Since the rise of its creation and popularity in the 1930s, plastic has infiltrated nearly every facet of our lives. Look around you right now and take stock of how many items made of plastic can be seen in your immediate vicinity. Your computer and mouse? The water bottle sitting nearby? Perhaps even the chair you’re perched upon? From toothbrushes to laundry baskets, plastic has made a place for itself in nearly every home in the western hemisphere . Though it certainly has its benefits—cheap, lightweight, fairly easy to clean—it’s also a rather toxic material that oozes BPA and phthalates, which have rather nasty effects on one’s own health and the health of the planet.
Many people are choosing to veer away from synthetic, man-made materials to embrace the natural ones used by our forebears, and one of the rooms in which one can say goodbye to plastics forever is the kitchen.
If you’re so inclined and feel a need to stretch your legs for a moment, take a quick walk to your kitchen and take stock of how much plastic is in there. The average person will have several pieces, including food storage containers, drawer dividers, and cooking implements such as spatulas or ladles. Dig a bit deeper and one might find plastic placemats, dishware, ice cube trays, and pet food dishes. If you have children, chances are that there’s a set of plastic dishware and cutlery for their use as well. There are substitutes for all of these that won’t exude “ick” into living spaces (or bodies!), and won’t pick up all those weird stains and old food odours like plastic tends to do.
Glass and metal are your friends. Consider replacing plastic containers used for pasta, coffee, and other dried goods with lidded glass jars: there’s a plethora of stylish alternatives out there, and you can also re-use pickle jars and the like for storage once you’ve washed them. Wooden spoons and spatulas are easy to clean, and copper or stainless steel serving-ware is both attractive and hygienic. Wood-and-bristle scrub brushes are fantastic, and it’s fairly easy to find cotton dish cloths to use in lieu of synthetics. Ditch the plastic cutting boards in favour of wooden ones, which are naturally antibacterial and super-easy to clean using salt and lemon, and store your liquid dish soap in recycled glass bottles like the ones used as oil and vinegar dispensers.
If you’re feeling really ambitious, you can also replace those little-thought-of plastic thingers with more eco-friendly ones. How many of us have plastic straws strewn about in drawers that we might use once or twice and then throw away? What about plastic measuring cups? There are steel, glass, and ceramic options to replace all of these, and they’re not only better for the planet, they’re really quite stylish too.
Cutting Plank: Grassroots | Cutlery Organiser: Amazon | Scrub Brush: Redecker | Glass Storage: Houzz | Soap: Kitchenisms | Children’s Utensils: Live Without Plastic | Food Storage: My Plastic-Free Life | Ice Cube Tray: Little Acorns to Mighty Oaks
Non-plastic items can be used to decorate your space as well. Ceramic jars are both useful and trendy (and can also be endearingly hideous, like an owl cookie jar that strikes terror into the hearts of visitors…), and an outing to a local thrift store might introduce you to an abundance of pretty glassware just aching to be displayed. A plastic-free kitchen is a healthy, happy kitchen… just ensure that you also dispose of all the unwanted bits responsibly.