Essential Kitchen Tool: Washable China Marker

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How can a washable China Marker be essential to the kitchen, you ask?

Eliminating single-use plastic from my life is a serious on-going challenge. Remembering to bring my reusable cloth grocery bags to the grocery store was the first step; how many times did I have to experience the pang of ‘doh’ as I would reach the checkout before my behaviour changed?

Oh, how one thing leads to another. From there I moved on to eliminating plastic food storage containers from my kitchen, pantry and for keeping leftovers. Simultaneously, I suddenly became aware of how the foods I chose from store shelves were packaged; almost all in plastic, even the ones contained in nice ‘earth-friendly’ boxes had plastic sealed sleeves. There were moments when I felt frozen in time, standing there in the grocery aisles, as shoppers would go whizzing around me grabbing items for their carts. I realized that I couldn’t just grab and go like I used to. I am now at a point where I don’t even bother going down certain aisles based on packaging. Funny, it used to be I only avoided products because of the listed ingredients. One change sure does lead to another. Back then, a part of me had woken up to the effects of the choices I was making — the short-term and long-term effects on my health and the health of my family. Before then, my focus had been so narrow, I was so caught up in cautiously selecting the most nutritious and organic ingredients, that I had been oblivious to the effects single-use packaging would have on the product contents (and thus ironically on our health) and on the health our planet, both in production and landfill/ waterways.

Healthy beings require healthy soil, air, oceans and planet in its entirety.

We cannot have one without the other.

To make a long story short(ish), one of the most essential kitchen tools that I have come across is the China Marker. It simplifies my effort in repurposing glass jars or using air-tight stainless steel food safe containers in the kitchen. In my transition to being less wasteful in the kitchen I started writing labels and dates on bits of masking tape and re-using them until I got annoyed with that solution; realizing that it wasn’t much of a solution because the masking tape eventually ended up in the garbage. I knew that there had to be a better way and that is when I happened to see it mentioned on Life Without Plastic’s site. Next was to track down the China Marker, which was easy: art supply store. It is wax based, and writes especially well on the outside of warm leftover containers prior to refrigeration. It doesn’t mark as well on cold jars, it helps to first warm up the writing surface with the heat of your palm.

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And when it comes time to wash the writing off, simply soak in warm/hot soapy water and rub. It generally won’t just wash away in the dishwasher.

Do you have any kitchen tips to share that can help us to reduce or eliminate daily single-use plastic waste?

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2 thoughts on “Essential Kitchen Tool: Washable China Marker

  1. The Zero-Waste Chef May 6, 2015 at 7:27 pm Reply

    I remember using these as a little kid and haven’t thought about them since. I would love one for marking the tares and codes on my glass jars at the store. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    • You As A Machine May 10, 2015 at 11:14 am Reply

      I loved these as a kid too, and had all forgotten about them until searching for an alternative. Though I remember being more intrigued with the string and peel of the paper than actually using them for drawing or writing 🙂

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