There are 4 main reasons why you should use reusable kitchen products:
- Better for the environment
- Saves money in the long run
- Safer materials
- Nicer to use!
The latter three points are probably ones you could compromise on, if single-use products are more convenient. But better for the environment? Surely you'd be more inclined to change your ways to save the planet! Here are some of our helpful tips on where you can swap out some of your single-use products for reusable items in the kitchen.
Paper towels, like any paper product, are made from trees. This means that with each use of a paper towel, you're effectively using the inside of a tree to wipe down your surfaces. Not to mention, when you dispose of paper towels, they go straight to the landfill. Yes, they might be biodegradable, but each towel probably takes about a year to do so, which means that we use paper towels faster than they biodegrade: the waste is building up, causing pollution.
Instead of using paper towels, you could use:
- Cotton paperless towels
- Flour sack towels
- Rags - made out of old clothing or bed sheets
More than 1.2 billion metres of cling film is used across Britain each year. This is enough to go around the circumference of the world 30 times over! Cling film is hard to recycle so it nearly always ends up in a landfill after its first use. Cling film takes hundreds of years to degrade and oxo-degradable cling film just degrade into smaller and smaller particles, contributing to marine pollution. Cling film that doesn't degrade properly before being released into the ocean can be confused for jellyfish by marine life, leading to the choking of sea life that feeds on them.
- Bee's wrap
- Reusable bowl covers
- Silicone bowl lids
Simply put, dish sponges are made from plastics which means they're not biodegradable and can have a similar impact on the environment as cling film.
Use these instead:
- Wool scouring pads
- Cellulose dish cloths
Another single-use plastic item. Imagine how similar to jellyfish these look while floating in the ocean! Plastic freezer sandwich bags don't really decompose in a landfill, and when reaching the ocean they can harm aquatic life! When they're used only once, they're seriously bad for the environment, but still aren't great even when you re-use them due to their short life - sooner or later they're going to tear.
Instead, try using these more robust alternatives:
- Reusable food storage bags
- Silicone storage bags
- Linen bread bags (for when you want to keep your bread safe - would not recommend freezing these!)
- Reusable lunch & snack bags (also known as food skins!)
Plastic straws may have received the most attention in Save-the-Planet media, and rightly so - they're treacherous for our sea life! No doubt you've seen videos of turtles with straws stuck in their noses circulate your social media feeds. Well here are some alternatives you can use to avoid buying single-use plastic straws in the ocean:
- Stainless steel straws
- Glass straws
- Straws made from spaghetti (yes, these are a thing and they're AWESOME!)
- No straw?
It's all well and good (nearly) if we recycle as much as we can and only throw out items that have no other place to go. But have you considered what happens to your bin bags? Well, think of them as normal plastic bags, just bigger, then you'll have more of an idea.
Here's what you can do about them:
- You could resist using them altogether and just wash out your bin afterwards - to reduce the 'bin smell', separate food scraps for composting!
- A degradable bag is better than a normal plastic bin bag, but they're not as effective as our previous suggestion as they still reach the landfill.