Melanie, founder of Moonmoon shares some easy ideas for storing food with less plastic.
Many of us are in the habit of using cling film and single-use plastic bags to store our food. It's probably what we saw our parents doing when we were children. However, our throwaway culture has led to increasing levels of plastic packaging creating harmful emissions and increasing levels of plastic waste in our natural environment.
Every year the UK generates more than two million metric tons of plastic packaging waste. This equates to roughly 36 kilograms of plastic packaging waste per person (source: Statistica.com).
We now know that we need to cut down on single-use plastic to protect our environment. By making some small changes at home, we are able to reduce our own plastic footprint by choosing to store our food with plastic free, reusable alternatives. Many of these options may be sitting in your home already.
1. Ditch the cling film and switch to beeswax wraps
Do you use clingfilm to wrap up food and leftovers? It may feel convenient, but plastic wrap is a big contributor to the plastic waste polluting our oceans. In fact, a staggering 1.2 billion metres of the stuff (roughly 740,000 miles) is used by homes in the UK every single year! That's enough stretchy, slow-to-break-down cling film to wrap its way around the entire circumference of the Earth 30 times over!
Beeswax wraps are a natural, biodegradable alternative that can be used for wrapping food and covering bowls. The combination of beeswax, tree resin and jojoba oil make a super effective and naturally antibacterial wrap. Perfect for keeping cheese fresh, wrapping half eaten fruit and vegetables and for covering leftovers. With good care and storage, you can reuse your wax food wraps for approximately a year.
2. Reuse glass jars
Sometimes the easiest option is just to reuse what we have already. Try reusing your glass jam jars. You can use them for so many different items from dry goods stored in your cupboards, or fruit and vegetables in your fridge.
Remove the labels and write on the glass jars or label them yourself with expiry dates and what is contained in there. Glass also freezes well so can be used to place things in the freezer such as cut up produce or leftovers.
3. Switch from single use plastic ‘ziploc’ bags to reusable silicone pouches
It may seem easy to rely on plastic zippy bags for storing your food, but this convenience is contributing to our plastic waste problem. However, there is a much better alternative.
Reusable Silicone bags are heatproof, freezer proof and BPA free. They can be used time and time again to store, carry and heat your food. Perfect for batching cooking (think portions of soup!) and for storing chopped fruit, vegetables and herbs. Use a washable marker to label what you put inside to easily locate it at a later date. Our slimline Moonmoon bags take up very little space too!
4. Buy loose produce
A great way to avoid storing your food in plastic is to try and buy it loose. Bring your own produce bags to collect fresh fruit and vegetables and check if there are any refill shops located nearby. Produce bags can be used to store items such as potatoes at home and refill shops allow you to bring your own containers, allowing you to shop without waste.
5. Cut down on plastic in your lunch box
Don’t forget there are many plastic free ways to carry your lunch (or your children’s) when out and about. One of the benefits of taking the plastic out of your lunch box, is that you prevent your food becoming tainted with BPA and other chemicals found in plastic.
Try making the switch to stainless steel lunch boxes and snack pots instead. By preparing your own sandwiches, salads, fruits and vegetables and storing them in this way, you can really cut down on your plastic waste. Our Moonmoon lunchbox range (including silicone pouches and beeswax wraps) can be used to pack a varied, tasty and healthy lunch box for your children or yourself.
6. Be mindful of waste at birthday parties
Shop for loose, fresh produce to cut down on unnecessary packaging. If you prepare your fruit and vegetables beforehand, store them in reusable silicone bags or stainless steel snack pots to keep them fresh for the party.
Don’t be tempted to wrap everything in clingfilm; beeswax wraps or a simple plate over the top will suffice. This will keep sandwiches, cheese, pre-made salads or pasta dishes fresh for your party. Our sauce pots will be handy for storing homemade dips or sauces. Don’t forget to save and store you leftovers using some of the ideas above to reduce your food waste too.
At Moonmoon, we believe that switching to reusables can help us to dramatically reduce our over-reliance on plastic at home. It is possible to make a real change today.
Be inventive! Use what you have and when do need to replace your food storage items, look for plastic free alternatives. Buy fresh where possible, from stores that sell loose produce. This will reduce the amount of plastic you bring into your home too. It’s a healthier choice for us and our environment!
Melanie was inspired to found Moonmoon after training to become a yoga teacher. A greater connection with nature led her on a mission to make reusables for storing food easier to use and more enjoyable, helping to reduce our impact on the planet.
More information at www.moonmoon.co.uk