With the plastic ban coming down hard upon us, it might seem like an unachievable, and maybe even an unnecessary goal. After all, we have all been hoarding umpteen plastic containers and bags over the years, in the hope that they might come in handy some day, only adding to the kitchen clutter.
From packing your lunch to storing leftovers to preserving the monthly grocery items and your pet water bottles—we have all added our fair share to the plastic pollution. However cheap and convenient to use, plastic pollution is a modern day hazard that is taking a major toll on the environment, and is not a great alternative for health, either. That being said, plastic has taken centre stage in our lives for a very long time, and it's a tough habit to shake.
However, you could start small. The bonus of a plastic-free kitchen is that most of the food storage alternatives can be put directly in an oven or microwave to re-heat, which means lesser dishes to wash!
So here are 5 sustainable alternatives of going plastic-free in your kitchen for environmental and health reasons:
Glass Jars and Containers
Unlike plastic containers, glass ones are much more durable, as they don’t degrade overtime, and when used with care and caution can turn out to be a good investment. You can also reuse the existing glass jars in which you got your sauces, pickles or other food items. Be it your biscuits, crackers, oats, grains or even food leftovers such as sabjis, salads and even milk, glass containers or jars can come in handy a long way.
However, note that some don’t withstand heat or cold, and therefore make sure if they are approved for heating or refrigerating purposes. When freezing food in glass jars, you should leave at least one inch space to keep the glass from breaking, as the food tends to expand when subjected to freezing.
Stainless Steel Containers
That’s what our mothers and grandmothers did way before plastic became ubiquitous. Used commonly to cook, mix and store food, stainless steel is lightweight, durable, easy to clean, and can help your food stay fresh and safe, without you bothering about harmful toxins leaching into your food. Ideal for cold and hot storage – they can be used for storing food in the fridge or for cooking food in the oven/toaster.
The only downside is that it is not ideal for use in microwaves. Ideal to pack your lunches, swap your plastic bottle for stainless steel bottles to ensure that you’re hydrated even while on the go. Big bonus: unlike glass containers, you can’t break them. Sasta aur tikau!
Remember those good old days when things came wrapped in brown paper bags or newspapers? Whilst this trend is making a comeback, it may not be the best option to carry around in the monsoons; it still helps beat the toxic plastic. Perfect for storing lightweight and dry food items such as cookies, snacks, and so on, brown paper bags can also be used for packing dry lunches such as sandwiches or chapatis.
Besides, you can even make yourself some homemade popcorn using a paper bag. Newspapers, on the other hand, can be used to cover plates of leftover food or your salad bowls. Avoid placing wet or oily food items such as pakoras, cooked veggies, etc., in newspapers as the ink contains many hazardous chemicals which can find their way into the foods.
Also Read: A Cooking Habit To Reduce Your Food Waste
They can do so much more than packing lunches. From helping you bake the perfect pie to keeping your foods warm, aluminum foils can come in handy in many ways. However, avoid using aluminum foils when it comes to cooking with acidic foods such as tomatoes or lemons, and its best left out of the microwave. However, you can use it for wrapping both, wet and dry food items, and also to cover leftovers.
You can make your own cloth food sacks by recycling your old clothes if you have good sewing skills. If not, you can always buy them at any departmental store, as they are easy-to-find and also affordable. These reusable cloth bags can come in handy especially when it comes to storing dry food items such as grains, beans, legumes, lentils and so on. What’s best, they can also be used for storing your veggies such as potatoes, onions and tomatoes separately. They’re also great for packing sandwiches, nuts, crackers, and other lunch items as they can be easily carried around. The next time you go on your weekend shopping tour, don’t forget to leave home without these, and ditch all versions of plastic available!
To feed your hunger for more
Want more? Click on the tags below for more videos and stories