Tuesday, October 24, 2017

A Plastic-Free Home: Kitchen Phase 1

Tacking the kitchen to be completely Plastic-Free is not an overnight process. As much as I would like it to be, the kitchen has to be done in phases. As you read here, I tackled my first big project with my water drinking. I think it has been a success and I have adapted that really well into my routine.
Phase 1 starts with small changes. These are simple ones that can be beneficial and make a large impact without hurting your wallet. I choose to start with my cooking utensil drawer. I only had a few spatulas which needed to be removed - they had plastic in the ends- from my drawer. I was happy to see that I really did not have much to donate to friends. Most of my utensils are from the Target Threshold line and are either made with wood or metal. The meat tenderizer was my grandmothers. At least one drawer is completed. The second will be a bit tricky. I was happy to at least know all my silverware was metal and my organizer is made from bamboo. Win-Win.
Cleaning is another area where small improvements can make large impacts. I choose these wooden and metal cleaning brushes by Lola. When Target had the Caldrea line, I stocked up on these glass pump bottles (similar here and here). I now have one for my hand soap and one for my dish soap. When a brush simply will not cut it, I found these sponges that scrub like scour sponges (which work great on non-stick pans). Even when it came to my dishwasher (which I rarely use), I opted for a great rinse aid. Unfortunately, I have yet to find a plastic-free option for this or a homemade version that works well- but the search continues.
Overall cleaning the kitchen has changed as well. I have found a few ways to reduce the amount of paper towel usage I had been consuming. As much as I like my eco-towels, it was time for a change. I started making my own homemade cleaners, using bulk castile soap (my local grocery store has bulk cleaning items for purchase- just bring your own containers to fill) and water. To actually clean surfaces, I opted for these bar towels - old cotton shirts work really well too (just skip the fabric softener when washing)! After a few uses, they get tossed in the laundry. I have different looking hand towels I hang nearby to wipe hands dry. This has been a success and has dramatically reduced paper towel usage to a minimum.
Additionally, I have transitioned my dusting game. I have taken some old shirts that are worn beyond wear and cut them up and placed them in the larger of the two jars under my sink. They are easy to grab and yank out and dust. All I have to do is take the dirty ones and run them through the laundry and back in they go. Eventually, when they are done being used, they will be composted. Like the rinse aid for my dishwasher, I have not been able to replicate dishwasher soap effectively but I have found a decent alternative with Ecover. I placed them in the smaller jar for storage.

What do you think about going plastic-free? Are you able to make small changes to reduce your footprint? Do you use reusable water bottles when getting coffee or drinks out? Share your experiences.

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