It helps me a lot to remember that I’m an ancestress of tomorrow and that what I say and do today – 5,000 years from now – may be coded into the symbolism of what they believed then. If you think that way, no tiny act is meaningless. Everything becomes very, very important.
*ALL PHOTOS BY JENNIFER PEDRAZA RICHARDSON
Happy Earth Day friends! I’m not sure where you are reading from but here on the coast of British Columbia the weather in early Spring is very unpredictable. Rain, Hail, Sunshine, Wind.. all in one day! It’s hard to know what to wear during this transition; chilly mornings call for layers and by mid afternoon you’re overdressed for the warm sun. It does feel however that we are waking from a long hibernation as the days are getting longer and the storms of winter are just a memory.
The basis of Paganism is a reverence for the Great Mother also known as Mother Nature, The Goddess, Pachamama and by many other names. This means it is a duty as Pagan to care for the Earth, to align our lives toward Her preservation and to leaving Her as intact as we can for future generations. In these days of war, global warming and pandemics, it can almost seem idealistic to think that there will be much of a world left but “Hope is that thing inside us that insists, despite all the evidence to the contrary, that something better awaits us if we have the courage to reach for it , to work for it and to fight for it” – Barak Obama
Today I want to share some ideas of how I’ve been working toward creating a waste-free kitchen. It’s a work in progress and there’s always room for improvement. I believe however that every action counts whether big or small and as we say in Spanish “Madre solo hay una” ( we only have one mother), in this case our Great Mother Earth.
Re-Usable Fabric Bags for Fruits & Veggies
You can find these at the grocery store, on Etsy or you can even make your own. I take these with me when I shop and once home, if there is anything that needs to be stored in a plastic bag- like carrots that wilt – I keep large ziplocks to store them in the fridge. I re-use the ziplocks for the same veggies each week.
Natural Bamboo and Fibre Scrubbing Brushes
These Natural Brushes are durable and biodegradable. They do an excellent job if cared for properly (never leave them in water or they will mold). These are a much better alternative to plastic brushes and sponges that collect bacteria. I keep one for dishes and another to scrub fruit and vegetables. They last a long time and because they are a natural material I know I’m not polluting the planet with more plastic when I dispose of them.
Reusing Bottles for Hand and Dish Soap
I make all of our Cleaning Products (hand, dish and laundry soap as well as all-natural bathroom cleaner and sprays to wipe down surfaces). I re-use spray bottles and jars from products we bought in the past. I wash them and re-fill them as needed. I haven’t brought any extra plastic bottles into the kitchen for years.
Glass Jars for Storing Dry Foods and Spices
I purchase dry food and spices in bulk and store them in glass jars. Pasta, Legumes, Rice, Spices all stored in jars that can be easily sterilized in the dishwasher and re-used forever. The Soap Dispensary is a shop here in the city that sells everything in bulk: cleaning supplies, baking needs, bulk food and frozen food. You just take your own containers, fill them and pay by weight.
Up-cycling Old Face Cloths
I switched over to using facecloths my mother knits me for removing my makeup. I was left with a good number of terry ones I now keep in the kitchen to wipe down counters and dust. They work great, are as absorbent as paper towel and can be tossed in the washing machine.
Wood Bowls, Spoons and Cutting Boards
Did you know that wood has natural antibacterial properties? A study done at The University of Wisconsin found that 99.9% of the bacteria on a wood cutting board had dried out within minutes compared to non-porous plastic that not only kept E. Coli, Salmonella and Listeria on the surface, it also grew. I use wooden spoons for cooking, keep 3 wood cutting boards for different food prep and collect wooden serving bowls. A great place to find these are thrift stores. I recently scored this large salad bowl for a 1/4 of the price of the ones I’ve seen in stores.
It takes 17 trees and 20,000 gallons of water to make 1 ton of paper towels; paper towels that get used in a second, tossed and cannot be recycled because the fibres aren’t large enough to use in the recycling process. I keep a good stock of cloth napkins in the cupboard. After use, I wash them and feel I’ve done my part.
There are many ways to create a green-er, waste-free kitchen and as much as it would be amazing to create zero waste, for many this can be challenging. Even small changes help though and I hope this entry has inspired you to start or continue toward a more sustainable home life.
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