Episode 3: Reducing plastic waste - kitchen
Intro: Welcome back to 1000 Ways Green! The show where we are going to give busy people like you easy ways to help save the planet for our future generations.
This week’s episode is continuing our series into looking at how to remove plastic from our lives and the planet, this week we are focusing on the kitchen. Now onto this week’s three things you can do:
Mint Green level: Stop buying tissues & dish towels. If you’re anything like my household there are plenty of T-shirts to go around. Anytime we get a stain on a shirt that we can’t get out or it becomes damaged in some way I lie the shirt down flat and take a scissor to the sleeves. When those are cut off they make a large tissue size piece of cloth. The rest of the shirt can be cut into strips for more tissues or can be cut below the neck to make 2 kitchen dish towels. The benefit here is threefold. 1. They are thick enough I can often blow my nose in there more than once before it is unusable (plus they are usually softer than most tissue brands in the store). 2. When you’re done you just need to throw it in the laundry and it will all wash out, which is way less water than it takes to make tissues, not to mention the emissions for shipping them to the store and you driving to go get them… and 3. By reusing these you’ll be saving money on your grocery bill. My family hasn’t bought tissues in almost 2 years because of this!
My other easy waste reduction option for you is to replace your paper towels with cloth paper towels like the ones linked here. My family bought a 24 pack similar to this over a year ago and still have 22 of them in good shape and we use them for cleaning up messes, napkins, you name it. The fact that it has been a year of spending almost no money on paper towels is a win for our budget and the planet. Now you might be saying “Wait a second Patrick, tissues and paper towels don’t have any plastic in them…” and you’d be right. And ignoring the fact that you can’t recycle tissues or paper towels (that’s a whole different issue), almost all tissue companies still have that thin plastic inner layer inside the boxes where you pull out the tissues that can’t be recycled and goes into our landfills and almost no paper towels come without plastic wrap around them. That is where the plastic win comes in here.
Shamrock green level: Maybe you live in a place that was smart enough to ban plastic straws or single use plastics, if so that’s amazing! However, I still live where it is very much the norm. So I decided it was best to buy a set of reusable straws to keep in the glovebox of each of our cars so I could grab them anytime we go out to a restaurant before the waitstaff can come stick a plastic straw in our beverages. Therefore the straws don’t get used, the turtles and other marine life don’t eat them and create microplastics and we don’t endanger the next generation of marine life!
If you want to step it up slightly you can go for the combination travel bamboo silverware set with a straw and brush all combined in one! Buy a couple of those to have with you and you’ll never need to use plastic silverware or straws when doing a drive-thru or a restaurant again. Links to both of the options I like are in the show notes.
Forest green level: Replace your plastic (and glass) cups with stainless steel cups. I bought a set of 4 stainless steel cups last year and since that time we have broken 6 plastic drinking cups, 4 wine glasses and 2 glass tumblers. The stainless steel ones have withstood everything we’ve thrown at them. Their only downside is you can’t put really hot things in them, but that is what vacuum thermos type cups are for. The other great replacement we recently made was exchanging our standard Tupperware for glass or stainless steel Tupperware. Same deal as above, I like the glass ones so you can see what is in them but they have that chance of breaking and ours still have some plastic for the covers. Now the cost of these cups and steel Tupperware is a bit pricey, but think of how many glass containers you’ll have to pay for and how long these will last. In the long run with all these products, not only are you helping rid the world of plastic but also saving your wallet.
Thanks for listening, if you like what you heard I, (and the planet) would be extremely grateful if you would recommend it to a friend or share on social media what you’re doing with the hashtag #1000waysgreen. That's it for this week, as always be green and be seen.
Links from the show: