If your kitchen is anything like our kitchen, there is plastic everywhere. It was not until I started this journey that I became extremely aware that seemly everything we purchase is wrapped in plastic. As I evaluated my kitchen and the food + beverages we eat in our home, I employed my rule of tackling the top three items that I seem to consume the most frequently and on a daily basis.
The plastic problem has exploded due to consumerism and creating this single use and convenience need that we have all become addicted to. In some cases I learned that I actually compromised taste, quality, while increasing my spending. The 3 items I identified as the most obvious and consistent abuse of plastic usage for our household were:
- I am embarrassed to admit, our single use Keurig K Cup which I would say our household used on average 3 to 4 a day
- My love of bubbly water which I would drink one 32oz bottle daily
- Almond milk which is used for coffee and shakes
Quite some time ago we purchased the Keurig coffee machine. What a lovely time saver. But I was never quite thrilled with the watered down taste of my coffee but I used it for the convenience. Those little pods are expensive! One little pod costs $0.60- $0.70. For us using 3 pods a day, per week, per month that is approximately $60. Now fast forward to the days of us using the reusable Keurig pods purchased on Amazon. Well this was a game changer. I have my favorite ground coffee brand in the freezer and I can’t even tell you how much better it tastes! For just a few extra seconds of filling and cleaning the reusable option, I get great coffee at a significant saving! The bag of coffee I use is $9.49 for 10oz which equates to about 50 servings or only $0.19 per serving. This takes our monthly cost to $17, saving us over $40 a month. Not only does it save me money but it saves me from having to restock the Keurig cups weekly since there are only 12 in a box. Great tasting coffee, saving the planet, saving money, saving time = WIN, WIN, WIN, WIN!
What is life without flavored bubbly water? Well I will tell you. It is awful. How do I know? I gave it up for a couple months until I got my birthday present which was the one and only gift I asked for and received. On my birthday I had my first bottle of Soda Stream bubbly water. At my party we served bottles of soda stream, saving literally 4 plastic bottles that day alone. Sometimes I add some fresh lime, lemon or orange juice to my bottle for flavor. Or I just have it plain. Again, this is a huge savings over time. I would buy a bottle a day at $1.19 or $35 per month. The soda stream Co2 carbonator offers about 60 servings at about $0.50 or about $15 per month, saving us $20 a month! And it also saves me time as I used to go buy bottles every few days. Since I have employed these various plastic saving routines, I shop so much less frequently as I do not have to go to the store as often for various items. The gift of time is precious! And probably is how I found the time to start this blog.
I drink almond milk in the morning with my coffee and in my shake so I go through quite a bit of almond milk on a daily and weekly basis. Some of my almond milk was in plastic bottles and some in the tetra packs. Either way, I feel better not buying and adding to the landfill. My homemade almond milk tastes amazing. I can make 2 carafes in about 20 minutes from start to clean up. A nice tip is to look for a couple almond milk or milk glass jars at your local store. Most natural stores have options in glass and I highly recommend always choosing the glass option vs. plastic and find a way to reuse it. Once you finish that glass bottle, keep it and reuse if for homemade Almond milk which is so easy to make. Using a reusable K Cup with homemade almond milk is the perfect cup of coffee and the best way to start the day knowing you are not using plastic!
Here is my recipe:
1 cup Almonds soaked overnight or for a couple hours in steaming water
3 to 4 cups of purified water depending on thickness
Pinch of sea salt
Tablespoon vanilla extract
Place it all in a blender for two minutes on high
Once that is done, I strain it through a cheese cloth or the Nut Milk Bag option above into a pitcher and then pour the “milk” into the carafe
I then use the left over almond pulp to make crackers or I compost it in the bin I keep next to our Keurig machine.
The crackers are also super easy and here is that recipe:
Heat oven to 400 degrees
1 cup Almond pulp (which is what you get from one carafe of the almond pulp above). I use it wet from the process above and that is fine.
1 tablespoon of olive oil
¼ cup of Chia Seeds
Salt, Pepper and Garlic powder to taste (or play around with other favorite seasonings!)
I mix it up in a bowl and roll it into two balls
On a baking tray I put some parchment paper (compostable) and place the two balls touching. I take another piece of parchment paper, placing it on top and use a bottle of wine (because why buy a rolling pin when you have wine!) to roll it out.
The edges get cracked so then I fold over the edges creating a rectangle again and again until it is an even thickness about 1/8.
I cut the almond meal mixture into squares with a pizza cutter and pop them in the oven for about 30 minutes flipping once.
What are your 3 items you think you use that contribute the most plastic on a daily or weekly basis? How can you re-think how you go about acquiring those items without plastic? I would love to know.
*disclosure: Links in this blog are affiliate links, meaning I make a little bit of money but at no additional cost to you. I will earn a commission if you click through the link and make a purchase. This will help me to continue to explore and offer up recommendations to reduce your plastic usage.