The Planet-Friendly Kitchen is a sweet little guide on how to run a zero-waste kitchen and shop with a conscience. With resources stretched to the limit, nature suffers unless we change our food and shopping habits. If you feel you are bombarded with mixed messages, this book can help.
Before cooking, read food safety for people & pets. For dishwash, cleaners and laundry products, choose choose unscented for pregnancy/nursing/babies and affected medical conditions. Avoid essential oil cleaners near pets (citrus is toxic).
biodegradable bin bags & liners
Most conventional bin bags are made from plastic, which takes 500 years or more to break down. They are also easy to rip apart, choking hazards (and wildlife hazards for inquisite creatures like hedgehogs). Black bin liners can’t even be recycled, because machines don’t recognise the colour black. Instead, switch to compostable versions (keep in a cool dark place, or they’ll biodegrade away in the sun!) Keep all bags away from children and pets, due to risk of suffocation.
Note bags are usually meant to break down in compostable environments, and if ending up at landfill, the lack-of-oxygen can still create methane gas. So if a bag is compostable, try to compost it.
Seep makes good biodegradable garbage bags, in different sizes (note some are not compatable with longer thinner Brabantia bins). Made from plant-based bio-polymer, 93% of customers say they work as well or better. They are high-quality and reinforced to prevent leaks, and sold in sustainable packaging. Made with green energy.
Onya compostable bin bags are in various sizes. Compostable to international standards, use within 3 to 6 months or they may break down. Empty bins more often, if placing wet waste in them.
This set of 25 biodegradable bin bags is an ideal alternative to plastic flimsy bin bags, which never break down in landfill. You can also use these for plant-based food waste and put them straight into your compost bin. The bags are 50 litre capacity (or 10 litre), extra-strong and leakproof with a gathered base. Made from cornstarch, keep in a cool dry place and use within a year.
zero waste reusable bowl covers
Clingfilm is one of the most widely-used products used to wrap food in England and across the western world. But although kerbside and most supermarket bag bins now recycle soft plastic packaging, it won’t recycle clingfilm, so it’s good to find alternatives. So what exactly is clingfilm, why is bad for the planet and what can we used instead? Helen Round Reusable Bowl Covers are made from linen (from flax plants) in Cornwall, in lovely designs.
Clingfilm is basically a very thin plastic, usually used to seal food. You can buy it on a roll and it’s often used in the catering industry to seal up food that’s still in date, to sell the next day. It’s also pretty difficult to use, often falling apart which means bits of it often end up stuck to the food you’re sealing. The boxes usually have a cutting edge (a bit like sellotape) but doesn’t work that well.
Originally made from PVC (polyvinyl chlorine), most clingfilm is now made from LDPE (low-density polyethylene) which is not good either and also doesn’t not even stick that well. Invented (by accident) back in the 1930s by a man trying to remove something from a lab vial, it’s now been around for almost 100 years, resulting in masses of plastic waste.
The average family uses 26 rolls of clingfilm a year, but it’s made by melting tiny plastic pellets (nurdles) that often drop on the factory floor and end up in the sea (it’s estimated 50 million nurdles end up in oceans each year). These look like fish eggs to marine creatures, who end up eating them (so do you, if you eat fish).
These blue striped bowl covers have a natural toned background and are made to fit different-sized bowls. Machine-washable.
invest in a few silicone food covers
Silicone does use fossil fuels in its manufacture (mixed with sand). But it’s the nearest thing to plastic and does not break down into microplastics at end of use. It lasts years, is easy to clean and most companes let you send items back at end-of-use to recycle. You can also mould them around differently-shaped jars and tubs.
Stretchy Lids are independently tested for food contact safety, and can also be used to cover pet food. They are dishwasher-safe and can also be used for microwaves (don’t heat baby or pet food in microwaves). They can be used 100 of times and are sold in a set of 6 sizes.