Posted on August 19 2019
Moving on from Part 1...
The next room in the house that needed the plastic-free treatment was the kitchen. There are so many simple swaps you can make to create a more eco-friendly kitchen. However, the most important area of change is your shopping habits. That's very personal, but if you can buy locally-grown food, and refill using containers where possible, it will go a long way. This way of shopping isn’t easy for everyone, which makes swaps a good starting place.
always, my first port of call for eco swaps was Bon Tot. I wanted to make sure
that when I’m out and about, I don’t use unnecessary plastic. And like with all
parts of the Plastic Free movement, this requires some extra preparation. I
decided that the ultimate on-the-go kit would include a lunchbox, a portable cutleryset, a water bottle, and a coffee cup. Naturally, Kristina had already chosen
the very best products, so I didn’t need to put in any effort here!
Because stainless steel lunchboxes hadn’t yet dropped at Bon Tot (they’re coming soon - see above!), I opted for a cute pink lunchbox and matching cutlery set by Monbento (not to be confused with Monsanto). Yes, Monbentos are plastic. But, this isn't your mother's plastic. Monbentos are BPA-free. They're also seriously high quality and will last for many years, over and above the three-year warranty. If you’re hesitant about stainless steel or prefer the look and feel of a stylish French-meets-Japanese lunchbox, this is a good bet for you. Nowadays, I take my lunchbox with me wherever I go, even if it’s empty. If I fancy a takeaway, I call in advance and then walk to the restaurant and use it as my takeaway container. At Nok’s Kitchen in Stockbridge, the chef even threw in some free prawn crackers with my order because “we all need to save the planet.” You’ll find that many people are using lunchboxes for takeaways now, so don’t feel uncomfortable about asking.
To complete the set, I chose a stainless-steel water bottle by Blafre, also at Bon Tot. What makes Blafre stand out from the slew of stainless-steel bottles is their drinking spouts. They’re perfect for when you’re on the go and don’t want to slosh water all over yourself. They also work for little ones who haven’t yet mastered the fine art of sipping. Best of all, the bottle and the spouts are dishwasher-friendly. On a recent flight (yes, I know: air travel is killing the planet), I saved nine plastic cups just by bringing my Blafre bottle and asking for water refills.
My final Bon Tot buy was the Ecoffee Cup. I learned that we’ve only been using single-use paper cups for thirty years. In that time, three trillion coffee cups have ended up in landfill. I made a rule the day I found that out: if I don’t have my reusable cup with me, I don’t buy coffee. It’s that easy. Even using bioplastics (advertised as being biodegradable) isn't a great idea. It takes years for these alternative plastics to break down, and in that time they can cause a lot of harm. Ecoffee Cups are a fantastic alternative, because they’re made of natural fibre, corn starch and resin. On top of that, they’ve got no-drip lids and are dishwasher safe.
Back in the kitchen itself, I my first swap was my everyday dishwashing sponge. I had no idea that the sponges we use are essentially made of plastic. As you wash your dishes, tiny bits of polyester and nylon (microplastics) wash straight down the drain and out into the ocean. They are then ingested by sea life or attach to coral on the seafloor. As a replacement, I chose a Scrubbie sponge. It’s got a whale-pattern on it, which means I constantly feel low-key guilt about the state of the planet. Jokes aside, Scrubbies are awesome – they're plastic-free, vegan and biodegradable. I bought a couple of hardier Scrubbies for dirty pans and scrubbing the bath, too. To complete my washing-up kit, I chose a Naturfibre wooden dish cleaning brush from Oxford Brush Company. The brush is beautifully designed and handmade in Britain. It’s 100% plastic-free and made with natural fibre bristles. Better still, at the end of its life, you can replace the brush head.
Once I'd started researching microplastics, I discovered how much waste laundry creates. Every day, a city the size of Edinburgh releases a wash-related volume of microfibres equal to approximately 75,000 plastic bags. I didn’t realise that our clothing contains millions of tiny plastic fibres that come apart when we wash our clothes. The solution is simple: wash your clothes inside a GuppyFriend bag. It's made of a super-fine material that catches micro plastics and doesn’t give off any fibres itself. It also works to protect your clothes, lengthening their lives. At the end of the washing cycle, you simply remove your washed clothes, brush away the fibres and put them into the bin. Using a GuppyFriend bag is a great step towards combatting the plastic problem, and it’s so easy.
But as always, my eco-friendly laundry journey didn’t end there. I also stopped using laundry pods (which come in a plastic bucket) and instead opted for laundry powder from Ecover, which is sold in a cardboard box.
Last but not least are my vegan wax wraps from Rowan Stillwater. In the past, I used to wrap my sandwiches or cover bowls in the fridge with cling film or tinfoil. Since I’ve made this easy swap, I’ve eliminated those products. The wax wraps are 100% organic and are coated with plant-based wax sourced in Britain. They mould with the warmth of your hands, which helps them stay firmly closed when wrapped around odds and ends in your fridge or on the go. They’re also water-repellent, so if you’re a victim of a lunchbox spill, your sandwiches will be protected. At the end of their (very long) life, you can compost them.
I still have a long way to go with turning my kitchen into a plastic-free zone. Even so, I’m excited to keep trying new ways of living sustainably. Making these small changes has been hugely motivating, and I’ve gained a lot of momentum by following the challenge. Aside from making my swaps, I’ve started shopping at refill stores and no longer buying new clothes. It’s the vintage life for me from now on! There are so many small changes we can all make to slow down climate change. As each change becomes a habit, it will become easier and easier to live without plastic. I hope that in a few months’ time, I will be living a very-nearly-plastic-free life. As with everything, it takes time and patience for this new way of life to become second nature. So, if you're just starting out, stay positive and be as kind to yourself as you're being to the planet!
I hope these ideas have been helpful and that they might motivate you to make some changes, too. Have you tried any of the above swaps? What did you think? Let me know in the comments.
Also, here are a few blogs and pages that I like and find useful, that you might like to check out: