From plastic-free ways to box up your leftovers to reusable food containers for your weekly essentials, we’ve got you covered…
Glass jars – the ultimate reusable food container
We do love the humble Kilner jar. Not only are these airtight jars ideal for storing everything from rice and pasta to sloe-gin, they look rather lovely lined up on a shelf (which is more than we can say for plastic packets). And they come in so many sizes: we particularly like the Kilner Breakfast Jar, which is just right for filling with granola, fruit and yoghurt, and comes with its own spoon attached.
The only issue with glass jars is that they’re not always easy to pour from. It’s amazing how far across your kitchen floor dried pasta can spread when you spill it. So you might want to invest in a decent scoop or ladle to make life easier.
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DIY cotton bowl covers – a crafty solution for leftovers
Most leftovers can just be stored in a bowl in the fridge and topped with a reusable cover. You can pick elasticated cotton covers up in some highstreet kitchen stores, but if you’re a dab hand with a needle, why not whip up your own?
- Cut out a circle of cotton, a couple of centimetres wider than your bowl.
- Pin and then sew a seam around the edge of the circle, leaving a small gap.
- Feed a length of elastic through the gap and work it all the way through the seam to the other side (attaching the end to a paperclip helps).
- Tighten the elastic slightly so it’ll keep the cover in place over the bowl.
- Sew the two ends of elastic in place.
Fed up of leftovers? Check out these tips for reducing food waste.
Reusable silicone bags – multi-tasking, eco-friendly food containers
There’s no denying that plastic ziplock bags are handy for packing sandwiches in or freezing food. However, they’re not designed to be reused and can’t be easily recycled. Silicone bags are like the supercharged version of a sandwich bag. Not only can these non-toxic bags be used for keeping your sarnies safe in your bag, most are also freezable, dishwasher safe and can even be used to reheat food in the oven or microwave. Now that’s what we call a multi-tasker.
Bread bags – a nifty kitchen storage solution for small spaces
The French have been using cotton bread bags for years. It’s just taken us a bit longer to cotton on (see what we did there?). Fabric bags are actually better for keeping your loaf fresh than plastic ones, as they allow air to circulate and won’t trap moisture. If you’re not going to eat the whole loaf in a couple of days, freeze half. Pop the rest in your bread bag and hang it on the back of a door. No bread bin equals more worktop space.
Beeswax wraps – eco food wrap without the plastic
A few years ago, hardly anyone had heard of beeswax wraps – now they’re everywhere, in various sizes and hundreds of cute prints. If you haven’t tried them for yourself yet, you’re missing out. These nifty eco food wraps can be wrapped around food just like cling film, but they’re plastic-free. Fancy making your own wrap? All you need is a piece of thin cotton material and some beeswax pellets.
- Cut the cotton to size.
- Place a piece of greaseproof paper on a baking tray and lay the cotton on top.
- Scatter a handful of the beeswax pellets evenly over the fabric.
- Cover with another piece of greaseproof paper (make sure it’s at least a centimetre larger than the cotton on every side).
- Iron over the paper. You should be able to use the iron to gently smooth the pellets across the cotton. Don’t have it on too hot a setting or you could singe the cotton. And make sure you don't get any wax on your iron as it’ll stick and you’ll be picking it off for ages (in other words, learn from our mistakes).
- Peel off the greaseproof paper and hang the cloth up to dry (be careful, it could be hot). Wash the wrap with warm soapy water after each use and it should last you for months, if not years. If it starts to get a bit unwieldy, pop it onto a baking tray and warm it in an oven for five minutes so the beeswax can remelt. Or just dig out the iron again.
Planning to go zero waste? Check out our tips for living without a rubbish bin.