We know that we need to make more eco-friendly decisions in order to help reduce the negative impacts of climate change on our planet. A few things we can do to help this is to reduce the amount of products we buy that will eventually end up on landfill sites. At the beginning of 2023, the English government decided enough was enough and that a number of single-use plastics will be banned in October 2023.
These items include everyday items you might find if you decide to grab food on the go such as cutlery, bowls that your takeaway food comes in and other food containers. Single-use plastic food products are being banned because plastic pollution can take hundreds of years to break down which causes serious damage to our planet. With the toll plastic waste takes on the planet, we wanted to give you 5 eco-friendly alternatives to plastic products that you can reuse for any of your food and drink needs.
Are bamboo products a hit or a miss?
One alternative to plastic that you might not have thought about before is bamboo. Recently products like bamboo plates, bowls and cups have become very popular as they are more aesthetic than some products on the market. Bamboo products are seen as eco-friendly as they are 100% biodegradable, making them very sustainable. On the other side, bamboo products do have a shorter lifespan than other tableware and food products on the market, which could put people off.
On average, bamboo plates, bowls and cups have a lifespan of around 2 years as they often get damaged by water and they aren’t dishwasher safe. However, if you look after them properly and make sure they are fully dry before they go back in the cupboard, they can last longer. If your bamboo products are on their last legs, you can either recycle or compost them. Make sure you put them in the recycling bin and not your other waste bin; otherwise, it will end up on a landfill site and will take a lot longer to decompose. Most waste on these sites are so tightly compact that not enough air gets in to break down the products, making it a very slow process.
Forget glass slippers, what about glass containers?
Last but not least, an alternative to plastic food products is glass. Glass is a great alternative to plastic as it is 100% sustainable, can be reused and recycled and doesn’t have a short lifespan (unless you drop it, and it breaks). Glass containers for food have become more popular over the recent month with the help of social media apps like TikTok. If you’re an avid TikTok scroller like us, you might have seen people using glass jars to put their meal preps in for the week and into the fridge.
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Glass containers are perfect for storing food in the fridge as they help to keep food fresher for longer, but the one downside is they aren’t easily transportable. If you’re travelling into work or dropping the children off at a holiday camp with their packed lunch, it could be a little too risky to take your lunch in a glass container as they could easily break. If you’re in the market for new tupperware to pack any leftovers into the fridge, then you could consider trying sustainable glass food containers to keep your food fresh. Still, you might also want to invest in lighter and transportable containers as well.
Tableware that’s made of plants
How many very bright and colourful children's plates do you have in your cupboard? Apart from being an eyesore when they break or become worn, it can take them hundreds of years to decompose if you have added them to your recycling bin. Another alternative to plastic is PLA material, which is a type of plastic made from plants. If you want to get into the technical side of things, they are made from cornstarch and sugarcane which means they are 100% biodegradable. Not only are they eco-friendly, but the material itself is also long-lasting, strong and shatter-resistant. So even if your little ones love to throw their food and tableware across the floor, you won’t have to worry about buying a new plate every meal time.
At the end of 2022, Citron hopped on this eco-friendly tableware solution and we released our own plant-based tableware sets that are available in a number of stylish colours. Apart from sustainability being at the forefront of our mind, we also have every parent in mind too. Our new tableware sets are 100% dishwasher safe to save you time on the washing up.
Is PET plastic more eco-friendly than other plastics?
If you haven’t heard of PET plastic before, it is a strong and lightweight plastic that is one of the most used types of plastic and one of the most recycled types of plastic. Now you might be thinking, why is PET plastic better than other types? Well PET plastic has a much lower carbon footprint than other plastics and it can be recycled and transformed into other products.
Products most commonly made from this material include clothing, packaging and bags. At Citron, our backpacks and lunch bags are all made from recycled PET bottles to help reduce the amount of plastic being thrown away. The materials used to make our bags ensures that they are lightweight and sustainable, making a difference in the world can start with your children’s bag.
