Imagine you are standing in your kitchen. What are the everyday items around you, that you buy, use and perhaps throw away without considering how they are made, what they are made from or how they may impact our planet.
As many of you will know by now, we have been making great efforts across Daylesford to minimise the use of plastic and to source alternative materials wherever possible. From our recent introduction of biodegradable plant-based packaging, to rewarding customers who bring in their own reusable containers or cups, or introducing sustainable lasting alternatives to plastic in our homeware ranges, we are constantly considering and implementing ideas to make lasting change.
For many of us, we are surrounded by plastic in our kitchens, from food packaging to cooking utensils, cleaning equipment and storage solutions. The extent of this often goes unnoticed until we take time to look at our surroundings and lifestyle with fresh eyes. Many of these every day, taken for granted kitchen plastics take up to two centuries to biodegrade, their afterlife damaging our planet and environment, whereas natural materials can be recycled with confidence. As mindsets are starting to change and alternative natural materials are becoming more widely available, there are real ways we can all start to make lasting change at home.
“If there is one thing we should tackle at home to make a meaningful impact, it is single-use plastic. This is the worst offender from an environmental perspective, being used unnecessarily in food packaging and wrapping and, if not disposed or recycled correctly, finding its way into our landscape and waterways, harming our wildlife and our planet.”
-Tim Field, Head of Sustainability
One of the easiest places to make real yet simple change is in your weekly shop. Consider where you shop and how your food is packaged and delivered, swapping to loose packed fruit and vegetables rather than those wrapped in cellophane and plastic for example. If shopping in-store, this also gives you the chance to look at each item and check it for freshness and quality.
If shopping online, you can choose items which are sold loose by weight, requesting that your food isn’t packed in plastic bags and using the option which most delivery retailers provide to return any that do find their way through. Considerer changing where you shop, choosing a retailer that minimises plastic use, provides sustainable alternatives and endeavours to reuse and recycle.
At Daylesford, almost all of our organic fruit and vegetables are sold loose, often still dusted with soil from our Market Garden. Excitingly we will soon be launching a ‘Zero Waste Pantry’ at our Kingham Farmshop, for dry stores such as flour, cereals, nuts and seeds, meaning our customers can completely avoid using packaging for these foods, bringing in their own re-usable containers from home. We also hope this will help to minimise food waste, allowing customers to buy just the right amount for their needs.
When it comes to food containers and storage at home, it’s important to be practical. Don’t throw away existing plastic containers, but instead replace them with alternatives when they come to the end of their life, not forgetting to recycle them correctly – this is also the most environmentally friendly approach. We like to use glass storage jars or metal tins and re-use glass jars which food comes to us packaged in – these are great for taking packed lunches to work or school. A traditional metal bread bin is a great long-lasting option to store bread or baked goods in, especially if also wrapped in a cotton or paper bag.
When it comes to wrapping food, don’t always reach for clingfilm or plastic food bags but instead think about using cotton cloths or bags, a kitchen plate as a lid for a bowl, beeswax wrappers or unwaxed parchment paper rather than silicon coated greaseproof paper. Cheese or meat is often happier stored loosely wrapped with paper rather than tightly sealed in plastic.
Buy fresh milk, fruit juice and water that is sold in glass bottles or packaging made from recyclable materials such as the award-winning pouches that our organic milk is sold in at Daylesford. Glass bottles can be easily recycled or reused at home to store your own drinks in, such as homemade smoothies or cordials.
We have put together some simple areas to focus on and alternatives or swaps you can make in your kitchens at home to reduce the use of plastic in your daily life and by doing so, help protect the future of our planet. By making small achievable changes at home, with relatively little effort, we can together make a great impact.
change how you shop- force retailers to change
Choose loose fruit and vegetables; use baskets or bags for life instead of plastic; choose food packed in glass or cardboard; buy from a retailer with sustainable values that uses recyclable, biodegradable packaging.
CLEANING – THOSE USEFUL YELLOW SPONGES ARE MAJOR OFFENDERS
Use biodegradable, cotton cloths which can be washed and reused; swap man- made artificial sponges and scourers for natural alternatives; buy wooden brooms and washing-up brushes with natural fibre bristles; choose cleaning products packaged in recyclable or biodegradable packaging; keep an eye out for metal dustpans or mop buckets and choose natural feather dusters made with natural materials.
food on the go – swap your sandwich box
Use glass food containers, metal caddies or re-used glass jars to transport food; swap plastic straws for metal; use wooden biodegradable cutlery if you aren’t able to take your own; always use a reusable cup or thermos to avoid single-use cups when you buy takeaway drinks.
buy well, buy once – save money in the long run
Invest in quality items to last a lifetime when it comes to kitchen utensils: Choose quality kitchen pans, without polymer based non-stick coatings; swap plastic chopping boards for durable wooden alternatives; enamel bakeware and trays rather than non-stick versions; metal sieves, utensils, colanders and mixing bowls and measuring cups.
waste disposal – read the labels
Read labels on packaged food products to check you are recycling and disposing of plastic products correctly; stop using plastic bin liners and swap to a plant-based biodegradable alternative; compost any materials which are certified compostable; return packaging such as carrier bags to delivery drivers.