A ZERO WASTE KITCHEN PART 3: CLEANING
Welcome to part 3 of our zero waste kitchen series! This time around we’re focusing on how to keep your kitchen sparkling the zero waste way.
Check under most people’s kitchen sinks and I bet I know what you’ll find: a whole lot of plastic. Plastic tubs of dishwasher tablets, plastic spray bottles full of cleaners, plastic sponges and brushes. So much of this is hard to avoid because almost everything that we use to keep our kitchens clean either comes packed in or made of plastic.
Make no mistake, it has taken me a long time to overhaul my kitchen and habits to reduce waste in this area. In fact, it’s an ongoing process. The best first step is to use up whatever you already have and then find a better alternative that doesn’t have to come in single-use plastic.
Refillable Spray bottle
Once you’re ready to switch to a lower waste cleaning solution, an easy way to do this is to visit us at Tare Market, where you can stock up on a range of different cleaners. Depending on the type of cleaner you’re after, an old, clean spray bottle could be the perfect thing to bring in and refill. If you don’t have one, fear not, we have glass spray bottles available too!
Bulk All-Purpose Cleaner
For squeaky clean countertops, we have our bulk all-purpose cleaner. It’s plant-based and safe to use on all sealed hard surfaces. The best part is that it doesn’t have that nose wrinkling scent of ~500 chemicals that many harsh cleaners do. I refill an old spray bottle with it once every couple of months and love using it on my kitchen countertops and stove, knowing that it handles spills without containing toxic nasties.
If you feel like a bit of DIY, we also carry Castile soap that can be used as a base to make a whole range of different cleaners. For a great basic recipe, see our previous post on making a Castile soap cleaner here.
Bulk Floor Cleaner
It’s not just counters we can help within the bulk department; our newest cleaning product is a bulk floor cleaner, that comes in a refreshing (but not overpowering) lemon scent. It can be used on all sealed surfaces and you simply dilute a quarter cup in a gallon of water. You can also use it at full strength to spot clean stains. I usually refill this into some kind of bottle that I can easily pour the right amount from when I need it.
Now, let’s talk about dishes. We can help with bulk dish-washing liquid, solid dish blocks, and dishwasher powder that you can put into your own bottles and tubs and keep refilling. Hurrah for no more single-use bottles!
When it comes to cleaning implements, usually plastic reigns in sponges, scrubbers and brushes. Instead, how about cute Eco sponges made of repurposed fairtrade coffee sacks and cotton? They’re safe to throw in the dishwasher or washing machine whenever needed and contain no plastic. Or we have plenty of fully recyclable/compostable dish and bottle brushes from Redecker and EcoCoconut. These brushes are either made of coconut or Tampico fibers. What’s Tampico you ask? It’s a natural fiber originating from Mexico and usually made from agave plants, how cool!
With alternatives like these, you won’t be sending microplastics down the drain as your plastic sponge breaks down.
Remember, at the end of the day the goal is to lower your waste, not to be perfect immediately. Start by gradually shifting away from wasteful products, and you’ll be on your way to a low-waste kitchen in no time!
For more DIY advice, see Lisa Bronner’s helpful blog here on what you can (or shouldn’t!) mix with Castile soap.
If you feel like listening over reading, tune in to this story from MPR on plastic pollution in our water.