When I hear the word “disposable,” I usually cringe. That’s because the items in our home that we consider “disposable” — aren’t. Think about the things we use one time and simply toss in the trash. You know, everything from plastic wrap to straws to coffee filters. Replace those trashy items with ones that you can reuse. Not only will you waste less, you’ll save money.
One of my favorite finds is reusable silicone covers that I can use in place of plastic wrap when reheating and storing foods. They come in a variety of sizes and they seal tightly on glass, ceramic, metal, and even plastic containers. Since silicone is BPA-free, these are a safe choice for microwaving foods. Then there are those plastic baggies we use in school lunches and the like. There are many reusable options including colorful and washable baggies or sandwich wraps in every size, hard-to-break glass containers in snack and lunch sizes, and a wide variety of stainless steel food storage options. There are also solutions to your small plastic problems. For instance, people who love to drink with straws now have stainless steel and glass versions they can reuse endlessly.
There are lots of trashy items we use as we cook. Aluminum foil is one. Instead of tearing off a strip and using it just once, opt for a thermal cover. These are excellent options to keep your foods warm and they are washable. Lots of people use aluminum foil to get foods crispy. Your reusable option does the trick, too. It’s called a mesh crisper. This mesh sheet sits right on the rack in your oven and works quickly. Then, you can throw it in the dishwasher instead of the trash. Bakers also swear by parchment paper. It’s another extremely difficult, if not impossible, item to recycle. There are now reusable baking sheet liners that are stick-free and dishwasher-safe.
There’s plenty of paper waste to contend with in the kitchen. Paper towels and paper napkins cannot be recycled after they are used. They also end up costing you quite a bit over the course of a year. I have a drawer of kitchen towels and rags that replace my paper towels. Coffee filters are another small paper item but can add up to a whole lot of waste over the years. Investing in a reusable coffee filter for your coffee maker will save you money in just a matter of weeks. It also means fewer of those used coffee filters ending up in our landfills. And there are ingenious options for the smallest of paper problems. I like the new silicone cupcake liners that come in all kinds of colors and make it super simple to bake.