Introducing a Sustainable Kitchen
Whether you’re looking to do some spring cleaning/organizing or just trying to live your best zero waste life heading into 2021 we’ve got a line up of swaps to make in your kitchen. Sustainable living doesn’t mean you need to live off the grid, shower using collected rainwater, or make compost tea. Shifting to a sustainable alternatives when you are replacing an old item can make the transition feel more manageable. As hardcore as “zero waste living” sounds, you shouldn’t feel pressured to make big changes that your household isn’t ready for. More people practicing low impact living imperfectly is always better than just a few striving for full zero waste perfection.
Ready to find some alternatives to your daily kitchen needs? Check out some ideas below:
1. Bamboo Cleaning Utensils 2. Coconut Scrubber 3. Cellulose Pop Up Sponges 4. Public Goods Walnut Sponge 5. Stainless Steel Container Set 6. Beeswax Wraps 7. Glass and Bamboo Tupperware 8. Stasher Silicone Bags 9. Reusable Unpaper Towels 10. Kinto Thermos 11. Swedish Dish Cloths 12. Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle 13. No Tox Life Dish Soap Block 14. Our Place Always Pan Set 15. Silicone Baking Mat 16. Countertop Composter 17. Great Jones Baking Tray 18. Great Jones Stainless Steel Pan
Natural Utensils in Your Sustainable Kitchen
Bamboo utensils, brushes, and dish racks are a great alternative to clunky plastic products and create a cohesive earthy theme to your kitchen. They are made of a renewable resource that will eventually breakdown unlike mixed material or petroleum-based items.
Cellulose, walnut, coconut, or other plant-based sponges and scrubbers are a no-brainer. They’re insanely affordable, so when you finish that last package of neon sponges, consider switching to something more natural. Using fossil fuel-based plastic scrubbers on your dishes is old school and damaging to waterways when microfibers are washed down the drain. Additionally, they often aren’t microbial and hold on to bacteria longer. Plus, they can’t be composted so they’ll end up sitting in a landfill for the rest of their days.
Single-Use Alternatives for Your Sustainable Kitchen
Replacing Plastic Storage
Ziplocs and other single-use plastic bags are not only a waste of resources, but also a waste of money. Give Silicone Stasher Bags or ZipTop Containers, Glass Tupperware, Stainless Steel Reusables, Ceramic To-Go Bowls, Beeswax Wraps, or Bamboo Bento Boxes a try. They’ll last you years, keep food fresh, safe from petro-chemicals, and provide a customizable look while keeping your footprint low.
Paper Towels Alternatives
Swedish dishcloths/towels are a reusable and absorbent plant-based cloth that can replace any paper towel addiction. They come in irresistabley cute patterns and colors and they absorb better than paper towels. Another option is to have a stash of small reusable cotton/cloth towels on hand that are specifically on hand for those spills and sticky situations. Keep a small bucket in the laundry room or under the sink to collect them once they’re dirty so you can wash them in one batch and just keep reusing them. Go for a rainbow set or a more neutral look. You can even roll them up around a paper towel holder so the convenience and resemblance to the old single-use habit is uncanny.
Eliminating Disposable Cups and Bottles
Reusable bottles, tumblers, and mugs are everywhere. Commit to a set that sparks joy and try to eliminate disposable cups and a cabinet full of cheap freebies that you never use. Decline swag water bottles and cups when you can to avoid adding to your overflowing to-go cabinet. Most freebie products aren’t made with sustainability in mind and just turn you into a walking billboard. Find a truly safe and sturdy option for your hot and cold beverages and stick with it. Donate what you don’t need.
Using a lot of foil, wax parchment paper, or greasing ingredients when cooking and baking? Try a silicone baking mat to protect your trays and ensure a reusable non-stick experience. While foil is highly recyclable, you’ll still end up saving money and energy in the long run by investing in a baking mat.
Eco-Friendly Dish Duty
Block dish soap is an easy swap for plastic bottled products. Simply lather a brush up directly on the bar for a quick scrub. Keep soap blocks dry with a conventional soap dish or a bio-plastic soap lift to avoid slippery counters. Switching to a soap block saves over a dozen plastic bottles and provides a vegan, eco-friendly alternative to the over fragranced synthetic liquids.
Invest in Sustainable Kitchen Cookware
Pots, pans, and bakeware are your vessel for your meals. While finding budget-friendly options can seem like a priority you should also be sure you’re using safe cooking products. Too many cookware options pre-dating 2013 contain carcinogens such as Teflon. Teflon is a brand name for a synthetic chemical used to coat cookware and leaches into your food. There’s not an immediate need to get a brand new set of cookware, but aim to replace cookware when you see major discoloration, warping, scratches/chipping or disintegration, or after 5 years of constant use. When replacing cookware, look for stainless steel, cast iron, or ceramic coated options that are made responsibly and ethically.
Our Place offers a great pan that replaces 8 pieces of cookware. The Always Pan replaces your fry pan, sauté pan, steamer, skillet, saucier, saucepan, non-stick pan, spatula, and spoon rest. We’ve had ours for about a year now, look out for our review coming soon.
Great Jones also offers high quality stainless steel cookware sets, individual pots and pans as well as super durable baking trays.
Composting For Beginners
Collect food scraps in a countertop compost bin. Maybe you want to start small, by saving eggshells and peels for your houseplants. Or, you could find a local organization to come pick up your bi-weekly compost if you don’t have the space or time to have a full bin in your backyard. There are compost subscription businesses set up all over the country that pick up your countertop scraps and do all the composting for you. Many provide nutrient-dense composted soil for local community gardens and local farms.
Your Sustainable Kitchen Shop
A great place to start or continue your zero waste or low impact journey is Package Free Shop. You can buy almost any item mentioned above separately, or package kits to help save money. If you’re starting fresh on your sustainability efforts, their Basic Zero Waste Starter Kit may be a good place to start. The kit comes with bamboo utensils, a metal straw, and your choice of a tumbler or water bottle.