Plastic Free Kitchen Essentials - top tips and top picks!
Whether you are just starting your plastic free journey or are looking for more ways to reduce the use of plastic in your life, starting with the kitchen can be one of the easiest ways to make that change. As with all areas of your life, this is a mission to REDUCE plastics and single-use plastics rather than remove completely, which at this point in the UK in February 2021 seems very nearly impossible; we should try to make little steps to reduce plastics to help our environment and the health of our families, but there is still so much to be done in the food / produce supply chains... for the majority of us it’ll be a long time before our kitchens are truly ‘plastic-free’. BUT! What we can do is start making little changes, immediately, that will improve the health of our loved ones.
I’m beginning to plan for Pancake Day on Tuesday this week (see bottom of this blog post for my fav pancake recipe!!), and this meal planning got me thinking about the ways in which I try to reduce my plastic consumption in my own kitchen.
My Plastic Free Kitchen Top Tips!
- STORE things in your fridge or freezer in JAM JARS - if you read my blog regularly, you’ll know how much I love a jam jar! It’s brilliant to reuse them as safe storage for foods, and in many cases storing food in jars can extend shelf life too. Avoid storing foods or liquids at all costs in plastic containers (think, for example, of those plastic pots from a take away restaurant) - they can leach really nasty chemicals into foods, and it’s to be avoided! Some tins / cans can do the same thing. Read more here - https://plasticfree.baby/pages/a-case-for-plastic-free
- SERVE foods and drinks in bowls or cups made from natural materials. Again, relating to the ‘toxic leaching’ issue (see above link to blog), it’s always best to stick with glass or ceramics, for instance, for eating and drinking from. My son, from 6 months old, drank from an actual glass cup, with my assistance - he never broke one! It is possible! And it’s so much better than plastic tippy cups which are a concern, again, due to the chemical leaching issue.
- PRESERVE what you can’t eat (and preserve in aforementioned jam jars!) - I often slightly adapt my meal plans for the week, and so this can throw out what has been used and unused in the fridge in particular. I find that by preserving fruit and veg in particular - in jams, soups to go in the freezer, fruit leathers, syrups, and so on - can mean that you waste so much less food. A lot of fruits will actually freeze really well too, for use in cooking / smoothies / and so on. When babies are small and weaning, it’s such a wasteful time for food anyway (being chucked all over the floor with glee usually!!), so it’s nice to find a way to avoid as much food waste as possible.
- BUY as many items as you possibly can from the shops without plastic bags / packaging… Like most people I suspect, I’m not in a position to be able to do my weekly shop at a plastic free grocery shop (partly because I don’t live close enough to one, and partly because it is out of my budget), so where I possibly can I make sure that I choose items such as fruit and veg with no packaging, and put them into my shopping basket loose - it’s never a problem at check-out, you just have to make sure you give them a good wash before using. I also try to find as many items as I can in jars rather than tins or plastic pouches (again, due to toxin leaching into the foods), and the recyclability of the waste.
- BUDGET for one or two special plastic free items that you use a lot of. In our house, my son drinks a lot of milk (which I encourage due to all of the health-giving benefits). Although we are on a tight budget, I manage to make an allowance for being delivered milk and yoghurt in glass jars to my doorstep. Yes, it is a splurge in some senses, but in others I feel like it is safeguarding myself and my son, as the liquid hasn’t sat in plastic containers risking the toxin leach of the plastic, and secondly I feel that we’d otherwise have a great deal more plastic waste every week to put to into our recycling bin: there are no guarantees when you put things in your recycling bin, that they won’t just end up burnt or put in landfill… so best to limit & reduce what you put in there in the first place.
- MAKE from scratch - It really really really helps our single-use plastic footprint AND our budget, if I make our meals and snacks from scratch. It may seem obvious, but the more that your situation permits you to do this, the better. As a busy, single, working mum, I totally understand that this isn’t always possible, but where you can, it will make a HUGE difference. I’ve had fun experimenting with different recipes, and now I’m finding great joy in sharing doing these experiments with my son too! We love to bake together, and I think it possibly makes him less of a fussy eater too, as he’s seeing what goes into his meals, and is making alongside me.
- REUSE plastic free cloths and wipes - it has saved me a small fortune by not having to buy packets upon packets of wet wipes for wipe ups after dinner. For sticky hands and faces, reusable face and hand cloths work brilliantly, and are actually so much more effective in cleaning than a slippery wet wipe. I stick all the dirty ones in a bucket, and wash on a hot wash all at once, and, after 3 years now, they are still going great guns. In fact now my son even grabs one for his own hands now! Paper free reusable wipes are brilliant in place of kitchen roll too.
