With a growing population and a rampant consumption habit, we as humans are creating unprecedented levels of waste that’s serving as a major threat to the planet. Extracting raw materials to produce the goods that we buy consumes large amounts of energy and causes pollution due to carbon emissions, forest logging or depletion of minerals and more. Furthermore, processing these materials is just as bad for the environment. Not to mention the dire condition of the goods once used and how they rot in a landfill for years to come, making the whole process a toxic cycle.
By practicing zero-waste living, we can decrease our negative climate impact as it focuses primarily on reducing, reusing and recycling. An estimated 42% of greenhouse emissions are due to the production and consumption of goods like food, products and packaging. Zero-waste living can ensure that we conserve the energy used and reduce our carbon emissions significantly.
Although being zero-waste may not be as easy as it sounds for many, there are small steps that you can take that can still make a major impact. Starting with your kitchen and your food habits. To help you begin at home, we’ve put together the 5 best zero-waste food storage options that you can opt for.
1. Glass Jars
A pantry staple in many homes, glass jars are universally found and kindly used all around the world. They make for a must-have in zero-waste kitchens and for good reason. Thanks to their practical, plastic-free composition, glass jars are the most versatile storage option available. They are easily recyclable if broken and add a wonderful and clean touch to your kitchen. Plus, they keep food fresh, from dry foods like cereal, grains, and coffee beans to spillable foods like sauces, gravy or broth and are easily found in all grocery or thrift stores.
2. Stainless Steel Containers
It’s no surprise that stainless steel tiffins are such a hit in most Indian kitchens. Being easy to clean and carry as well as ultra-hygienic, they serve as a wonderful alternative to plastic. Just like glass, stainless steel is highly recyclable should it get damaged somehow, so you can rest assured knowing that your used tiffins will be repurposed mindfully. Unfortunately, stainless steel isn’t microwavable but it preserves the freshness of the food and makes it last longer, especially the ones that come with an airtight lid.
3. Beeswax Wraps
A great alternative to plastic wrap is beeswax wraps. Biodegradable and easy to mould, beeswax wraps are essentially cloth layered in beeswax and tree resin. When warmed up with the natural heat of your palms, it can simply be moulded around the food and creates a natural seal to protect the food. They’re easy to use and can be used multiple times. Once you think the wrap has done its due, just pop it in the compost bin and let nature do its job.
Shop our favourite beeswax wraps here.
4. Silicone Bags
Single-use items can cause a massive impact on our planet’s health, Ziploc bags being one of the worst offenders. Since they are not meant to be reused, are too thin to be recycled and end up getting lost in landfills or blown into the ocean, they are a no-no in a zero-waste kitchen. Instead, switch to reusable silicone bags that can be reused for as long as you wish, provided you take proper care.
If you’re looking for a sustainable option, try these.
5. Cloth Bags
What is a better solution to plastic produce bags? Bring your own organic cloth bags to the grocery store. So versatile and can be used anywhere, cloth bags are not just exclusive to kitchen and pantry supplies. While you can definitely store fresh produce like leafy greens and vegetables in these bags, you can use them to bulk buy dry goods like rice and pasta as well. Apart from that, cloth bags make for an amazing carry-all for farmer’s market runs, thrift shopping or any errand that you have on your to-do list.
Food is one of the biggest sources of waste in most households. To be zero-waste, you need to be mindful of the food you’re consuming and in what proportions you’re consuming it. Finding an effective and zero-waste way to keep the food fresh is essential and with these easy, environment-friendly options, you can not only save a lot of money but also utilise products mindfully, ensuring that they’re used until their last wear.