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The Best Plastic Free Alternatives for Your Kitchen

The Best Plastic Free Alternatives for Your Kitchen

Zissy Lewin
  • As Plastic Free July comes to an end, we wanted to leave you with resources to make it easier to start reducing your plastic waste.
The Best Plastic Free Alternatives for Your Kitchen

As Plastic Free July comes to an end, I wanted to leave you with resources of plastic free alternatives to make it easier to start reducing your plastic waste. I’ve chosen the kitchen as my area of focus. I found that a large amount of single use plastic is used in kitchens. I am featuring items that span what we all buy food and produce in, to what we store foods in, to keep them fresh, to cleaning items. I specifically wanted to select products that replace single use plastics. Why?

 

We replace single use plastic often; they are the items we buy repeatedly. Instead of buying, using and tossing, why not invest a little more in items that will last longer than just for one use? Items that do the exact same job, but can be washed and used again instead of discarded.

 

I also wanted to highlight that going waste free doesn’t have to mean a complete rehaul of everything you use. It can be simple switches made one at a time that slowly add up. It’s about the collective effort of one small thing that becomes habit. Below are products that have been tried and tested by us, products we adore and have made it that much easier to make some plastic free switches.

Instead of Using Ziplock Bags, Use Stasher Bags

Created by Kat Nouri, Stasher Bags are 100% pure platinum food grade silicone bags. They’re eco-friendly, environmentally safe and long lasting. They are currently available in 5 different sizes and in a variety of colours. They can be used to store food (fresh, dry and baked/cooked), your beauty products and anything else you’d use a Ziplock for.

 

How We Use Them

 

Since getting these, at any given time there is at least one Stasher Bag sitting in my fridge or freezer. Not only do they look good, but they work and are super easy to clean. I’m using my Stasher bags primarily for food. I love storing frozen fruits in them for quick smoothies or these fudge squares. I have found that the gallon size is perfect for storing lettuce and greens in a way that keeps them fresh.

 

The most surprising thing I discovered was that they’re oven friendly! This means you can store leftovers (or food pre-prepped to be cooked later) and just pop the entire bag into the oven. I did test them in the oven, as scared as I was that they’d melt. They did not and can withhold temperatures up to 200C. I warmed up a piece of babka and the bag didn’t get steamy and the babka did not get soggy, it was just delightfully warm. However, using them in the oven isn’t my preferred use.

Get them here or directly from Stasher here where you can get 15% off your order by signing their pledge  to make conscious decisions in everything you consume: reducing first, reusing wherever possible and recycling when necessary. In essence, Making Moves for the Planet. (R154 – R296)

Instead of using Baking Paper, Use Humble + Mash Silicone Baking Mat

This Humble + Mash silicone baking mat turns any baking tray into a non-stick surface, removing the need to use baking spray or baking paper. This one fits a standard baking tray and is oven safe, freezer safe and dishwasher safe.

 

How We Use Them

 

I’ve baked cookies and bread on these mats and love how easily they come off. I imagine they would be a dream when it comes to meringues (nothing worse than having a piece of baking paper stuck to the bottom of a meringue). What took the mat to the next level of genius for me, was baking sweet potato fries on them – you can use less oil and the sweet potatoes don’t get stuck to the bottom. They come out perfectly crisp all round. I’m also a fan of using them to freeze fruit before storing (as explained here), freeze  no bake cookies and for making chocolate bark (it peels off well). They’re also super easy to clean and thus far mine hasn’t stained.

Get it here  (R249)

Instead of Using Clingwrap, Use Spaza Store Dish Covers

These breathable dish covers are part of the range of functional everyday household items made by Spaza Store. They come in 4 different sizes (Small, Medium, Large and Extra Large) and 3 gorgeous designs (pictured here is the Protea range). They also have an elasticized trim to allow them to securely hold onto your dishes without falling off. Each item is handmade by women working in home industries on the outskirts of Cape Town, South Africa, giving them a chance to uplift themselves.

