Live to eat or eat to live? Either way, the common denominator there is that all of us still have to eat. Food’s a necessity, but purchasing, cooking, storing, and consuming food all comes with so much waste! Eliminating the waste from this component of our daily lives can make a huge difference when it comes to reducing our impact on the environment. Thus, this week, we’re focused on everything food!
In our previous blog post, we briefly touched on some of the ways you can grocery shop without the plastic. Shopping plastic-free is a great start, but you’ll realise soon after that it isn’t always that simple. Leftovers from a meal, that half an onion or lemon, loose herbs and condiments -- these are just some of the things that can lead us to reach for that zip-lock bag or cling wrap to store them.
Many of us have been using these tools all our lives and have never known of any alternatives. Well, here are some eco-friendly alternatives to help you get rid of those single-use plastics!
Source: Sustomi (Australia)
Essentially, Beeswax wraps are just cloth covered in mainly beeswax and other ingredients such as jojoba oil, coconut oil or pine resin. They act pretty much like cling foil, as the wax melts and seals itself around the container/food with your body heat from your hands, making it completely airtight. The best part? They’re reusable, entirely compostable, and not to mention, carry some pretty funky designs too.
Beeswax wraps can be used to wrap up the half of that lemon that you didn’t use, cover a bowl of leftover soup, or even as a snack bag to wrap your bread or curry puff in. It’s entirely pliable and molds to the shape that you require it to. After usage, all you need is to quickly rinse it with water and mild dishwashing soap, hang them to dry, and they’re good to go all over again! When it becomes less tacky after about a year, it can be refurbished with a bar of beeswax.
You can easily purchase these wraps online or at our pop ups and The Kain Projects Sg where our wraps are made by ladies from marginalized and low-income families in Malaysia. If for any reason you can’t or don’t wish to purchase them, you can just as easily make your own with this recipe.
Source: Berry Stock
These wraps come in a variety of sizes and stretch across the container, creating an airtight seal. They work with an assortment of materials including stainless steel, porcelain, glass, plastic, and earthenware.
Additionally, since they’re made of silicone, this means they are heat-proof. Thus, you can easily cover your leftovers and place the whole bowl into the microwave should it need re-heating. These wraps eliminate not just the need for single-use plastic too, it can even reduce your need for aluminium foil. Simply cover the baking tray (and whatever you are roasting) with a silicone wrap, and chuck the whole thing in the oven!
Being temperature-resistant also allows for easy washing in the dishwasher if you have one. If not, a simple rinse and soap will do the trick. Again, you can easily find these lids online on Amazon or even Taobao. Just make sure you ensure that they are made of food-grade silicone!
Source: The Green Head
Silicone lids are very similar to the wraps with just one exception -- since they tend to be more rigid than the beeswax or silicone wraps, they enable you to stack the bowls/containers as long as they aren’t too heavy. Depending on your needs, you can invest in just one of them, or perhaps even both! After all, it’s a one-time purchase that will last you for years to come.
Reusable Food Bags
Source: Cuisine & Ustensiles
Silicone food bags, like the one shown above, have all the benefits of silicone wraps/lids that we talked about before. In fact, these bags can serve as take-out bags too, since they can store liquids without any leakage. If lunch boxes are too bulky for you to bring out regularly, this will be a great alternative!
Reusable food bags come in other materials as well, including cotton and canvas cloth, among others. They all come with different properties to suit your needs, so do some research and find the ones that are ideal for you living situation.
Mason Jars and Airtight Containers
I’m sure these containers are no stranger to you! They are easily available and are great for storing any loose food items that you have at home. These are great for staples like rice, flour, sugar, and the likes. Buy in bulk (from The Zero Ways perhaps?) and constantly refill these containers for an organised and zero waste home.
Photo by Denise Johnson on Unsplash
Going zero waste is a lifestyle change, and as with any lifestyle change, it’ll take time, effort, and some money to get started. First, use whatever you already have at home, but if one needs to be replaced, the products we’ve suggested would make a good eco-friendly alternative. We’ve been conditioned to live a life where convenience and single-use plastics are prevalent, but they are definitely replaceable. These products are here to help you get started. Fret not! In the long run, these changes will help save not just the Earth, but also a ton of money.