Two eco-friendly changes to make in your kitchen
1. Switch regular cleaners to non-toxic cleaning products
Why are they bad for the environment? We assume they are safe, but in fact, many popular household cleaners are dangerously toxic. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) categorises many of the chemicals in our household cleaning products as “volatile organic compounds,” which can be harmful in different ways. These chemicals include phosphorous (which constitutes about 30 to 40 percent of dishwasher detergents), nitrogen, and ammonia.
When you use these chemicals in your toilets, sinks, dishwashers, or other appliances, the chemicals are rinsed down the drain and go to waste water treatment facilities, where the majority of contaminants are removed before the water makes its way back to rivers and lakes. However, not all the pollutants from these chemical products are removed, and over time, they can build up to have a substantial and negative effect on our plants and animals.
What can I do to be part of the solution? Non-toxic,green cleaning products are easy to find at your local supermarket and that’s a quick and easy way to reduce the amount of toxins in your home. To support the zero waste trend it’s actually surprisingly easy to make your own cleaning products with household items like vinegar and baking soda and these can be stored in glass jars or a reusable spray bottle.
Here's a quick and easy recipe:
DIY Eco all-purpose cleaner
This is a favourite as it uses essential oils that are naturally anti-bacterial and anti-microbial.
Combine 100 ml white vinegar with 300ml of water and a 8 drops of eucalyptus essential oil. Shake it up in a spray bottle for a homemade, non-toxic cleaner.
You can use Tea tree oil instead of Eucalyptus oil.
Replace cling film with beeswax wraps or other eco options.
Why it is bad for the environment? Although cling film is cheap, easy to use and keeps leftovers fresh for longer,there are several catches: plastic wrap contributes to the larger plastic pollution crisis, it’s difficult to recycle, and it’s made from potentially harmful chemicals, especially as they break down in the environment.
A key concern is that plastic wrap is rarely recycled because without specialised equipment it can clog machinery and is expensive to recycle so it generally ends up in landfill.
When cling film ends up in landfills or incinerators, both the PVC and PVDC that it contains can release a highly toxic chemical called dioxin according to the World Health Organization.
Most of us are aware that in marine environments, plastic wrap contributes to a larger plastic pollution crisis.However, in addition to that, National Geographic highlights that unlike other plastic products, scientists are finding that PVC and PVDC used to make clingfilm easily picks up bacteria and metals and those contaminated pieces of microplastic then harm the fish that mistake them for food.
What can I do to be part of the solution? Replacing cling film in the kitchen is easier than you might think - here are some simple ideas:
· Use a lunchbox for your sandwiches instead of wrapping them with cling film
· Wrap your sandwich in a beeswax wrap
· Use reusable containers with lids instead of covering plates and bowls with cling film to refrigerate food
· Place leftovers in a bowl and cover with a beeswax wrap
· Pour unused liquids into containers with lids instead of covering a pouring spout with cling film
· Use a glass or ceramic container to reheat food in the microwave and cover it with a plate or microwave lid
· Use a cake tin for storing cakes, muffins or biscuits
Beeswax wraps are an eco-friendly, reusable alternative to cling film being made from completely natural ingredients like organic cotton or muslin cloth that has been coated in beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin. Not only are they environmentally friendly,but they are also malleable, water resistant and airtight which keeps food fresh from the antibacterial properties the natural oils produce.