As much as I hate it, plastic is EVERYWHERE! Come see 7 easy ways I've been able to reduce plastic in our kitchen. #TaylorMadeHomestead

 

These are a few ways I’ve dodged adding plastic to my kitchen.  I don’t know if I’ll ever be totally plastic free but at least when it does come into our home I’m able to use it fully before disposing of it.  But I’m still striving to become more & more plastic free.  What are your favorite tips for going plastic-free in your kitchen?

~TMH~

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8 thoughts on “7 Easy Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen

  1. Nancy

    I have lots of cloth bags. They were very “in Vogue” in the eighties and nineties up here in Washington State. Then I went to Georgia and I’d go into the stores with them and be followed by security so I slowed down using them, and by the time I got to Texas it was hit-or-miss whether I had them when I went to the store. Then my son told me about the law that was passed up here in Tacoma before I moved back. Sooo I dug them out again (some of which are over 20 years old) but they’re the good old fashion canvas kind. I do have some that are the cheap $0.99 ones which don’t last too long and especially after you wash them. I had planned on making bags for everyone at Christmas time but my sewing machine is still in storage although I do have a large selection of nice heavy fabric that I found at the second hand stores (the first of which was down there at my sister’s closet down there). After getting it home I couldn’t think of what to do with it until my son told me about the new law up here. Sorry about the rambling, I miss all you guys, though.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      Homemade cloth bags would be an awesome gift Nancy. Maybe next year? I got around feeling uncomfortable carrying around my cloth bags in several ways: First, I have a heavy plastic sleeve I’ve had for about a decade – seems like it was from an old umbrella package or something. Anyway, I roll my cloth bag & place it in that & keep it tucked beneath the seat of the car. It keeps my bag clean while it’s in the car and I just tuck it under my arm when I’m walking around the store. But NOW I have my favorite handmade basket & it’s so wide open that I don’t worry about it at all, I just carry it around using it to hold my purchases until I go to the checkout counter. But when I’m doing heavier shopping I still take a bag of several bags & place them in my cart (which obviously I’d need because I’ll be buying more than I can carry this time). Using those methods I’ve not felt like the shop owners had to keep an eye on me. Glad things are going well for you Nancy! ~TMH~

      Reply
  2. Lori Martin

    I absolutely agree with your post and the replies. One thing I have found since reducing plastic is that not everything needs a lid. I think I got caught up in the ‘plastic food storage craze’- if a container came with a lid, then you used it. Sometimes it’s not necessary AND it creates extra dishes. Also, I broke down and bought some silicone quart size bags. They can lay flat in the freezer, be dropped into boiling water to cook the contents or used in the microwave. So far they have worked beautifully and haven’t stained or leaked.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      OOH Lori – silicone quart bags? I must look for those. Thank you so much for sharing! ~TMH~

      Reply
  3. Kati

    Thanks for this. Several things you mentioned are new to me and several others we already do. Always looking to add to my list. Your take on covering food in the fridge is similar to mine. I have several large mixing bowls that are perfect for use, but didn’t come with a lid/cover. I found that I could lay a salad plate or a dinner plate (depending on the size of the bowl) on top of the bowl for a cover that is almost air-tight. Works great when I want to chill cookie dough.

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      I learned that from my grandmother so many years ago Kati. How did our grandmothers get so smart??!! It seems what was old is new again as people rediscover the wisdom of the past. ~TMH~

      Reply
  4. Vickie Westcamp

    These are all such great ideas! I never thought to use toilet paper shrink wrap plastic as a trash can liner, but I will never see it as trash itself again! You are right about using mason jars for storage in the fridge and freezer…labels are rarely needed because you can SEE what’s in the jar! Thanks for all your ideas. Happy Thanksgiving!

    Reply
    1. Taylor-Made Homestead Post author

      So right about the glass jars, Vickie. And less food waste is a win/win for the food budget as well as environment. We rarely have to throw away leftovers in the Taylor Household because we can see what we have available. Heck it’s already cooked up & seasoned to perfection, why not enjoy it until it’s gone? ~TMH~

      Reply

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