cooking tips & tricks / reducing waste

How To Reduce Plastic Pollution (and Bake a Great Cake Too!)

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This Earth Month, we’re teaming up with Christine Wong and Plastic Oceans to provide some insight on plastic waste, introduce you to a delicious Parsnip Cake recipe, and share some tips on reducing waste as a home cook.

Christine Wong: “Ever since I watched ‘A Plastic Ocean’, the award-winning #documentary from Plastic Oceans, I’ve been more and more aware of all the ways I’m able to reduce my plastic-usage. As #EarthMonth2018 focuses on plastic pollution, I wanted to share a #plasticfreefoodie recipe which is a reflection of how I’ve implemented some meaningful changes in my kitchen as part of Imperfect Produce’s #learnmorewasteless campaign.

This Parsnip Cake was made with wonky parsnips from the farm, because you know that imperfect produce, peels and all, actually makes everything more special, right!? I always bring my own tote bag and produce bags when I shop for groceries after I found out that, worldwide, up to 1 TRILLION plastic bags are discarded every year!

The coconut butter, apple cider vinegar, and vanilla come in glass jars which I will either reuse or repurpose. While there is a lining of plastic on the jar/bottle caps and the safety seal, this is minimal waste. The chickpea flour comes in a paper bag from the Indian supermarket, and the other ingredients are bulk food items that I purchased using my own containers. I make the nut milk and coconut milk from these dry goods.

My tin baking pans are lined with certified compostable parchment paper because I’m not the most confident baker, and there’s nothing worse than going through all that effort and having it stick to the pan! I always compost the parchment paper, since the NYC Department of Sanitation accepts this as part of their Organic Collection Program.

I use my Vitamix to blend the milk and other foods. Although their jug is made of plastic, as are quite a number of my kitchen appliances, I use them because this is what I own. Besides, this type of plastic has a longer useful life than other types of plastic. Going plastic free is not about tossing away perfectly good tools, and replacing them. I’ll hang onto these until the day comes when possibly these appliance companies will design glass replacements to fit!

One kitchen tool I did replace however was my cutting board, which I used to cut the fruit for this cake. When the surface of plastic cutting boards become worn and etched with cuts, it is more likely that plastic will leach into your food. Plastics are endocrine disruptors and when ingested, mimics the hormone estrogen, causing hormone imbalance. I had a scare last year, which I know is from all the single-use plastics that food comes in.

You can find the recipe for this Parsnip Cake now on my website at”

Happy cooking and thanks for taking the time to learn about plastic waste!

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