As I wrote yesterday, it’s impossible for us to know which plastics are absolutely safe to eat or drink from because plastics manufacturers do not disclose the chemicals added to their plastic products. So instead of taking a chance, I avoid plastic in the kitchen. I’ve replaced nearly all of my kitchen plastic with plastic-free alternatives, and I didn’t spend a fortune doing it.
Here are some of my favorite solutions:
1) Re-use glass jars for just about everything. Instead of discarding empty pasta sauce, peanut butter, or pickle jars in the recycle bin, use them to store foods in the cupboard, refrigerator, or even in the freezer. Yes, you can freeze glass jars as long as you follow two simple rules: don’t fill them up past the point where the neck starts to narrow and don’t subject them to extreme temperature differences.
Note: the metal lids of glass jars are lined inside with plastic, usually containing Bisphenol-A (BPA). But since it’s only on the top and not in contact with the food, I personally go ahead and use them.
2) For refrigerated leftovers that will be consumed fairly quickly, use the saucer-over-bowl method. Put the leftovers in the bowl and cover it with a plate or saucer. The nice thing is that you can stack more dishes and containers on top. No plastic wrap required.
3) Consider investing in some airtight stainless steel and airtight glass containers. They can be used for food storage as well as carrying lunch to school or work or bringing leftovers home from restaurants. Life Without Plastic’s large rectangular airtight containers are great for keeping bread fresh without plastic (just wrap it in a towel or cloth produce bag) or even storing whole blocks of cut cheese. They’re great in the freezer too.
4) Replace children’s foodware with stainless steel or glass options. Several online stores sell toddler and kids’ dishes made from stainless steel or tempered glass, which is touted as two and a half time stronger than regular glass. You can even find stainless steel baby bottles and sippy cups with medical-grade silicone nipples and spouts.
5) Try stainless steel popsicle molds and ice cube trays in the freezer.
6) Replace non-stick cookware like Teflon with stainless steel, cast iron, or tempered glass. I’m skeptical of some of the new “green” non-stick pans. By the way, replacing cookware doesn’t have to be expensive. Michael and I restocked our kitchen almost entirely from thrift stores.
7) Choose a plastic-free coffee maker. It doesn’t make sense to brew hot coffee in plastic that can leach chemicals. Consider a glass or stainless steel French press, or pour-through coffee makers like the porcelain one from Melitta or the glass one from Chemex.
8) Look for a blender with an all-glass pitcher instead of plastic. I love my Waring Pro blender because the glass pitcher doesn’t even have plastic in the bottom. And speaking of blenders…
Ask Vita-Mix to bring back the stainless steel pitchers for their blenders!
I love my Waring blender, but it’s not like the high speed blenders that can make hot soup or kneed dough. Right now, high speed blenders only come with plastic containers. But when Vita-Mix was first invented, it had a stainless steel pitcher, not plastic. Join me in asking Vita-Mix to bring back the stainless steel option for those of us who don’t want to make our smoothies or homemade baby food in plastic.
Please read more about the Vita-Mix campaign, sign the petition, and share with your friends!
Because when we have reduced our plastic as much as possible and realize there are still some products that don’t have plastic-free versions, it’s time to take action to ask companies to change. If we don’t speak up, who will?