7 Essential Items To Help Reduce Waste In Your Kitchen
Food waste, and waste related to eating make up a sobering portion of our waste stream. A National Environment Agency study released in Dec 2017 reported about 2.5kg of food waste is thrown away by an average Singapore home each week, and this makes up 50% of all waste the home disposes. And that just accounts for food alone – we still haven’t discussed the looming problem of disposable plates, forks, spoons, plastic take-away containers, coffee cups and lids, plastic bags, and so much more.
On top of that – much of this food has been imported in single-use packaging, like plastic containers and plastic-coated cardboard boxes. Let’s just say the first step is admitting we have a problem.
With these staggering images in mind, there is so much we can do in our home kitchens to alleviate some of the environmental stresses of such excessive waste.
1. Pick up urban composting
I have to admit, I struggle with this. In my mind, I don’t know if I have enough time and resources to maintain a compost pile! But I know that’s simply an excuse. Thankfully, I found this article and on the plus side, no more need to buy expensive fertilizers for my dying plants.
2. A reusable coffee cup
Ditch the leaking paper cup and flimsy plastic lid, and upgrade yourself to coffee luxury with a real cup. Not only is a reusable coffee cup better for our mother earth, but it also features other perks such as being spill-proof and keeping your coffee hotter for way longer.
3. Reusable straws
A lunchtime visit to any hawker centre makes it apparent - people here love plastic straws. On tables are straws in cups with lids, poked into plastic film-sealed cups, and even in mineral water bottles. (Read more here)
Plastic straws are basically just awful – most recycling facilities can’t recycle them, it’s the 11th most common item found in ocean trash, Get a resuable metal or bamboo straw please. All you bubble tea drinkers, take note!
4. Glass or metal storage and to-go containers
Store your takeaways right and tight with reusable options such as metal or glass containers. I know all too well the snide remarks and eye-rolling that you will bound to receive from food vendors but just smile and persist. You are making a positive change! If you are more concerned about weight, go with the metal containers.
5. Cast-iron pans and pots
Don’t bother with new fangled contraptions such as plastic-coated Teflon pans, which are all too easy to ruin and aren’t known for their lifespan. Instead, stick with tried and true cookware such as cast iron pans. They take you from the stove top to the ovens and back. What’s not to love? Not to mention that perfect sear on the cauliflower steak :)
6. Recyclable and eco dish washing tools and detergent
Washing your dishes shouldn’t produce more trash. Look for eco-friendly sponges or replaceable sponge heads that are compostable and recyclable. Don’t forget about the choice of detergent too as water pollution by chemicals (such as detergents) is a real problem especially when it can come back to bite us in our drinking water source.
7. And finally...Eco Bags
You knew it was coming! But don’t be that person taking is 1 plastic bag for each produce item. Be that person that brings your own (fashionable) grocery bag. But if that well-meaning auntie shoves the bag in your face, at least reuse it for several times before tossing it away! Come on, that is the least you can do!