Are steel products stealing the show?
Let's start off by talking about cutlery; when you’re grabbing your soup from Pret or your pasta salad in your Tesco’s meal deal, you will get either a plastic or wooden cutlery set. Soon you won’t have the option to choose a single-use plastic cutlery set because they will be banned and there is a good reason for it. According to the Department for Environment, food and rural affairs, England roughly uses 2.7 billion single-use cutlery sets a year. A shocking fact for you, if all of those cutlery sets were lined up in a row, they would fit around the world more than eight times. So is the only alternative a wooden cutlery set? Now the wooden cutlery sets are eco-friendly as they can be recycled, but do any of you agree with us that they often leave a funny feeling and taste in your mouth? A great sustainable cutlery set that could answer your problems is a steel cutlery set. No, we aren’t talking about carrying around the cutlery that you have in your kitchen at home, but a transportable cutlery set is used purely for your lunch time needs on the go. At Citron we swear by our 3-piece cutlery sets that are reusable, convenient and are used all the time when we are on the go. Say goodbye to plastic or wooden cutlery and say hello to your new on-the-go essentials, a stainless steel cutlery set that comes with its own silicone cover to keep them all in one place.
What pops into your mind when you’re thinking or your morning essentials?. Now if you’re anything like us, you will need to start off your day with a cup of coffee or tea to get you going in the morning. Whether you’re dropping your children off at school, commuting into the office or you're taking a family day trip during half-term, how often do you buy hot beverages from Starbucks or Costa to takeaway? Although a large majority of take-away cups are recyclable, you would be surprised how many people don’t dispose of them correctly, which means they often end up on landfill sites instead of being recycled.
To save on money and the environment, a great alternative is to buy a travel mug. You can either make your drinks at home before you leave the house or most cafe chains will make your drink in your travel mug for you so you don’t have to miss out on the little luxuries. At Citron we have sustainable travel mugs that can be bought in two different sizes and we have a range of colours to suit everyone. Not only are they better for the environment, they will also keep your beverage warm for up to 6 hours or cold for 12 hours and they fit in almost any car!
Next up is lunch time! Trust me we know the pain of coming up with new and exciting lunch-time meals for yourself and your children. But who else is bored of eating sandwiches, salad and other cold meals for lunch? During the colder months most of us would love to dive into a bowl of warm soup to keep us warm if we are in the office for lunch. The answer seems pretty simple right, just microwave your food? But not every office will have a microwave and not everyone will want to buy a warm lunch everyday as the costs really add up and they are often packaged in single-use plastic which is damaging to the environment.
An easy way to keep your meals that you have prepared at home warm is to use a stainless steel food jar that will keep your food fresh and warm. Citron has a range of thermos food jars that are eco-friendly and thanks to the material it's made from and the vacuum-seal, your food will stay warm for 6 hours or cold for 7 hours. Making your own lunch to take into the office whether it is hot or cold can save you money and it helps to reduce any unnecessary waste, especially if you’re buying food from a shop and then throwing away the rubbish.
Last but not least on our mission to convert you to the stainless steel loving side, let’s talk about drinking. Do you know how many glasses of water adults are supposed to drink a day? Neither did we, but according to the NHS, adults should drink six to eight cups of water a day. If you’re on the go like many of us are, whether you’re on a walk through the city, commuting or have taken a day trip to the zoo, you need to stay hydrated. Although it might seem like an obvious choice, one of the easiest ways to stay sustainable but hydrated at the same time is to buy a reusable insulated water bottle. Instead of nipping into the shops to buy a bottle of water or another drink in a plastic bottle, think before you leave and pack your reusable bottle. Even if you buy a water bottle that can be recycled, it is better for the environment if we reduce the amount of plastic we buy in the first place. Buying a reusable large water bottle can help you save around 150 single-use plastic water bottles every year. To take a look at our range of insulated water bottles that come in 4 different sizes for everyone in the family, head to our website.