- WASH with plastic free soaps for hands and detergents for clothes, where you possibly can, and use those that are made from natural ingredients and are non-toxic.
My Plastic Free Kitchen Top Picks:
Here are some plastic-free kitchen best sellers from my Plastic Free Baby shop...
Plastic Free Baby Weaning Gift Set
If you are struggling to find completely plastic free accessories for weaning your baby when they turn 6 months, then this set is perfect for you! It is 100% plastic free and biodegradable too, which is a win-win for you and the environment! It includes two bio-plastic cups and cutlery perfect for mixing small quantities of food. It also comes with two reusable baby wipes which are essential for cleaning up. The set can be wrapped up in the natural cotton Plastic Free Baby tote bag making it so easy and efficient to grab on the go.
With a few extras, this baby weaning bumper set is everything you need for weaning your baby! In addition to the bioplastic and biodegradable cutlery, cups and reusable baby wipes, this set includes a washable feeding bib made out of organic cotton. It also includes a 100% cotton muslin wrap which is ideal for cleaning up as it is highly absorbent and durable and also super soft!
Consider getting yourself a little ‘to go’ set of plastic-free items for when you are on the move, such as this plastic-free bottle or flask for water, coffee or tea. This bamboo flask is made of stainless steel and bamboo which is perfect for keeping your drink warm! It also comes with its own detachable metal tea infuser. Another to go item to purchase when making the switch is plastic free utensils and lunchboxes. These bamboo sporks and lunchboxes are perfect for on the go for you and your child! Since they are plastic free, you can make sure that no toxins are leaching onto your food.
Plastic Free Baby Meals Set
Are you looking for a baby meal set? Here is a perfect plastic free baby meal set. It includes a selection of eco-friendly products which will be perfect for feeding your little one. The set includes a handcrafted ceramic baby weaning bowl which has a perfect size that will fit in your hand as you feed. It also includes a beautiful muslin feeding bib which is made from organic cotton and is stylish at the same time. Additionally, there are 2 reusable bamboo cotton wipes made from 50% Bamboo and 50% Cotton; reusable wipes are a must for any plastic free kitchen. It also contains a soft muslin cloth which is silky smooth on your child’s skin, so your children will feel happy and comfortable while wiping their face and hands (often a wriggly experience, at the best of times!).
Plastic Free Soap & Soap Dish Gift Set
Washing little hands with plastic-free bar soaps is such a quick win as you move toward your plastic free kitchen goal. This soap Chamomile Flower & Oatmeal Castile Vegan Mummy & Baby Soap is 100% vegan, 100% free from plastic free packaging and free from toxic chemicals, palm oil, SLS and parabens. It sits beautifully upon a hand-crafted soap dish, made with a stylish oatmeal glaze, and made by an artisan ceramicist by hand.
This is a colorful and unique meal set to your baby. It is 100% plastic free, eco-friendly and made of natural materials. The set includes 2 biodegradable bioplastic cups. These cups are totally made of BIOplastic, made of renewable raw materials such as corn, beetroot and switchgrass. The cutlery is a perfect size of fork and spoon for your child, and my son loves his purple ones! He is still using them aged 3 years. This set also includes a handcrafted ceramic baby weaning bowl that is a perfect size for weaning and first meals, and it can be used for different types of baby food such as small selections of fruit, veg, or purees and porridge.
With Pancake Day coming up very soon, here is my favourite pancake recipe (from none other than lovely Nigella Lawson) and what better way to celebrate than by making this celebration completely plastic free with these plastic free kitchen essentials.
Shrove Tuesday Pancake Recipe:
Makes 6x20cm crepes
30g unsalted butter, melted, plus more for frying
150g plain flour
Melt butter and let cool a little.
Pour the flour, milk and egg into a blender and blend until all ingredients are mixed.
Pour into a bowl and stir in melted butter.
Heat a buttered crepe pan and ladle 2-3 tablespoons of batter into the pan then quickly hold it up and swirl the pan to create a thin pancake to cover the base of the pan.
Cook for 30 seconds to a minute on each side.
Continue with the rest of the batter.
Enjoy crepes filled or empty, reheat very well in a microwave.
Thanks for reading.
What plastic free kitchen hacks do you have?
Are you a big fan of jam jars like me?!
Tell me more about your plastic free kitchen below… I’d love to hear from you.
Founder of Plastic Free Baby