Step 7: Storage containers for staples

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Recycling is not about throwing rubbish into the right recycling containers ( a common misconception in Spain!) but about re-using whatever you have so that you don’t end up throwing anything away, to either be remade in polluting and or energetic ways or to fill landfills. I keep all my dry staples either in shop bought glass jars I bought years and years ago or, reuse jars of items like tomatoes, pesto and cooked legumes that I buy from time to time. You can see that plastic and I have no kinship 😉 and ergo storage doesn’t have to be in plastic containers.

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I have seen stainless steel storage containers as well as ceramic, wooden or bamboo ones. The glass, ceramic and metal ones have the added advantage of being useful to store liquids like oil/ vinegar/ milk/soup/water/juices etc in. My fridge fair pops with these 😀

A word of warning re aluminium storage containers – they are best to avoid or you can make sure they are lined in food grade material. When in doubt, AVOID!

I find it convenient to wash and dry herbs and put them in mason/glass jars lined with a cloth, in the fridge. Ginger/ chilli/ onion and garlic go in glass jars too and stay fresh for long like this. In fact, I have a wooden crate full of glass jars and bottles of different sizes to store food items like feta cheese, sauces, vegetable milks and soups as well as the personal hygiene items I make (future posts, I promise!). Believe me, they are VERY handy! I even store food items in glass jars in the freezer and they work pretty well ( make sure to leave some space in every jar, for the moisture to expand in as it freezes). Glass especially mason jars are also so brilliant to store food in, for long term, like sauces, tomatoes, jams, soups etc.

So, let’s live sustainably and re-use what we have!

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Step 4: Bulk Goods

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You now have a fair idea now of all the items you have been buying which come in or are wrapped in plastic – pretty huge, huh? (Quick, remember your mantra and chant it a few times round about now). Wanna lower that number?

A good way to lower that number is by starting with your kitchen and the answer, Ladies and Gentlemen, is Bulk Goods!

Gulp! BULK goods? But I am just one/two! Why would I/ we need food items in BULK! (Minor heart attack/ FullSizeRender-3 19.02.49hysteria etc). Relax! The goods come in bulk which doesn’t mean that you have to buy in bulk. You can buy as much or as little as you like. The important thing is that no packaging is involved! (Gasp ) These goods include lentils, dried beans, peas, rice, flours, sugar, nuts, seeds, even cereals for your breakfast etc. The best bit is that you can either take your own bags ( buy some muslin ones) or use the bags these sort of places supply. Some places give you plastic bags- ARGH, avoid these like the plague! You also don’t want to end up throwing the paper bags  other places do supply so TAKE YOUR OWN BAGS. Most shops will weigh your bags and discount it from the total. Isn’t that cool?

IMG_6378.JPGI am very lucky in that there is a shop selling bulk oils including carrier oils plus vinegars and liquors, near my home. I love the amphorae the oils are displayed in, don’t you? I walk over every 2 months or so with my old glass bottles of oil/ vinegar and they get refilled with whichever variety of oil I choose to buy – usually a Spanish, local, virgin olive oil.

 

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If you aren’t the type or simply don’t have the time or energy to make your own, you won’t believe what I am going to say next but, shops selling detergents, soaps, shampoo, conditioners and other cleaning products in bulk exist too! Yep! A 10 minute walk away from the bulk oil place, I have this little gem, run by the nicest and chattiest woman you can find. A real gem! I usually buy shampooo, floor cleaner and limescale cleaner here – I make the rest ( and will tell you how!).

There, that is a huge number of your total plastic weight out of the way! BRAVO! Go and reward yourself with a lovely glass of wine or whatever cooling and or alcoholic beverage you  fancy, for you deserve it!