Whilst some of these products may have properties that are more sustainable than other products that we are likely to use, the most sustainable option is to use what you currently have if it is in a good condition or you have plenty of it. However, should you run out of some kitchen essentials then you should check out the post below for some eco-conscious swaps if you would like to try something new.
While some households have a dishwasher, some do not, therefore we need to address the various amounts of single-use plastic involved with mainstream washing up practices. Here are a few easy swaps to reduce the plastic in your kitchen sink:
- Do you need a new dish scrubber? You could swap to a bamboo and wooden brush for washing dishes instead of a plastic brush. When buying one of these brushes try and get one where you replace the scrubbing head only instead of the handle and the head as this will cut down on waste in addition to plastic. Products made from natural fibres will decompose naturally in a compost bin however plastic sits in landfill for many years. Some places that you can buy these from include: Nil Living, Peace of the Wild and eco-living.
- If you use disposable plastic sponges you could swap these out for an alternative such as a loofah dish sponge, these can be bought from Nil Living.
- An additional swap would be to use a reusable container with a pump for washing up liquid instead of buying single-use bottles. To fill the container up, either take it to a refill shop (like Nil Living in Grainger Market) or order a refill of washing up liquid from various retailers online (however when doing this try to make sure it comes in a 100% recyclable packet. Alternatively, you could try solid washing up soap bars instead such as the ones sold in Something Good.
Often the products that we use to clean our work surfaces in the kitchen are in the form of disposable wipes or single-use plastic spray bottles. Here are a few swaps that could eliminate both products from your kitchen and keep it sparkling and clean.
- Switch to cleaning products that send out biodegradable refill sachets (or recyclable packaging) instead of single-use products. Some that we recommend are Method or Ocean Saver. This means that the bottle you use for your spray will be continuously reused instead of the single use sprays that are commonly bought.
- You can also try reusable dish and dusting cloths which can go in the wash instead of kitchen roll or non-reusable wipes.
Unfortunately, even everyday necessary activities contribute to marine plastic pollution, and this includes washing your clothes. Many clothes are made (in whole or in part) from plastics such as nylon and acrylic, which release fibres of microplastics when washed and end up in our drains, waterways and the sea.
“Plastic particles washed off from synthetic clothes contribute up to 35% of the primary microplastic that is polluting our oceans”Planet care
- The initial step when attempting to prevent microplastics from reaching the sea starts from before washing and stems from buying. When looking to invest in new garments (second hand or new) you could try to opt for natural fibre made products such as cotton, hemp or linen that will not release plastic.
- You could also invest in a microfiber filter for your washing machine which will help to catch most of the fibres that are released during washes such as the one made by PlanetCare. Alternatively, you could use a Guppy Bag to wash your garments in which also helps to capture most of the fibres.
- When washing your clothes, washing machines often automatically opt for the higher temperature settings even when they aren’t required, so before you put a wash on you could turn down the dial to 30 degrees to save energy and your clothes from excess heat.
- If you have a garden to hang your laundry to dry outside instead of using a tumble dryer (particularly in the summer) this will also help you to save money and energy within your household. If you don’t have a garden, hanging your clothes out to try indoors and using a small dehumidifier is still more energy efficient than using a tumble dryer.
Studies have shown that food systems make up somewhere in the region of a third of global carbon emissions. By being conscious of what and how much we buy, we can help minimise the food waste coming out of our households and into landfill where it breaks down and produces even more greenhouse gases. We hope this helps to give you some inspiration for how you can operate your kitchen with sustainability as well as tasty food in mind.
- You can opt for loose fruit and vegetables, if possible, you can take a bag with you to the market (such as Grainger Market) to carry them in and this way you will only buy what you need and will not be buying single use plastic.
- Try to eat seasonally to the country that you are in as this will mean you are buying better quality produce and will not need to be flown in. If you have a garden, you could have a go at growing some easy produce such as carrots, potatoes and herbs.
- To avoid adding food waste scraps to landfill, you could keep a food waste caddy in your kitchen and build a compost heap in your garden and use the output to add nutrients to your soil.
- Do you like to batch cook? We do too as it helps to save energy! Put your leftovers in Tupperware instead of cling film as these can be reused unlike cling film and it will also prevent spillages in your bag. You can save your takeaway containers after washing them to put your lunches and snacks in.
- We have also got a food waste post filled with tips for those who would like to reduce their food waste which you can find here:
Events in January:
Veganuary: If you haven’t tried a plant-based diet, Veganuary is a great opportunity to give it a go! Eating a more plant-based diet reduces the carbon footprint of our food.
It is no secret that as an international community we need to reduce the harmful emissions that are an output from mass agricultural farming so if you are curious about participating in this challenge have a look at the Veganuary website and check out our recent blog post, please get in touch if you have any questions about this blog post or Veganuary.