Kate on Conservation

New ways to reduce plastic waste in your kitchen


This ‘No Waste November’ I’ve continued my yearly theme of searching for new ways to exchange my frequent household purchases (toiletries, cleaning products, etc.) for items that are more ‘planet-friendly’; whether that be items that have swapped out the plastic packaging for recycled card; items that have removed environmentally harmful ingredients, or switching from disposable to re-useable items.

For this year’s instalment, I’ve had a little help from zero-waste brand, If You Care*, to find zero-waste alternatives to help make five main areas of everyday kitchen tasks more planet-friendly.

1. Plastic-free baking

If You Care has a diverse range of products to replace the traditional ‘throw-away’ items used during baking. From cake and pie pans made from paper, to FSC certified baking rounds and parchment paper made from unbleached totally chlorine-free (TCF) greaseproof paper –meaning no chlorine or chlorine derivatives are dumped into lakes, rivers and streams.

All of these products, in fact, are produced with a view to reducing the amount of waste in our waste streams.

2. Food and drink preparation

The ‘If You Care’ brand started out with a single product; of unbleached coffee filters, back in 1990 (making it as old as me!). Today, there’s an extended range of products for food and drink preparation; from tea and coffee filters, to non-stick roasting bags (perfect for roasting vegetables — I eat a plant-based diet, so haven’t tried them out with any meat-based products); and Biomass Firelighters, which contain only two ingredients: FSC wood and non-GMO vegetable oil.

If You Care products are carefully and deliberately crafted to have the least environmental impact and the lightest carbon footprint — nothing should remain after the product has been used and properly disposed of.

Each product’s packaging details the item’s life cycle, usage, environmental benefits, and how to appropriately dispose of it.

3. Food Wraps

I love this particular range, as it’s an eco-friendly upscale in a number of ways.

In 2004, If You Care launched the very first Aluminium Foil made from 100% recycled aluminium. While traditional foil manufacturing is a power-intensive process, If You Care’s aluminium foil uses 95% less energy in its production, and because there is no need to mine (given that it’s recycled), production creates less waste, while reusing a precious resource.

This product can be recycled yet again once used, provided that your local recycling centre accepts aluminium foil.

The Unbleached Wax paper in this range is coated with 100% natural soybean wax, making it ideal for wrapping foods without affecting flavour.

Conventional waxed paper is coated with paraffin wax – a petroleum based product. Soybean wax is clean, safe, non-toxic, biodegradable, and comes from a renewable and sustainable resource.

4. Garbage and food waste disposal

Until recently, it hadn’t even occurred to me that there could be better, more eco-friendly options available when it comes to bin bags and food waste bags; so discovering this range has been particularly thought-provoking for me.

If You Care food waste bags are certified compostable, as they are made from potato starch (from non-GMO starch potatoes) blended with a certified, fully compostable polymer. No plasticisers are added.

The kitchen bags and trash bags are made from a minimum of 89% recycled post consumer material, meaning they contain have the highest amount of post consumer recycled material available on the market.

These bags help reduce CO2 emissions, petroleum consumption and landfill waste. Using 1 Kg (2.2 lbs) of recycled polyethylene plastic instead of producing new polyethylene plastic reduces carbon dioxide emissions by at least 1.5 Kg and crude oil consumption by 2 Litres.

5. Cleaning products

For a long time I’ve been aware of some of the ‘nasties’ found in cleaning products; strong chemicals which can end up polluting our water systems, and often sold in bulky plastic packaging… If You Can offers an alternative to that.

Dishwaster tablets

These Automatic Dishwasher Tablets (pictured above) are super concentrated, containing a potent blend of mineral and plant-derived cleaning ingredients.

Made from the likes of coconut and rapeseed, they are biodegradable, non-toxic, have minimal impact on aquatic life and contain no phosphates and no chlorine. They come encased in a water soluble film which dissolves quickly in water, so there is no need to unwrap.

These dishwasher tablets replace larger dishwasher tabs (product weight is reduced by 45% to 55% when compared to other leading brands), and their lighter weight contributes to a reduction in emissions and energy consumption related to transport and handling. Using fewer raw materials for their storage, transportation, handling and distribution means less CO2 and less detergents (even biodegradable ones) will occur in waste waters.

Rubber gloves

Made from FSC Certified latex, the natural rubber used in these gloves is sourced from a responsibly managed plantation. Furthermore, the rubber tappers, who cut the bark to get the raw material flowing, have received a fair trade premium, and it is their decision how to spend their extra income.

Unlike other brands, If You Care Household Gloves are reusable, made from 100% latex and contain no fillers, so they are super strong and perfect for a variety of uses like dishwashing, house and bathroom cleaning and gardening.

Paper towels

Apparently, it takes 51,000 trees and 60 million gallons of water per day to produce the paper towels which we throw away after a few seconds of use. By using one sheet per week of reusable paper towels from If You Care, you can replace 18 rolls of conventional paper towels with just one roll! The packaging is also made from corn starch, which is certified compostable in commercial composting facilities, leading to a further reduction in waste, greenhouse gases and diversion from landfill.

Plastic-free, zero waste, laundry detergent

These plastic-free, zero-waste laundry detergent strips have been created by Serious Soaps (the brand behind Serious Tissues)**. They’re ultra-concentrated into strips so they don’t require a plastic bottle.

Just pop them in the machine with your washing and they dissolve into liquid detergent. Not only that, but for every pack sold, Serious Soaps recover 1kg of ocean plastic – the equivalent of 50 plastic bottles. 

*These items were gifted from If You Care.

** This item was gifted from Serious Tissues

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