A refrigerator is like a closet for your food—and like clothing, you want to have your food readily accessible, well organized and arranged in a way that’s aesthetically pleasing. I have found that cultivating a minimal wardrobe, sorted by type and color, makes finding something to wear a more more enjoyable experience. Similarly, having a minimal, plastic-free fridge is a more enjoyable way to cook.
One of the bonuses of going zero waste is that your cupboards, drawers and fridge will look nicer. When you cut out plastic, you no longer have to rifle through unsightly plastic bags. But the bigger benefit of eliminating unnecessary packaging means cutting out a lot of unhealthy, processed food.
As a vegetarian, I’ve always kept a fridge filled with fairly healthy items and lots of fruits and vegetables. But, I wondered—how I would be able to store my greens and other produce without using plastic? Plastic keeps things fresher, longer, right? Wrong!
As I transitioned, I started doing research on the best way to store individual fruits and veggies without plastic—Paris to Go and Zero Waste Chef both have great guides on the best way to store every type of fruit and vegetable you can think of.
With all that in mind, here are my 5 tips for cultivating a plastic-free fridge:
Cloth Bags. We try to buy most of our produce in cotton muslin or mesh bags which are breathable and help keep produce fresh. These are especially great for storing leafy greens (kale, lettuce, chard, spinach) and grapes. I like to spritz my leafy green bags with a little bit of water to keep them damp and hydrated before I put them in the crisper.
Glass Jars. I like to arrange asparagus and herbs in a bouquet with some water in glass jars. I refrigerate the asparagus and keep the herbs in our windowsill. Basil and mint will eventually grow roots and you can transplant them into your garden. Talk about edible arrangements.
Glass Containers. Glass containers are great for storing leftovers, but they’re also great for storing fresh produce. I’ve found that mushrooms do way better in a glass container than a paper bag, and berries love glass containers as well.
Beeswax Cloth. I am loving reusable beeswax clothes. Generally, I will wrap cheese in the cloth and then pop it into a glass container. The combination of cloth and glass preserves cheese really well. Beeswax clothes are also great for covering bowls or wrapping cut produce like an apple or avocado.
Buy Plastic-Free. This is sort of a no-brainer if you’re going zero waste, but I’ve found that all of the items I used to buy wrapped in plastic I can either do without or have plastic-free counterparts. I still rely on some prepared food items like pizza sauce for our weekly Sunday pizza night and kombucha for a treat on a hot day. I try to buy items that are packaged in glass, so I can repurpose or recycle the jars when I’m done. I bought some ghee in glass jars and afterwards found the jar to be the perfect size for small snacks.
What are your tips for a plastic-free fridge? Leave a comment below!