Many of us desire to be mindful of the environment and curb our consumerism habits, but the idea of going Zero Waste sounds too far out of reach for the reality of how everything is made or produced. Making substantial changes towards a more eco-friendly kitchen is easier than you might think, and your wallet will thank you over time.
Start by acknowledging what you already do to be more eco-friendly because you need to be kind to yourself. Then examine how you can be more sustainable, one room and one habit at a time.
In an Eco-friendly Kitchen You Must Choose Your Plastics Wisely
When you are shopping, if you see a glass jar option, pick that product! It may cost a few cents more, but not only will you purchase one less plastic good, you just bought a storage solution, and you voted for the glass contained product over the plastic item.
Glass containers with items like pickles, jam, or pasta sauce can be repurposed into a water glass or for storing other food. If you keep the lid, it may hold loose items like pencils, make-up brushes, art supplies, sewing thread, candy, or DIY cleaning solutions. The possibilities are endless.
See the Beauty in Potential
Similar to the previous example, don’t dismiss your glass beverage containers. They, too, may turn into a vase for your kitchen table. My fiancé brought home a coffee beverage in a brown jug I liked. Before he finished it, I was already potting where to place with dried-out Eucalyptus.
DIY a Kitchen Plant Pot Holder
Create a concrete plant holder while supporting a Latina business. If you can’t recycle the plastic you have, try finding a way to use it again.
Self-described “Nicaragüense plantada en Los Angeles” from Concrete Geometric produced a very entertaining and easy-to-follow instructional video for a more eco-friendly kitchen using her concert plant pot kit using plastic in your home as the mold for your new creation.
The Rip-test for the Tea Lover
Did you know that tea bags you use may contain plastic?
If the teabag is not easy to rip, it likely contains small amounts of plastic. Buy the tea that has a compostable bag or switch to loose tea. You will find a dishwasher-safe stainless tea diffuser for as low as $5.
Ditch the sponge and small plastic soap bottles
The next time you reach for the small plastic soap dispenser carrying the sent of the season, pick up the glass container and make that your refillable soap container moving forward.
Next, ditch the yellow and green dish sponge. Not only do these sponges lose their cleaning power quickly, but they also carry a lot of tiny microplastics we release down the drain. Those micro-plastics make it into our ocean. Try a bamboo handle brush with plastic-free bristles or an eco-coconut scrubber made from coconut like this option from Boston Latina-owned business UVida.
Invest in Reusable Produce Bags and Paper Towel Alternatives
Buy varying sizes of reusable cotton fruit, veggie, and meat bags. They are a one-time purchase that will save so many of those small plastic baggies from ending up in your “maybe I will reuse this plastic bag again” para la basura en el baño. That wish pile of small plastic bags is always overflowing and taking up space in a drawer or shelf. You likely have plenty already.
Make or buy reusable paper towels. I like the Marley’s Monster lemon print. We have used and washed these so many times that we barely use paper towels and have saved more than $16 worth in a short amount of time. We will soon be working on phasing out paper towels entirely and going back to trapos/rags to clean up a mess in our eco-friendly kitchen.
Make Abuelitas Clothespins Cool Again
If your Abuelita or mama was like mine and hung clothing on a clothing line to dry, you grew up with these types of clips in the home. I do not use them for laundry, but I do use them as food clips. I store them in a former shipped box I cut the lid off of to keep them organized. The whole pack of clips has lasted for more than four years, much longer than any plastic food clips I would have purchased. You can also paint them fun colors if you choose.
If you have some great tips or would like to learn more, stay tuned, we will be sharing more tips in the coming months. Also, share Latina sustainability products or stores with us!