When it comes to getting more conscious in the kitchen, there are thankfully so many things you can do towards a greener way of life.
There are lots of swaps to make and constant new inventions to consider how to make the heart of your home plastic-free. Sometimes you just need to make space for the practical side and shift your mindset a little. EVERYTHING you do toward a greener life helps, so be kind to yourself whilst figuring it out.
Here are 10 of the most simple green kitchen swaps we’ve made and you could too.
1) Food shopping in supermarkets
Some small swaps are possible in our local supermarket. I now buy more than I ever have in tins and jars.
From the fruit and veg aisle, I put loose peppers, avocados and bananas directly onto the conveyor belt. I actively look for things in paper bags rather than plastic too – they can be found. I also buy the huge tubs of yoghurt (rather than the little pots) as you can recycle those or re-use them as Tupperware if you like.
2) Washing Up
We use washable cloths – cotton knitted/woven (not the type that leave foam pieces everywhere). We have a wooden pan scrubber and use washing up liquid from Splosh and, any time we overfill the kettle, we use the cooled water for our plants.
We also have an all-natural veg scrubber (pictured).
Check out my blog on cleaning refill company Splosh here. There’s a discount code too.
I am a huge fan of their products – they smell amazing and they are really leading the field with helping us to be more conscious cleaners.
3) Dishwasher / washer
We tried SMOL for a little while, but I really didn’t like that the capsules arrived in a plastic box each time. We’ve since discovered ASDA actually do a cardboard box of capsules which aren’t wrapped in plastic. I empty them and keep them in this cute tin. (pictured). For our washing machine we wouldn’t be without our eco-egg – we’ve been using it for a year and occasionally use softener from Splosh.
4) Food waste and storage
We are keen to ensure we don’t waste anything we buy. We drink smoothies and eat home-made soup and I check everything in our fridge daily. It’s a routine I wouldn’t be without.
It helps that we tend to shop for fresh stuff around three times per week. If veg or salad looks past its best, then our chickens enjoy it along with the ends of a cucumber as our son eats about half a cucumber each day! We have a worktop compost bin for our loose-leaf tea, coffee and peelings which the worms in our worm hotel love. We also have a separate one for citrus peel as the worms aren’t keen.
5) Your bin
I’ve been looking for the best system for a while to be honest. We have bought biodegradable bags in the past but after speaking to someone who manufactures packaging, I’m less thrilled about the idea of it breaking down into tiny pieces. Read this article on how to make a dry bin.
6) Pet food
We give our chickens a mix of layers pellets, seeds and oats bought in a paper bag just from LIDL. We don’t have any other pets, but I have noticed when we pet-sit for friends who have cats and dogs most treats and food comes wrapped in plastic. Have you tried researching plastic-free alternatives? Little Green Ways’ Naomi loves Yora and has written a review about the insect-based pet food.
7) Setting the table for special occasions
We have a set of 100% fabric Christmas napkins that I wash each year – there’s a ceremony in setting the table with them and it’s a brilliant zero-waste swap!
Crackers are a tough one. I have made my own from a kit which was low-waste and filled with gifts. I’ve also noticed more food brands creating crackers which can mean zero waste too.
I’m keeping my eye out in our local charity shops for napkins that would suit other occasions like birthdays too! We re-use birthday candles and have found mini sparklers in tins too.
8) Milk run
Not only is our local milkman a small business but he conveniently delivers cow’s milk in glass bottles. We also use a local farm who produce ‘raw milk’ which is incredibly delicious. Almond milk is so easy to make, and we mix it up with smoothies and love it in chai tea. I’m still looking for the perfect oat milk recipe – let me know if you’ve found one? As I’ve found oats in paper bags it would be ideal to make oat milk a more regular thing!
Investing in good-quality kitchen utensils and solid-wood chopping boards means you’ll buy them once in your lifetime if you’re lucky. If you’ve got utensils you don’t like or use or any plastic chopping boards, you can donate them. Charity shops take utensils and pre-schools love plastic boards for rolling out ‘play doh’. My mum buys me a new tea towel each birthday – it’s kind of a tradition. They are a cool zero-waste present and we make sure we use tea towels for cleaning as well as drying pots and pans.
10) Cleaning – including your oven
I am thrilled with my home recipe for cleaner – it’s just cider vinegar in a mason jar with lemons. It works on everything. We also use a steam mop and no chemicals on our tiled floor. With the oven, I have an alarm that goes off on my phone once per month on a Sunday. This reminds me to give it a wipe and I use a mix of bicarb and my home-made cleaner.
Where to buy
As well as the links mentioned above, I’ve bought a few bits and bobs from UK online shop Plastic Freedom.
Plastic-free shops can be expensive but if you have your head in the green game you can often stumble across things in other places too. Good luck and let us know what you find to make your kitchen more green!