SEWING PROJECTS FOR A ZERO-WASTE LIFE | SEWING VS WASTE IN THE KITCHEN (PART 1)

SEWING PROJECTS FOR A ZERO-WASTE LIFE | SEWING VS WASTE IN THE KITCHEN (PART 1)

Sewing for a zero waste life is turning into a series here on the blog. If you missed the initial post on fighting the Big 4 of disposable plastic with your secret weapon, sewing, you can check it out here. I also tackled waste in the bathroom in this post.

Well, dear readers, the time has come now to tackle the waste in the kitchen that can be defeated with the help of our sewing skills, therefore cutting out waste from our lives and benefiting the environment. Plus such great scrap-busting ideas as well…

So here are a few ideas to get you started…

Zero waste in the kitchen | ALTERNATIVES TO CLING FILM

Usually the kitchen is the undisputed domain of my husband. That means that he calls the shots on tools, ingredients and consumables in there. He is by no means against living more sustainably, but sometimes it’s easy to just do what you have always done, i.e. cover stuff up in cling film. This goes for things that go in the fridge, as well as packed lunches and so on.

Obviously, cling film is quite a bad material to use, as it’s mostly unrecyclable in most council areas in the UK, and I assume in many other places. If you live anywhere near these Marks & Spencer stores in the UK (M&S Cribbs Causeway, Loughton, Bluewater, Fosse Park, Westfield Stratford, Paddington Waterside and Peterborough), they have started a trial where you can take all unrecyclable plastic back to them and it will be turned into playground equipment. I work in Paddington, so we save all our film at home and I take it into Waterside. But of course, avoid or reduce is much higher in the hierarchy than recycle, so let’s look at how we could replace that pesky cling film.

SAVE THIS FOR LATER ON PINTEREST

How to make wax cloth

Before we dig into specific tutorials, I wanted to share a few ideas on how to make beeswax cloth wraps, which has been widely used as a plastic replacement in the kitchen, for all sorts of purposes.

They work really well for both covering as well as wrapping food, and they are reusable and washable. Also, you can reuse all those pieces of quilting cotton you never knew what to do with. And they will look funky and unique too!

Fabric covering for dishes, pans and pots

It’s one of my pet peeves to have uncovered food in the fridge, even when I was living with my parents. Even if it’s just a plate. So here are a few simple tutorials that you can try out to swap the usual go-to solution: cling film.

The elasticated versions are an alternative to wax cloth ones. The wax paper moulds on its own, so there is no need for the elastic. However, those cannot be used in the microwave or to cover hot food, because the wax melts. Also, neither should be used to cover raw meat or fish.

Reusable sandwich bags

Another culprit that requires cling film are sandwiched and snacks. So here are a few very cute ideas that you can DIY with fabric and a sewing machine.

Zero waste in the kitchen | Paper towel alternatives

Another major cause for waste in the kitchen are disposable paper towels. This is one habit that I am trying very very hard to kick, but it’s probably harder than the other ones. Convenience is very hard to give up, isn’t it?

But if you are a better person than me, here are a few tutorials on how to make reusable towels for your kitchen.


Waste in the kitchen is clearly a lengthy subject, so I decided to break this post up in two part. Next time we’re tackling a few more ideas.

WANT MORE ZERO WASTE SEWING INSPIRATION? CHECK OUT MY PINTEREST BOARD FOR LOADS MORE IDEAS

BUT IN THE MEANTIME, I WOULD LOVE YOUR IDEAS TOO. HAVE YOU USED ANY OF THESE PLASTIC SWAPS? HOW ARE YOU FINDING IT? AND PLEASE RECOMMEND ANY OTHER TUTORIALS I SHOULD INCLUDE IN THE COMMENTS BELOW.

ENJOYED THIS POST?

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10 Comments

  1. 29 March 2019 / 1:56 PM

    Interesting post, Alex. The reusable paper towel on a roll fascinated me. I use far too many paper towels.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      1 April 2019 / 9:02 AM

      Glad you found it useful! I know, I’m the same. I’m trying to convince my husband to take this on (not very successfully though).

  2. 31 March 2019 / 3:40 AM

    I have made beeswax wraps, which I use, but my husband (also king of the kitchen) can’t give up cling film or paper towels. I have managed to reduce the amount of cling film he uses, but he adores paper towels and at least they are biodegradable (at least the ones we use). I am quite intrigued by the towel on the roll and might explore this. Another great post Alex.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      4 April 2019 / 7:34 PM

      Thanks, Sue! So glad you found it useful! I haven’t yet proposed the reusable towels to my husband, but we got silicone covers and he’s very happy with them. At least it’s not cling film…

  3. 31 March 2019 / 11:28 AM

    To reduce our disposable plastic use, I have been using reusable plastic containers instead of plastic wrap and sandwich bags. The containers, at least can be recycled. I am in the process of making bags to take to the store to buy my veggies, but I have found I HATE sewing tulle. I will get it done eventually.

    However, we haven’t used paper towels or paper napkins, for about 30 years. I have a basket of rags and I use those anywhere you would use a paper towel. Any clothing or fabric made from cotton or linen works. I cut used clothing and/or fabric that is too far gone to go to a thrift store into varying sizes, and use those whenever I would use a paper towel. If they get used for something disgusting (we have dogs), I toss the used rag out. Otherwise they get washed along with everything else. Works great, I can’t imagine going back now.

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      4 April 2019 / 7:36 PM

      I like containers too, but they tend to be a bit bulky in my bag when I take them in. My mum used rags for ages, back in the day there were no paper towels, so we we used what textiles spared. Funny how things have changed, and not always sure it’s for the better.

  4. 2 April 2019 / 6:42 PM

    Massive thank you and bang on time, I’m currently revisiting our kitchen, no more plastic chopping boards, I’ve even made my own lidded ceramic bowls for leftovers…. and was just looking up how to make oil/wax cloth sandwich bags, instead of using our reusable plastic sandwich boxes, apparently when washed warm, they release chemicals…

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      4 April 2019 / 7:39 PM

      So glad it was useful. I personally don’t have a problem with plastic per se, it’s more about the disposability on items. It really makes me feel so guilty when I use something once and then throw it away.

  5. 7 April 2019 / 11:14 AM

    A really easy way to store food in the fridge is to put it in a bowl and turn a plate upside-down on top of the bowl. No sewing or new products required. 🙂

    • sewrendipityalex
      Author
      7 April 2019 / 4:30 PM

      Yes, definitely a great idea, my mum used to do that all the time. But some shapes are not suitable for that (square, oval, too small), so it could be fun to see a pop of colour in the fridge :).

So, what do you think?

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