Plastic seems to sneak into a lot of products that we buy. Sometimes it's obvious, such as plastic food containers, other times it's not so clear. Dig enough and you'll find plastic is hiding in beauty products (plastic microbeads) and the fibres of clothes (microplastic fibres such as polyester).
Plastic is used and disposed of so much that Canada's plastic waste in 2010 was about 1.15 million tonnes and the U.S.'s was about 37.83 million tonnes. This waste collects in our oceans, harms wildlife, and even gets into the food we eat (including certain fish). As consumers, it's a challenge to avoid plastic products completely, but there are ways to at least reduce plastic waste in our homes.
Some grocery-store foods, for example, come packaged in plastic bags and containers. Cooking food from scratch and with fresh, home-grown ingredients, is one way to lower our plastic use and get closer to a zero-waste lifestyle. Remember, it's about progress, not perfection.
Try cooking these foods at home to reduce plastic waste
Check out the 5 recipes below.
Get the recipe on goingzerowaste.com.
Bring the bakery home with you and fill your kitchen with the sweet smell of freshly baked bread coming out of the oven. You'll skip the plastic bags that grocery-store loaves are typically packaged in. Prep time for this is about 5-10 mins and cook time is about 30-40 mins.
Get the recipe on theguardian.com.
This recipe helps you cut your plastic yogurt container waste in half. Use the last scrapings of yogurt from your last container and make another batch of yogurt in jars. Preparation takes about 15 mins, and the set time is about 4-6 hours.
Get the recipe on dontwastethecrumbs.com
Imagine spreading a batch of homemade mayo on your sandwich. Delicious! This recipe is so quick you'll wonder why you ever bought mayo from the store in the first place. The preparation time is about 2 mins.
Get the recipe on greenify-me.com
A classic make-it-at-home staple. Convenient as it is to pick up, cookies from the grocery store tend to come packaged in clear plastic boxes. Your friends and family won't be disappointed if you start baking lots of these.
Get the recipe on treadingmyownpath.com
Once you try fresh pesto, you won't want to go back to store-bought. Skip the plastic jars, grab some herbs, and get spreading. This recipe includes 4 different plant-based recipes, so you have options. The preparation time is about 5-10 mins.
Making these grocery-store staples at home takes time, but it's a rewarding process. You'll find yourself throwing out less trash and enjoying home-cooked food more often, which is better for the environment and your tummy.
Now that you have some recipes to work with, try taking your homemade recipes to the next level with home-grown herbs and veggies.
There are some benefits to growing veggies and herbs at home
- Saving some cash. After a little investment upfront (soil amendments, fertilizer, and gardening supplies), you're all set to go. A handful of herbs comes to about $2 to $3 at the supermarket, which is about the same price as buying a starter kit.
- Improving the flavors in your cooking. It's inarguable that fresh produce has richer, deeper, more vibrant flavours than produce that has been shipped around and stored for days before reaching your table.
- Helping the environment. Shipped produce means pesticides and herbicides used to keep the produce fresh, and then gas used to drive the food to you.
Try growing herbs and veggies at home with seed paper
Fully plantable and zero waste, seed paper can be grown in the garden, in a pot, in your backyard or on your windowsill. Use basil or herb seed paper for at-home crafts, business cards, or special events, then plant the paper by following these planting instructions.
You can buy seed paper sheets for eco-friendly papercraft projects from Botanical PaperWorks. We have a variety of seed options, including wildflower, herb and veggie, and over 25 seed paper colors. Join our mailing list to receive emails with freebies, projects, coupons, green living tips, and decor ideas and follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Pinterest