Friday, July 11, 2014

Replacing Plastic with Glass and Stainless Steel [#CTWW]

Now that my baby is a toddler, he is on the move. As he is able to play more on his own, I can get a few chores done around the house. I have realized that I spend a lot of time doing chores and activities in the kitchen. From doing dishes to prepping food, the kitchen has become my most important room. I want to create an environment where family time means cooking and eating together. This week's challenge fits perfectly with creating a safe and loving environment in the kitchen.

This week's challenge:

This week, go into your kitchen and look for at least one way to make it greener. You might choose to do something simple like add an aerator to the faucet, convert to cloth towels instead of paper, replace a light bulb with a CFL or LED, or unplug an appliance (especially those with clocks). Maybe you are in the market for new cookware, dishes, etc. and could look for green options. Does your kitchen need paint? Perhaps you grab a brush and use non-VOC colors. You might even be considering a kitchen remodel and could search out the most appropriate Eco-friendly cabinets, counter tops, flooring, etc. The idea, this week, is to look around your kitchen and make a green improvement.

A lot of eco-friendly improvements have been made in the kitchen over the past few years. Let's recount:
  1. Natural dish soap (Tropical Traditions Dish Liquid)
  2. Natural dishwasher tablets
  3. Glass food storage containers
  4. Organic cotton towels
  5. Stainless steel and 100% silicone utensils
  6. Stainless steel and cast iron enameled cookware
  7. Unplugging most appliances when not in use (aside from oven and microwave)
As with any effort to improve our lives, becoming eco-friendly and green in the kitchen is a continuous effort for us. Yet, this effort also presents challenges and needs for compromise. After a couple of years of trying to transition away from paper towels, I have come to accept that it is just not going to happen. The paper towel roll still hides in the cabinet above the stove. I still put out small towels for wiping up spills. And I purchase recycled paper towels. Since converting to cloth towels is not in our future, I am currently focusing on food storage containers.

I have acquired a good collection of glass storage containers for storing leftovers and reheating. The beauty of glass storage containers is that they can be used to reheat food in the microwave, oven, or toaster oven. No need to dirty another dish. Since glass tends to get heavy, I have started purchasing stainless steel containers. Though these cannot be used in the microwave, they provide a lighter eco-friendly option for storing and transporting food. Next on my list is to purchase 3+ cup containers for storing food. This will eliminate the need for plastic storage containers that I currently use.

The plastic storage container cabinet is still overflowing. This cabinet has become one of my toddler's favorite play areas. He loves taking out the containers and lids, stacking them, banging on them, etc. Some of the containers and lids have cracked. These will be repurposed for other storage uses (nails, small toys, etc.), donated (if in good shape), or recycled. I try to repurpose and upcycle items before recycling. However, you can only have so many plastic containers.

>> What is one eco-friendly improvement that you can make to your kitchen??

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