Outside the home, zero waste is HARD, you guys. People will still give your kid plastic-wrapped, plastic toys. Restaurants will still give you a straw when you ask them not to. But at home, it’s getting easier. It probably helps that I like to make things, and that IMO the reusable option is much more beautiful than disposables. It makes this transition seem less like a chore and more like I’m treating myself.
Last weekend I whipped up a few cloth napkins from some random fabric I had. I made 5 and need to make a few more, but I love how they turned out. There are many basic tutorials out there, but I followed this one.
We don’t really use napkins very often (I use Hannah’s baby burp cloths still, as rags, to wipe her hands and face after meals). I don’t know who these people are who really go through all that many napkins. Our default setting is no napkins at the table, and if we need one, we get up and get one. But that’s hardly ever. So, the point is, having a few cloth napkins on hand is sufficient for us. Over the course of the last week I’ve only used one.. to dampen and wrap around spinach in the crisper. I plan to make more really only for instances we have people over and want to convince them we are civilized.
Another addition to our kitchen is our new-to-us bread box. I’ve been struggling with how to store bread zero waste style and came up with two options in my research: bread boxes, and linen bags. I am going to try both. I’ve been scouting thrift stores for linen items I can chop up, with no success yet. This cute turquoise breadbox popped up on a Facebook yard sale page, and I snatched it up.
The previous owner did all the embellishing of it. I don’t hate it at all. 🙂 So far, I’ve yet to actually try it to store “naked” bread, but I’ll certainly update later once I do. All across the Internets are foodie people who swear by breadboxes, saying that the fridge, and plastic, cause moisture that make breads mold quickly. Breadboxes (and linen) are breathable, but still keep bread fresher, longer (I imagine compared to leaving it out in the open air). So this isn’t a long-term bread storage solution. If we only have one bread item to use up per week it seems like it will be a good solution. That’s kind of how our meal plans are going now, anyway (buy little and use it up that week). I’ve yet to even attempt to find a place to buy naked bread (where I can have them out it in my own cloth bag). I do make my own in a bread maker, and I even made my own tortillas a couple weeks ago. I’d just been storing them in a few lingering (washed and reused to death) Ziplock bags until I found another solution. Hoping this is it!
I’m finding a few food groups incredibly frustrating when it comes to packaging, and breads/rolls/tortillas are a big one. Even in my health food store, fresh baked breads are sold wrapped in plastic. I’ve been reading Plastic Free Life by Beth Terry. She makes a seriously compelling point that, given how toxic plastic is, manufacturers should not be allowed to mark foods as “organic” if they are packaged in plastic, no matter if the ingredients in the food itself are organic. I have to say I agree! By the way, I really like the book and highly recommend it, and her blog.
6 thoughts on “little ZW things (cloth napkins and bread storage)”
For storing breadstuff, a box made of birch bark is absolutely brilliant, according to friends of mine. It’s the old way to keep bread fresh. I just slice ours and freeze it, just thawing what I need in a toaster. 😊
I am not sure what my breadbox is made of, but it looks like maybe maple? How do you store your bread in the freezer? I am unsure of that without plastic, though pre-zero waste we would always freeze breads. Thanks for the comment!
I have the frustration with packaged Brad too. Great Harvest Bread is kind enough to save me a loaf if I call ahead but I may just make my own if I can get good enough at it. The cloth napkins look great!
Thanks! I will have to try Great Harvest. I’m sure they would be accommodating! I just need to ask. I am so super awkward about it, though! 🙂
They were very kind to me when I went in and asked but yes it’s awkward, ” I’m sorry ma’am, you want WHAT?” 🙂 Be brave.
It’s sad that it’s such a crazy thought! I’m sure I’ll be pleasantly surprised that it will be no big deal.. just like most things I overthink. 🙂 Thanks!