• Emily Westlake

Practical Solutions for the Kitchen

Updated: Jan 2, 2021

Welcome to my blog!

I'm Emily, and I love finding practical solutions that help me to be more eco-friendly. The usual eco-friendly motto is REDUCE - REUSE - RECYCLE.

For me, REDUCE means to try not to buy single-use plastic, and to find alternatives (such as cotton wraps instead of cling film, etc); REUSE means that, when I do have items that are non-recyclable (e.g. plastic bags/containers that food comes in, or plastic bags/polystyrene that often comes in non-food parcels), I keep them to reuse as much as possible; and RECYCLE is not just to put items in the kerbside recycling bins, but also to take things to Terracycle drop-off points near where I live (e.g. crisp packets, pet food sachets, etc). I'll write more about each of these in future blog posts.

So to start with, as many of us have a lot of plastic in our lives, let's look at how to reuse some of it, before thinking about how to reduce.

Reusable bag storage:

This time last year I was trying to figure out how to store plastic bags I wanted to reuse - both food bags and non-food bags. I started making string bags, like in the picture on the right, and hung them on hooks and cupboard door knobs. It was such an easy solution, and I can easily see what's in each bag. A couple of the bags have an extra hole in the bottom, so I can take things out of the top or bottom.

Before storing bags for reuse, make sure they're properly clean and dry. I have a hook on the wall of my kitchen, which I've attached a string to, so I can peg items upside down to dry after washing. Note: in my experience, bags that have had cheese, fish, or meat in, can't be reused - however, some of these can be recycled with Terracycle.


Reusable kitchen roll:

One of the bags I made was a bit smaller than the others, so I started using it for reusable cloth kitchen roll (Eco Egg reusable bamboo towels). The first time I used the roll, I was able to tear off a piece of kitchen roll each time I needed it. But I then needed somewhere to keep the sheets to reuse them. So having a small-ish string bag, with an extra hole at the bottom, was perfect for this. When I've used a sheet, I put it in a bowl, and then wash them all together when I've used them all up.


Fruit and vegetable storage:

My kitchen is pretty tiny, so there's not alot of surface space to store fresh fruit and vegetables. So I recently crocheted a hammock to put fruit and veg in, so I can hang it up from cupboard door knobs, and I can see what I have more easily. I usually use it for bananas, because they can get ripe really quickly, but sometimes use it for other items.

It's basically just a crochet string bag, with a lower front than back, and 2 loops at the top to hang it up by. I will make some more to sell on this website soon - let me know if you have any colour preferences.

I hope you have found these suggestions helpful. Do get in touch if you want more information on how to make these, or if you're interested in buying one of these bags from me.

In the shop on this website, you can buy the pattern for the small string bag with a hole in the base - this is the one I've used for my reusable kitchen roll. I am in the process of making a pattern for a larger one, and for the fruit & veg hammocks.

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