A pretty plastic-free kitchen

Plastic-free July is almost over, but the purpose of amazing campaigns like this one is that we can discover how rewarding it is to build better habits and to realise that ditching single-use plastic is not even that hard! So if you had a plastic-free goal for July and succeeded on it, when August comes, you almost won’t notice that you keep doing better, you will just feel better.

Our kitchen is moving towards zero plastic

I recently worked on a project visualising data from plastics affecting the oceans. The more scientific papers I read, the more helpless and hopeless I felt. We currently have more people generating plastic waste than people or laws helping to clean up the mess, and the mess is already at tragic levels. Pretending that it’s not too bad and that it’s not affecting me seems easier than fighting the good fight. I kept doing research and kept thinking there’s no way out.

If we live far from the ocean it might be not so clear to see the impact, but it all affects us. For example, when plastics break down they get into our food chain, so if you eat fish or any sea creature, even oysters, chances are really high you're eating plastic too. And marine life plays a relevant role in the homeostasis of the planet’s wellbeing.

After a deep feeling of hopelessness, I finally realised that I wasn’t going to change anything doing more research (which was just more proof of how bad it is), I needed to pause and switch focus towards solutions.

I wasn't going to change anything, no matter how much research I did, unless I start switching focus towards solutions.

The first step was changing mindset to being hopeful. I needed to believe that there’s at least a small chance that what I do, from avoiding plastics and picking up trash, to helping people convert to solution-makers, would improve things. I therefore wish to share some hope at this end of plastic-free-July so that we don't stop our efforts, and if any of us might be a little late, starting now is still awesome, because we need to believe we're not too late... yet.

So let’s turn July into August, and August into September and so on… until one beautiful day we realise no plastic waste is ending up in the sea and we don't even need that much plastic anymore.

Other zero-plastic home stuff that has changed how we shop

Ditching plastic for more mindful eating

It is hard to estimate the actual percentage, but food and drink related plastic waste accounts for the majority of the total plastics found in the ocean. Yes, there are other important sources of plastic that harm us humans, mostly those we don't even think about like our clothes. Synthetic fabrics little by little wash and fall out, becoming part of the air we breathe. But that's a story for a different blog. Let's get back to food and to what we can all easily do!

Depending on where you live some things will be easy, some a bit less, but we humans are all amazingly creative by nature so no matter the circumstances, it's always possible to make impactful changes. Besides, we need to remember popular plastics have only been around for less than 70 years!!! So if lacking ideas, turn to the wise elder.

The basics

1. Ditch single-use

You may already know this, but most coffee cups out there are not just paper and therefore can’t be recycled. Besides, more than 70% of big cities recyclable waste do not make it to the recycling chain and instead contribute to what ends up in the oceans.

The simplest changes can be the most impactful! Single-use cups, plates, and cutlery are the easiest way to improve things. They are absurdly easy to avoid, and they make most of the daily waste in big cities.

So if you drink coffee, tea, bubble tea, or even water on the go. Get a pretty keep-cup that makes you feel good and fashionable. They usually also help your drink taste better than with plastified-paper cups. Here’s a good article to help you choose. I own one large and one small cup myself, the large one from Society6 and the small is a stoke, and I’m pretty happy with both!

It might feel funny in the beginning to bring your own container to your takeaway favourite lunch place, and if they’re not used to it they might not even welcome it. But businesses have to be educated and you, as a customer, have all the power to do this. So let’s be brave. When a place doesn’t accept my reusable container, I simply say thanks and walk to the next business, it’s my choice. For beautiful and eco-friendly bento or lunch containers, and cutlery you can check out Seed&Sprout which ships to many countries or in stores like Ethicworld, Biome or Zwoice in Europe.

Every material has an impact, so you might want to do a bit of research when you pick your long-term food or beverage container, but in general, less than a month of replacing single-use will already be positive.

2. Take your time, eat in

Research shows that sitting down and relaxing while eating/drinking helps your guts and long term health. So when possible, sit down and drink your coffee or eat your lunch at the cafe or restaurant instead of doing takeaway. Of course this means you need to do a tiny effort on picking places that do not sell single use for consuming in.

3. Farmers markets and local specialised stores

The comfort of big supermarkets is tempting and yes, sometimes they save our lives. But with just a bit of planning we can get so much better ingredients from a local market and while helping farmers, we get tastier, healthier food. But of course the best part is that it’s so much easier to avoid plastic packaging! You can bring jars or reusable bags for almost anything, from fruits to nuts and bread.

Check your local markets and put it in your calendar. Plan it ahead and browse some seasonal recipes beforehand to make sure you bring home what you actually need and avoid food waste. If you do buy too much or are missing something that maybe a neighbour could help with, we’re thinking of how our future eatups app can help with this. If food sharing is something that makes you tick, chat with us please!

4. Your own home-grown herbs

Many herbs are actually super easy to grow even in small apartments. Some might take a little practice, but usually they just need good light, water, and like we all do, a bit of love. So keep them next to a window and don’t forget to use them when you cook.

Herbs are some of the most plastic-packaged foods, because they are not easy to keep fresh. But they can also be the easiest and quickest to grow. So I really recommend you to give it a go. Besides, growing plants is also a beautiful and truly mindful activity.

5. Less meat & dairy

If you eat vegetarian, or even better, vegan, you are already doing a big help to the planet by reducing large amounts of greenhouse emissions. And you’re probably also helping with reducing plastic waste if you buy fresh from farmers, eat less processed food, and bring your own bags and containers when shopping. But we also understand that strict plant-based diets are not easy or even possible for some, and in this case, reducing the amount of packaged products that are usually meet, dairy, and processed foods, is already a huge improvement, and it is usually also great for your health!

Eating less products directly or indirectly from cattle or ruminant animals is good for everyone. Meat, especially sausages and cold cuts are big plastic enthusiasts, but they also impact our wellbeing, as most recommended diets mark them as pretty unhealthy. So in this case less is good.

Now we are ready to say goodbye to plastic-free July, but we’re ready and excited to say hello to more plastic-free food adventures!