A few kitchen lines and six tips
What is the German's best friend - the dog or the car? Probably both. But probably the third place will follow right away: the Tupperware box! We pack our leftovers neatly, stack and zip what we can and almost everyone has a tupperware cupboard.
Nevertheless, plastic should not be allowed in the kitchen, just for our health. Besides it looks - to be honest - stupid.
It's true, plastic is practical and simple; but it also breaks a lot. The easiest way is not necessarily the best. Probably we don't see the alternatives anymore because of all the plastic.
Shopping is no different. After the weekend shopping we come home with heaps of packaging waste. In fact, 40% of all plastic waste worldwide is used for disposable packaging. And because To-Go has been on the advance for a long time (we don't have time), sliced fruit and ready-made salads - with the enclosed "Göffel" - fill entire refrigerated shelves in the supermarkets. Pastries and sweets are often in bags, which are in bags, and what is not eaten is wrapped in cling film.
The receipt follows on its heels: Often food absorbs the plastics from the packaging and then enters our bodies. Even if manufacturers advertise the BPA-free quality of their product, there are other substances in it that are harmful to health. To give the material the desired properties, all kinds of additives such as stabilizers, plasticizers or flame retardants are added. The problem is that in most cases these substances are not firmly bound in the plastic and are released to us or the environment over time. In 2018 a study by the Medical University of Vienna in cooperation with the Federal Environment Agency found microplastics in the intestines of the test persons. Earlier, other studies also proved bisphenol A and plasticizers in human blood.
But enough of the hair-raising facts. So what can we do to reduce plastic in the kitchen (and in our lives)?
First of all, it must be admitted that there are not many new tips. But we have dug intensely in the infinite depths of the World Wide Web and came across some nice suggestions. These tips don't appear everywhere first, are easy to implement and we just think they're good.
- Perform some research work. A successful change is preceded by a stocktaking, so that we know where to start. So take a look inside your yellow bag. What's in it most? Or what is always found in it? Packaging of milk, rice or noodles? Yoghurt pots and disposable bottles? Chip bags and trays of apples and tomatoes? Cold cuts packaging? Grab a piece of paper and pencil and write down what you notice and which products are often found. The point of this is not to get a guilty conscience, but simply to raise awareness and get an overview. It is to roll up your sleeves before the fight against plastic begins.
- This is followed by the logical consequence and an easily feasible adjustment when shopping: Decide for the variant in a jar! Yoghurts and milk are also available in deposit jars. You can return the empty glasses to the supermarket; they are reused. Or you can keep some of them yourself for practical storage of other foods. The alternative for cold cuts is the fresh food counter. Here you can save on shrink-wrapped product packaging. With a lot of luck you will get your cold cuts wrapped in paper in a stainless steel container you have brought with you. So now you have the first alternative to plastic tins. The muesli looks much better in a big jar. Food supplies and leftovers can be stored in such screw or hanger jars. Stainless steel boxes are also very practical. Cling film can be replaced by reusable oilcloths. And when it comes to storing leftovers in the fridge, the grandparents-style cover is still practical: put plates on it! Use cast iron at once instead of Teflon at regular intervals. With standard pans, not only the handle is usually made of plastic, but also the inside of the pan is coated with a plastic layer (PTFE). With every use of the pan, particles of this layer get into the food and at some point the coating becomes porous - we actually eat up the plastic layer. An iron pan will last almost indefinitely if cared for properly. With it you avoid possible risks and do something good for your health. Instead of plastic, a little iron - an important trace element - gets into the meal. At this point, a short note about the oven: If you don't preheat the oven, but leave the dish in it a little longer, you will still save up to 20% electricity.
- All that's missing is the right seasoning! Plant your own herbs, then you don't have to buy them wrapped in plastic and they give a better aroma anyway. You don't need a garden for this; pots on the balcony or windowsill will do just as well. It also looks nice and makes the home more lively, so shopping and preparation can be done in a more plastic way. But have you ever wondered how much trash do garbage bags make? We can save ourselves the trouble; with a newspaper in the bottom of the trash can it works just as well; rinse the trash can for a short time in between and the garbage bag is no longer necessary.
Tried and tested alternative
spatula turner, salad servers and cooking spoons made of stainless steel, wood or bamboo are always worth thinking about. However, with kitchen utensils and dishes made of bamboo, care must be taken to ensure that they do not contain melamine. This is a difficult task, as the material specifications leave much to be desired; the manufacturer is not obliged to label them. In case of doubt, pure wood products would be the better choice here.
Maybe you have already switched to some alternatives, such as reusable straws or coffee filters made of cotton; eat more veggi, avoid products with palm oil or drink tap water from a glass bottle and equip yourself with shopping nets and fabric bags (e.g. the one with a cute panda on it 🙂 ). We think that's great!