 

How We Use Them

 

I’ve been using my covers to cover up bowls of homemade hummus and salads I make in advance and store in the fridge. They’re breathable which means they won’t make your greens sweat and wilt. One of my favourites uses for the covers, specifically the extra-large one, is using it to cover dough while it rises.  The cover is big enough to fit over a large Kenwood Mixer, which means I can go from kneading the dough to letting it rise in the same bowl without extra bowls to wash up. I also love that it securely seals it which means I can pop dough into the fridge for overnight rising.  Come Summer, they’ll be handy for protecting food against flies at braais. Another tip to note is that although they are circular, they do fit on other shaped pans/bowls. The large fits comfortably on a loaf tin and the extra large on a large square tin.

Get them here (R484 for 4)

Instead of storing bread in plastic bags, Use FreshBag Bread Bags

FreshBag Bread bags are made with 100% cotton calico and are big enough to fit a big loaf of bread or a dozen rolls inside. They have a string allowing you to securely tie your bread in. It’s important to note that they are not made to keep bread fresh. Rather they are an alternative to buying bread in plastic or short-term storage. The bags are compact enough to keep in your shopping bag. The next time you buy bread from the bakery, you can have them put it into your FreshBag instead of in plastic. According to my tests, it’ll keep bread fresh for 1 day.

 

How We Use Them

 

I like making bread and have been using the FreshBag to keep bread that I know I’ll be using within a day – it keeps it well for that amount of time. I’m also planning on using it anytime I need to transport bread (think picnics, to friends).

Get it here (R60)

Instead of storing bread and cheese in plastic, Use Ecorific Bread and cheese bags

The Ecorific bread bags are made from hemp and have the benefits of a paper bag (breathability) without being wasteful or toxic to the environment or your body. They come in two sizes, a large rectangle for loafs and a baguette bag which perfectly fits a baguette. They also have drawstrings to secure them.

 

The Ecorific Cheese bags are made with hemp letting your cheese breathe while preventing them from drying out. They are made to keep cheese tasting fresher for longer.

 

How We Use Them

 

I’ve been using the bread bags to store bread that I know will be eaten within a day. Much like most breadbags they are not made to keep bread fresh, but rather as an alternative to purchasing bread in plastic or paper. I’ve also used them to store bread in the freezer, and for a week or two it’s a perfect solution and doesn’t give you that dreaded freezer burn taste.

 

The cheese bag I primarily use when I have leftover cheese from a block. It wraps up nice and easy and stores well in the fridge. I imagine I’ll end up using these bags when I travel to store all my foodstuffs.

Get the bread bag here (R65), the baguette bag here (R65), and the cheese bag here (R65).

Instead of using plastic sponges and scourers, Use Eco Coconut’s Kitchen Brushes and Scourers

EcoCoconut is a new brand available locally. They use coconuts instead of plastic to manufacture products that are stylish, sustainable and functional. Their kitchen brushes come in 3 styles – A kitchen brush, scourer and a bottle brush. They’re all naturally antibacterial and biodegradable.

 

How We Use Them

 

First off, I love that they’re antibacterial, as sponges are germ hotspots. I’ve only used them in the kitchen (although the scourer can be used to clean away grime in the bathtub and shower). The brush takes a while to get used to, as it doesn’t lather soap like a sponge does, but I’ve grown to love using it. The handle means that you save your hands (and manicure) from scrubbing dishes and you don’t get burnt by hot water. Although it’s gentle enough to use on glass and non-stick pans, it works well at getting off bits of stuck food. It’s also really good at cleaning hard to clean areas, like that lip in a pot lid, thin glasses and whisks.

 

The scourer is meant to be used to scrub off tough grime. It lathers soap much better than the brush. It does a great job of getting every last bit off your pots and pans. I’ve also been using it to scrub the kitchen counter – especially useful if you use your counters to roll out dough, it takes doughy bits off really well. In fact, I much prefer it over stainless steel scourers.

 

Get the kitchen brush here (R135) and the scourer here (R135)

Instead of Using a plastic bag, Use Eco Elephant Sandwich Wax Wrap

These brightly printed wax wraps are made from 100% shweshwe fabric infused in a blend of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil. The beeswax, with its anti-fungal & antibacterial properties make it suitable for food storage. The only food you can’t use them for is raw or cooked meat and fish.  These reusable wax wraps are a great option for regular day to day use, when you know you’ll be able to wash them. They last up to 7 months.

