Is one of your New Years resolutions to live more sustainably? For the past few years, I have been making slow to steady changes to live a more sustainable lifestyle. I find that the bathroom and the kitchen are two easy places in the home to make product swaps that are more environmentally friendly. I am still in the process of swapping out plastic items for their more eco-friendly counterparts. By no means do you have to replace everything at once. However, gradual swaps over time are more obtainable and, in the long run, healthier for our planet.
In this article, I am going to share my 15 favorite sustainable kitchen products, what to swap them for and how you can get your hands on them. Let me know what kitchen items you already use in your everyday life and which items you are going to swap next!
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Instead of: Disposable K-Cups
Use: Reusable K-Cups
Want to reduce your plastic waste but addicted to coffee and refuse to give up your Keurig? No worries! Reusable K-Cups allow you to enjoy your coffee and reduce your daily plastic consumption. Simply fill the reusable K-Cup with your favorite ground coffee, close the lid and place it in your Keurig machine like normal. The best part? They are very affordable. I purchased this set of four over a year ago and they are still holding up well!
Instead of: Single use plastic baggies
Use: Reusable bags
If you’re like me then you use plastic sandwich and gallon bags in your kitchen daily. I felt so guilty about all the plastic I was using so earlier last year I switched to reusable plastic and silicone bags. I use reusable bags now about 90% of the time (I still like to store raw meat in single use plastic bags) and have noticed a reduction in our overall kitchen waste. There are many options on the market today however, they vary in quality and durability. The Stasher bag is a highly rated and reliable option, though it is on the pricier side. I like these silicone food storage bags as they are durable and dishwasher safe however, they can be difficult to seal. I’ve also found the Rezip brand of reusable bags to be reliable.
Instead of: Bottles/cans of seltzer
Use: Soda Stream
We love seltzer, and we used to purchase multiple liters of seltzer each week. Not only are the bottles wasteful, but they were heavy and a pain to lug up three flights of stairs to our apartment. We decided to order a soda stream to cut our plastic consumption and for the convenience. The soda stream is wireless, easy to use and takes up a small amount of counter space. The recyclable liter bottles that come with the soda stream are sturdy, dishwasher safe and last through years of use.
Instead of: Plastic wrap
Use: Food Huggers
Instead of using single use plastic wrap, try these silicone food huggers for leftover fruits and vegetables. They come in different shapes and sizes to accommodate apples, citruses, avocado, tomatoes and more. The material is durable and they are dishwasher safe!
Instead of: Plastic wrap
Use: Reusable bowl covers
Another great substitute for plastic wrap is reusable bowl covers. These silicone bowl covers come in a variety of shapes and sizes and fit over bowls, pots, pans and even some food such as watermelon, cantaloupe and citrus fruits. These bowl covers are dishwasher, microwave and freezer safe.
Instead of: Parchment paper
Use: Silicone mats
Another great way to reduce kitchen waste is by replacing parchment paper and aluminum foil with reusable silicone baking mats. These silicone mats are non-stick, durable and easy to clean. They come in a variety of sizes to perfectly fit different sizes of sheet pans. They can be rolled up for easy storage.
Instead of: Single use water bottles
Use: Water filter
Single use water bottles are one of the worst things for the environment. How often do you go to a beach, park or hiking trail and find an old water bottle littering the earth? Instead of buying large packs of water bottles (which are also wrapped in plastic) or jugs of water, invest in a water filter. A water pitcher or water dispenser are great options for storing and chilling filtered water in your refrigerator. Another option is a water filter that affixes to your kitchen faucet.
Instead of: Plastic straws
Use: Reusable straws
We’ve all seen the video of the turtle with the plastic straw stuck in its nose. Poor thing. After that video, people went crazy eliminating plastic straws from their life. That is because it’s so easy to do. If you insist on using straws for your smoothies, iced coffees, etc., consider using reusable straws. There are many options available on the market now. There are silicone ones that come in a variety of colors and with a handy cleaning brush. There are also these metal ones that also come with a cleaning brush and a silicone tip that is removable for easy cleaning.
Instead of: Traditional garbage bags
Unfortunately, trash bags are an item that most people cannot go without using in their daily lives. However, there are more sustainable options than the traditional trash bag. These compostable garbage bags are made of plant starch material, which is a natural renewable biomaterial. The bags come in a variety of sizes to fit bathroom, office and kitchen trash cans.
Instead of: Single use coffee filters
This one is similar to the reusable K-cups but for people who prefer traditional coffee makers to a Keurig. Reusable coffee filters are nothing new, but for some reason when I used to own a coffee maker I always used single use coffee filters. Looking back I realize how wasteful that was. These reusable coffee filters are BPA free, dishwasher safe and fit most Mr. Coffee coffee makers. There are, of course, many designs on the market that fit different types of coffee makers.
Instead of: Plastic containers
Use: Mason jars
While plastic storage containers aren’t single use items, there are a lot of more eco-friendly options out there. Mason jars are a great option for sauces, soups, condiments, beverages, pickled items and more. Mason jars are classic, cute, come in a variety of sizes and can be found anywhere.
Instead of: Plastic containers
Use: Glass containers
Another alternative to plastic containers are glass containers, such as Pyrex. They are safer, more durable and don’t stain or get warped in the dishwasher and microwave like plastic containers do. When their long lifespan has expired, they are easily recycled. I love these ones with bamboo lids.
Instead of: Plastic utensils
Use: Bamboo products
Speaking of bamboo, consider swapping out your various plastic cooking and eating utensils for their bamboo counterparts. There are so many benefits of using bamboo over plastic. Bamboo is a renewable source that takes much less energy to produce than plastic. Bamboo is biodegradable and compostable. Just be sure to look for 100% bamboo products and avoid ones that use bamboo powder and fillers.
Instead of: Traditional dish soap
Use: Sustainable dish soap
Many traditional dish soaps include ingredients that are both toxic to the human body and to the environment. Some of the worst ingredients include formaldehyde, sulfuric acid and triclosan, which is especially dangerous to aquatic life (remember all drains lead to the sea!). Keep an eye on the ingredients of your dish soap. If you are looking for natural options, look into Ms. Meyer’s or Dr. Bronner’s soap.
Instead of: Plastic produce bags
Use: Mesh produce bags
Not quite a kitchen item however, it is still related to food and a fairly easy switch to make. Instead of using the plastic produce bags provided by the grocery stores for your fruits and vegetables, use these mesh produce bags instead. These eco-friendly mesh produce bags are lightweight, durable and washable.