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A Guide to Plastic-free Food Storage 0

plastic free fridge

There are all kinds of waste, from packaging to disposable everyday items, but often overlooked is food waste. How much of your weekly groceries end up in the trash (or compost) before they ever got a chance to be consumed or used? Most of us would say that it's an embarrassing amount, and considering all the energy that goes into food production, it's key that we put a stop to unnecessary food waste.
 
However, is it possible to effectively store food without plastic? Won't our carrots go floppy and our salad wilt?
 
It is. It is completely possible to store your food in a way to decrease food waste without resorting to plastic.
 
Here are some simple rules that you can implement to get started:
 

  • Only store the things that need to be in the fridge there.

 

Otherwise make space on the counter for produce that does better at room temperature. Here is a break down of what should go where: 

 

Fridge Counter
Citrus Fruit melons
Berries apples
grapes mangoes
bell peppers pears
 carrots tomatoes
 celery plums
  squash
 
  • Use Water to Your Advantage

Just like you put flowers in a glass of water and on your counter, there are herbs and vegetables that need the same, like cilantro or kale. Others, like carrots and celery do best in water, but in the fridge. Some lettuces and leafy greens like spinach are best stored in damp tea towels or a Swag, and in the fridge.
 

  • Do NOT Refrigerate Bread!

There are two things people are worried with when it comes to bread. First of all, that it will develop mould, which most often actually happens when stored in plastic, and secondly, that it goes stale. People have battled these problems in the past by storing bread in the fridge which is actually the most drying thing you can do to it. Bread needs to breathe in order to not develop mold, so a bread bag and then a dark cupboard or bread box would be the best option. If you know that you will not be able to get through the whole loaf before it gets stale, preslice it and freeze it, toasting or defrosting a slice at a time as needed.
 
  • Ripen and then Refrigerate

Have you ever bought avocados just to have them all ripen at once at the counter and there's no way that you will be able to get through them before they start going bad? Once avocados achieve ripeness, store them in the fridge until you are ready to eat them.
 
  • Seal the Deal

If you only use half a lemon or avocado at a time, you only really need to cover the part that is exposed. Use a beeswax wrap to seal it, or just place face down onto a plate and place in the fridge.

 

  • Segregate the Ripe and Ready

Did you know that fruits and vegetables naturally emit a gas when they ripen to signal to neighbouring fruit to start doing the same? That's great in the wild or in a farming environment, but not necessarily in your fruit bowl. If you want to keep all of your fruit from reaching peak ripeness too soon, isolate the ones that are ripe and eat them as soon as possible.
 
  • Use the Crisper

Some things can be stored loosely in your crisper, like cabbage, spring onions and eggplants.

 

  • Don't Pass Over the Freezer

When you notice that your food is coming to the end of its usable life, freeze it! Veggies can be chopped up and used in stews, stirfrys, and casseroles, while frozen fruit is ideal for smoothies, jams, and baked goods. Otherwise, cook something with them to be eaten or frozen, like quiches, pot pies, or filling soup stock. Instead of plastic baggies, consider (re)zip bags, sturdy jars, or glass containers.
 

 

Minimizing food waste doesn't have to be complicated- it's all about forming habits like meal planning, proper storage, and finding creative use for scraps and food that's about to expire. 

 

How do you deal with this issue?
 

 

image credit: Jessie May

6 Easy Zero-Waste Kitchen Swaps 0

zero waste kitchen

 

When thinking of sustainability in the kitchen, our thoughts quickly go to healthy, locally-grown foods. However, this is not the only lens we should be looking through when greening our kitchens. Apart from the food we store, prepare, and eat in it, there are other aspects that we should be practicing sustainability in, such as food storage and kitchen cleaning.

 

The goal is to be zero-waste in our lifestyle, and if we are already buying natural food with little or no packaging, and reusing or recycling what we can, we should be left only with organic waste which can either go in the backyard composter or in the green bin. However, even these can be minimized with easy swaps which are good for the environment (and for your wallet too!)

 

 

 

NO: Plastic Wrap

YES: Abeego Wrap

 

Plastic wrap cannot be recycled and therefore is something you want to avoid buying in the first place. Cling wrap can easily be replaced with Abeego Beeswax Wrap. Use it to cover bowls with left overs, store ends of fruits and vegetables, or to wrap your sandwiches with. It's waterproof and can be molded to fit the shape that you need, all the while safely and securely storing your food, just as cling wrap would have. Abeego sheets can last for months, if not years, making them a more sustainable alternative to the plastic that usually has to be thrown out after just one use.

 

 

NO: Wax Paper

YES: Baking Mat

 

Do you use wax paper to line your baking sheets when making your favourite cookies or pastries? You can easily eliminate the need for this difficult to dispose of paper by simply replacing it with a silicone baking mat. This mat can stand very high temperatures in the oven, is non-stick, and is easy to clean after each use. As a bonus, it can be used as a surface protector during the prep phase as well, protecting your counters and table from potential damage!

 

NO: Paper Towel

YES: EcoScrubby

 

How many rolls of paper towel do you go through in a week? In a month? It might be time to ditch the addiction and adapt a more sustainable (not to mention affordable) way to deal with spills. For example, the euroScrubby dishcloth is a super absorbent little towel which can be used over and over again, reducing your household's need for disposable paper towels.

 

NO: Plastic Straws

YES: Metal Straws

 

Straws are a lot of fun do drink from, and if you don't think so, chances are your kids do! So whether you use them on a daily basis or for the occasional cocktail, metal straws are a classy and sustainable alternative to plastic ones. If cleaning them (there are brushes made for this) seems like too much of a hassle, old-school paper ones are still a better choice than plastic straws.

 

NO: Plastic Bag Lunch Bags

Yes: Cute Reusable Lunch Containers

 

Our society went from brown bagging to plastic bagging things. Though schools have smartened up and made parents think twice about the waste they were putting in kids' lunches, their own lunches often don't follow suit. There are so many options available for packing lunches, from stainless steel containers, to fun bento boxes, this is an easy way to eliminate a lot of plastic wrap, bags, ziplocks, and more.

 

NO: Dish Soap Bottles

YES: Refillable Dish Soap Bottles

 

It's true that you can recycle your dish soap container once it's empty, but it's better if you can eliminate that as well! When you refill your containers, it makes getting a new container unnecessary, as all you really need is the inside contents anyway, right? We love the idea of refilling dish soap pumps and we offer refill stations at our stores for especially this reason. And since you aren't getting a new bottle, we offer a discount as well!

 

 

As you can see, it doesn't take much to make your kitchen a lot closer to being zero-waste. Paired with conscious food buying and good sorting habits, you'll be on your way to leaving nothing but a green legacy on this planet!

 

Shop your Zero Waste Kitchen Essentials at your local Mrs.Greenway store or online!

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