 

How We Use Them

 

I love their bright colours and the little button and twine, which makes it easy to secure them. They do have a noticeable beeswax smell and are quite stiff, making them best suited for sandwiches or items with a similar flat shape. The bag doesn’t really mould to items. I’ve used them to wrap small sandwiches and opened cheese blocks.

Get them here (R70)

Instead of Using a plastic sandwich bag, Use If You Care Sandwich Bags

If you care has an awesome range of eco-friendly disposables for times when a reusable isn’t practical. These paper sandwich bags are certified compostable and made from wood from responsible sources. They’re not chemically treated, are microwave safe and keep bread soft for 6 hours. They also come in two sizes – the baguette size and a standard square size. They’re a great option for either kid’s lunch boxes or for travel when you can’t wash up reusables.

 

How We Use Them

 

I’ve been using If You Care products for some time (their muffin liners are my favourite liner) and I use their sandwich bags for travelling (really, I pack all the food). I also use them for packaging treats given to friends. You don’t have to limit them to sandwiches, I’ve thrown homemade chips and cookies into them too.

 

Get them here (R75 for 48 bags)

Instead of Using Paper Towel or wipes, Use If You Care Sponge Cloths

These are the best cleaning cloths – for any surface in your home from kitchen to bathroom. They’re made from renewable resources and are compostable. They absorb 20 x their weight in water making them more efficient (and environmentally friendly) than paper towels or wipes. They can also be washed up to 300 times, so a pack of 5 cloths will likely last you a full year.

 

How We Use Them

 

Before this I was using a roll of cleaning cloths to wipe down counters (not so eco-friendly and costly). These cloths are 100 x times better and I’m not even talking about the fact that they’re better for the environment. Because they’re more absorbent, you can use one to clean down the whole kitchen without leaving streaks. They also have more grip to them, so they wipe away dried spills so much better. They feel hard (and harden when dried) but a little water / cleaning spray and they soften up. I usually rinse mine well after each use, let them dry flat and them pop them into the washing machine every few days for a good clean.

Get them here (R65 for 5)

Instead of Buying Produce in plastic, Use Eco Elephants Produce and Market Bags

More and more stores are offering plastic free produce sections, but they still have those rolls of plastic to collect them in. These Eco Elephant produce and market bags are compact enough to fit into your bag and sturdy enough to fill with produce. They’re breathable so your produce won’t sweat, and they allow you to see inside them so you (and the cashier) can easily see what you’ve got.

 

How We Use Them

 

The market bag is a bag you probably recognise popping all over Instagram, usually filled with fresh produce – and that’s how I use it. I love the colours, how compact it is (it folds into a little ball) and how strong it is. When possible, I try to buy loose produce and keep these produce bags in my reusable shoppers so they’re there when I need them. The produce bags also fold up small, have a drawstring to secure your goods and make it easy to pick from the “naked produce” section.

Get the market bag here (R65) and the produce bag here (R40)

Instead of Using regular rubbish liners, Use If You Care Compostable Food Waste Bags

There are places where it feels impossible to replace plastic, but we can choose to use a better plastic. If you care food waste bags are a great example. They’re made from 100% GMO free potato starch and a fully compostable polymer. You can get them in a small size perfect for bathroom, bedroom and office bins or in a larger gallon sized liner for the kitchen.

 

How We Use Them

 

As is intended, to toss rubbish into. The food waste bags are also good for those times when you’re giving away clothing / food and also for packing shoes in when travelling. They feel a bit thinner than normal liners but so far have held up without issue.

 

Get the food waste bags here (R86 for 30) and the bin liners here (R85 for 12)

The Best Plastic Free Alternatives for Your Kitchen
1

Stasher Bags

3

Humble + Mash Silicone Baking Mat

4

Spaza Store Dish Covers

5

FreshBag Bread Bags

6

Ecorrific Bread Bag

7

Ecorrific Cheese Bag

8

Eco Coconut Kitchen Brush

9

Eco Coconut Kitchen Scourer

10

If You Care Sandwich Bag

11

If You Care Sponge Cloth

12

Eco Elephants Market Bag

13

Eco Elephant Produce Bag

14

If You Care Compostable Food Waste Bags and Bin Liners

What’s your best plastic free kitchen alternative? Share with us in the comments below.

 

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