Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Green Kitchen | Part 1 Disposing of Disposables

Alright, here's a new weekly series for you guys. I've been trying to green up my kitchen habits in the last few years. The purpose is to be better to the planet, better for our health and happily...better for the wallet (how else would I be able to support my fair trade chocolate habit?)

Today's mission? Cutting down on the trash. There's a few ways to do this but we're going to focus on things that are single use or replaced frequently.

Paper Towel:

I haven't bought paper towels for almost three years. And I haven't even noticed! For clean ups and spills I use rags (usually old dishcloths that aren't so pretty anymore). I keep a bucket to toss used rags into and throw it in the wash as needed. I also have a couple old tea towels that I use to put things like falafel and bacon to absorb the extra fat. Windows get a microfiber cloth.

Plastic Wrap: This was a bit trickier. For some things I use tinfoil, then I reuse the tinfoil a couple times and can recycle it in the end. For some things (like to cover a plate or bowl) I use grocery produce bags...I am planning on getting cloth ones at some point but for now I just try to wash and reuse them (I shake them out and then hang to dry from magnets on my range hood. Sexy). I used to use plastic wrap to cover my rising bread, now I use a damp teatowel. You can also use waxpaper for somethings, as it's compostable.

Plastic Containers: I know some people use old yogurt etc. containers for leftovers, but I have to be able to see what's in them or it dies slowly in the fridge/freezer. I used to use the gladware/ziplock dealies but they don't last forever and you have to worry about plastic and microwaving and whatnot. I have a set of glass containers (some pyrex and some anchorware) with BPA free plastic lids. I love these, they are microwave and oven safe. They don't stain or harbour smells. They're a good size for taking to work. They seal pretty well. Good times.

Cook from Scratch!:
You can buy things in reusable bulk bags and things like natural honey come in nice glass jars. You end up throwing out waaay less packaging.

I also have reusable straws, cloth napkins and placemats. Not only are these reusable, they are way nicer and sooo cute!

What I can't seem to get rid of? Ziplocks! Any advice for me there? What disposable product are you addicted to?