Issues of packaging, food waste and sustainable practises are complex, but here are some useful tips for cutting down on waste in your kitchen.
According to the latest figures from Wrap, by weight, household food waste makes up around 70% of the UK post-farm-gate total. They estimate that by cutting food waste, each household could save up to £700 per year as well as making less waste. More than one million tonnes of mixed plastics packaging from households are disposed of in the UK each year (excluding plastic bottles), but moves are being made to remedy this. Supermarkets are introducing ‘low plastic’ and ‘recyclable’ options and, in general, more online retailers are using recyclable packaging.
Want to cut down on binned ingredients? Read our best ever leftover recipes and our top tips on how to reduce food waste.
1. Swap cling film for… bees wax wrap
Why: Wraps such as bees’ are a natural, reusable alternative to single-use plastic that can be composted or cut into strips to make fire/barbecue lighters once they’ve worn out. You can also swap baking parchment for reusable liners. Washable tin liners should last a lifetime if used correctly.
2. Swap sandwich bags for… reusable food bags or plastic containers
Why: Stasher bags are airtight and leakproof, suitable for cooking in and freezing, and also 100% recyclable. Good quality plastic or glass containers should last a lifetime.
Check out our review of the best food storage containers.
3. Swap kitchen paper for… biodegradable cleaning cloths
Why: If You Care cloths are machine-washable and 100% biodegradable. Use instead of kitchen paper, then compost in your green waste. Mabu are made from wood fibre and are also 100% biodegradable. The dish brush is made with wood and horsehair and the head is replaceable.
4. Long-life containers
Love your leftovers and make good use of storage containers. If you have a set already, don’t replace them. If you don’t, check out our review of the best storage containers to box up your favourite meals and make them go further.
Worried about food waste? Learn how to compost food at home and what system might work best for you.
Other useful kitchen tips…
Plan ahead Create a plan for what you’re eating each week so you’re not buying produce you don’t need. See our handy family meal plan guide to get started.
Reuse Paper bags are often cited as a better option than plastic but can have a high carbon footprint, so while they will degrade, producing them comes at a cost to the planet. Reusing plastic bags that already exist, again and again, can have less impact.
Don’t over-buy There’s no point buying lots of reusable cups, bottles and bags unless you use them often. It takes a lot of uses to offset the materials and carbon used to make them.
Want more green cooking tips? Read our eco-friendly guides…
Best reusable coffee cups – on test
10 tips for reducing your single-use plastic waste
10 ways to trash the plastic
What are your green kitchen swaps? Leave a comment below…