Google+ Authentic Parenting: How to have a Plastic-Free Kitchen

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

How to have a Plastic-Free Kitchen

Written by Dani E.

Image source: TarteDuJour.com

When it comes to your kitchen, the last thing you want to find is toxic chemicals. Unfortunately, if you haven’t given it much thought, a quick search through your kitchen is likely to turn up more dangerous toxins than you realize. These harmful chemicals can leach their way into foods, tainting the meals you give your family. What culprit is introducing these dangerous chemical into your home? Plastic. Ever since World War II, plastic has been a staple in the production of food. It is cheap to produce, holds foods easily, and can even keep air from reaching your food and spoiling it. There is no arguing that plastic is a handy invention, but it comes with a cost. One thing you can do to protect your family against this silent intruder is to start where you make your food: in the kitchen. Here are some simple steps you can follow to have a kitchen that is completely free of plastic.

Shop at a Local Farmer’s Market 
Since so many foods are produced and packaged in plastic, shopping at your local farmer’s market is a great place to start. Farmer’s markets feature local vendors who grow fruits, vegetables, and nuts at local farms. If you see a vendor at a farmer’s market, you can almost be certain that the foods you are seeing will not be packaged and distributed across the country. Because of this, local farmers have little or no need for plastic. When you buy from a farmer’s market, you support local agriculture and can usually choose to take your food home in a plastic-free container. To find a local farmer’s market near you, just click here.

Make What You Can’t Buy Plastic-Free
For a lot of foods, you won’t be able to find containers that are not plastic. Condiments and snack foods like granola bars, pretzels, and chips are some common culprits. When you can’t buy these foods without buying plastic as well, you can easily make most of them. By making these foods, you get the added benefits of cutting out preservatives, which will help keep your family healthy.

Image source: HerbCo.com
Grow Your Own Herbs 
If you haven’t already realized the benefits of growing herbs from home, you are seriously missing out. When you grow herbs at home, you save money, cook with herbs that are as fresh as they come, and you can cut back on the amount of plastic in your home. As long as you have a window sill that gets light every day, you can grow an herb garden at home.

 Cheese: The Tricky One
Have you ever found a brand of cheese that doesn’t come packaged in plastic? If you have, let me know! Cheese that is not packaged in plastic is really hard to find because it can start to grow mold quickly. Because a lot of cheeses require a molding process to be made correctly, it makes sense that it can develop mold quickly. The amount of moisture in cheese is directly correlated with how quickly it spoils. Americans tend to enjoy moist cheeses more than dry cheeses, so it makes sense that most of our cheeses come in plastic packaging. One solution to this problem is to buy cheese wheels. It might sound like a radical solution, but if you lived in the Mediterranean region, you would realize how much better dry cheeses taste when they have had the chance to age. Since a lot of us don’t have space in our kitchen for a huge cheese wheel, you can always head out on your own to find a vendor that sells cheese without plastic. Your local farmer’s market might be a great place to start.

Image source: PublicRadioKitchen.wbur.org 
Buy Dairy in Glass Bottles 
When it comes to dairy products, you might have to do some shopping outside of the grocery store. You can sign up for a service that delivers fresh milk in glass bottles at the beginning of the week and picks up the bottles at the end of the week. This is a great solution because the glass bottles are used over and over, and there is no denying that recycling is a great way to save on wear and tear to the environment.

Store Food in Glass Jars or Stainless Steel Containers
When you have leftovers, store them in glass jars or in stainless steel containers. Remember, though, that food is not meant to keep for long periods of time. If your food lasts longer than a few weeks, it probably has a lot of preservatives. A good thing to remember is that the closer you buy to the ground, the shorter foods lasts. This isn’t a bad thing because these very foods that spoil quickly will provide you with the most nutrients and fewest calories.

 In your quest to make your home plastic-free, you might have to make some difficult changes. Even though it is hard to change your lifestyle (we are creatures of habit, after all!), it will definitely be worth it in the end. Your family will be healthier and so will our planet. Good luck!


About the author
Dani E. is a blogger at EcoMom.com who is a little in love with green living. She is a new parent, new Seattle resident, new vegetarian, and long-time runner who hopes to change the world—one blog post at a time.


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5 comments:

  1. What about cheese that is packaged in wax? It is usually not the standard kid-friendly cheese (and also costs more) but maybe that is a direction to head in?

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    1. that's an interesting idea... not sure why they wouldn't be kid friendly though. IN Europe they're mostly gouda-type cheeses...

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    2. True-- and my kids love any kind of gouda but we are kind of an atypical family so I am never sure about what others might eat. Wouldn't it be great if all cheeses were available in wax?

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    3. well, plenty of European cheeses don't really need wrapping, because their natural crusts protect them. It's even a bad idea to put anything around them. I think only the processed, not natural cheeses don't have any kind of natural protective crust.

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  2. Once again, a wonderful post. Keep posting dear...
    Chemicals

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