A quick peep into any regular kitchen, reminds us of the 90s hit song, “I’m a Barbie girl, in a Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s Fantastic.”
Yes, our kitchens today resemble a plastic world, right out of Barbie’s playhouse. From food storage containers to utensils and cutlery, food packaging to our trash bins – plastic has taken over every single nook and cranny of our kitchens.
But, the sad truth here is that – A plastic world isn’t fantastic but TOXIC.
We’re sure that you would be aware of the harmful environmental impacts of plastic that end up polluting our natural resources.
But, what about the health impacts of plastic?
Chemical additives used in plastic packaging leak into your food and end up in your body. Chemicals interfere with the body’s functions and add to the toxic build up in the body. A toxic body is the single largest reason for all illnesses and diseases. Scientists are uncovering that BPA, Phthalates, Styrene – all chemicals present in plastic – are the reason for a wide variety of health problems like cancer, birth defects, infertility, childhood development, immune system suppression to name a few.
And, not to mention the lack of regulation in the usage of plastics in kitchens and the confusing terminologies – food grade, freezer safe, dishwasher safe, microwave safe, grade 1, 3, 5 and so on – how do you even ensure that the plastic you’re holding in your hand is safe, and not a toxic chemical that is leaching poisonous stuff into your food?
Well, one simple way is to – get rid of all plastic from your kitchen. We can hear you asking, is that even possible? Here, we give you the complete guide to eliminating plastics in your kitchen, one step at a time. Roll up your sleeves; it’s time for action!
A Roadmap to Turning your Kitchen a Plastic-free Zone
Step 1 – Take a Plastic Audit of your Kitchen
Yes, this is a lengthy and time-consuming process. But, it’s worth it. Pick a notepad and pen and jot down all plastic you can find in your kitchen. Start with a single shelf and move further. We recommend that you do this on a weekend so you can complete the chore uninterrupted and without feeling rushed.
If you can get your partner or a friend to help you out, then bring them onboard. After all, an extra pair of hands sure helps to get the task done quicker.
Step 2 – Look for Natural & Safe Alternatives
Here, we give you alternatives to commonly used plastics in the kitchen. This list is in no way exhaustive but will help you get started.
Food Storage and Packed Lunches– Instead, of fancy plastic Tupperware containers, opt for traditional stainless steel dabbas, glass and wood containers. For packing hot meals, ditch those Tupperware containers and foil boxes (yes, these have a thin plastic lining, that makes them harmful, especially while storing hot foods). Instead, pick stainless steel lunch boxes from LunchBots and other such brands.
Fridge bags – Ditch the Ziploc baggies and use bags made from natural fibers like cotton and jute, to store your veggies and fruits in the refrigerator.
Avoid cling wrap – This is another nasty piece of plastic that comes directly in contact with hot foods. Beeswax wrap is an excellent alternative. The best part – you can reuse it again and again.
Water bottles – It’s a common practice to store water in plastic bottles. Instead, switch to stainless steel or glass bottles. Copper bottles are another great alternative. Several studies prove that drinking water stored in copper bottles and pots is beneficial for your health in many ways.
Skip the supermarket – Shop at your local kirana stores and farmer’s market, to pick fresh produced goods without plastic packaging. This is also lighter on your wallet and boosts your overall health, as you stay away from harmful processed foods.
Reusable shopping bags – Switch to cloth, jute or recycled fiber bags that can be reused again and again. Take these bags when you go shopping, thereby putting an end to single-use plastic bags in your kitchen.
Buy unpackaged food – One of the biggest sources of plastics in the kitchen is food wrapping. All pre-packaged food from flour to biscuits, oil to condiments, everything comes in plastic wrapping. Today, you can find stores that sell groceries sans packaging. You take in your own containers and get your supplies refilled. While this may seem like an extra chore, the immense benefits of eliminating plastic from your kitchen are worth the minor hassles.
Replace plastic utensils – Say no to the free plastic cutlery – spoons, forks, and knives – that come with takeaways and food delivery. Always use stainless steel cutlery. And ditch your plastic spatulas and opt for stainless steel or wooden. The same applies to measuring cups and spoons. Opt for stainless steel or glass.
No to non-stick pans – The non-stick coating (Teflon) in your frying pan is nothing but another form of plastic. Instead, opt for cast iron or ceramic pans, pots, and tawas.
Bin bags – You can easily make a bin liner using a few sheets of newspaper. And, if you’re into composting, then make sure to segregate your wet and dry waste.
DIY Dishwasher Soap – This is another place where plastic creeps into our kitchen. Instead, of purchasing dishwashing soaps in plastic bottles, you can make your own dishwashing soap at home using kitchen leftovers. Called as “bio-enzyme,” this is a safe and effective cleaning ingredient. The best part – it eliminates plastics as well as the toxins present in commercial cleaning solutions. The bio-enzyme can also be used for wiping your kitchen counters and other surfaces in your kitchen.
Ditch the Sponge: The sponge in your kitchen is made of plastic. Instead of disposing of one every few weeks, choose a decomposable dish brush made from coconut coir or other such natural fibres.
Step 3 – Aim for Progress & Not Perfection
Unless you have a magic wand or a fairy godmother to help you, eliminating all plastics in your kitchen in a single day isn’t possible.
Remember in your mission of eliminating plastics from your kitchen, always aim for progress and not perfection. Don’t be disheartened if you don’t see success right away. Even a single straw, a single coffee cup removed is a success.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, start small. As a first step, eliminate single-use plastics – water bottles, plastic cutlery, straws, coffee cups, soda bottles, plastic bags, etc. Once you’ve done that, take the next step – try going plastic free for 30 days at a stretch. Even if a few plastics sneak in, don’t worry. Keep going, and one fine day, you’ll surely have turned your kitchen into a plastic-free wellness zone.
Let's make the planet plastic-free. One Kitchen at A Time.
Disclaimer: The health journeys, blogs, videos and all other content on Wellcure is for educational purposes only and is not to be considered a ‘medical advice’ ‘prescription’ or a ‘cure’ for diseases. Any specific changes by users, in medication, food & lifestyle, must be done under the guidance of licensed health practitioners. The views expressed by the users are their personal views and Wellcure claims no responsibility for them.