Hey friends! Today I’m sharing 10 simple swaps for a more sustainable kitchen. These swaps are easy to implement and are a great way to reduce waste, use less plastic, and save money in the long run by investing in reusable, longer lasting items. Some of these things, like composting, you can start doing right away, but other things you may want to phase in gradually depending on what kitchen items you already have on hand. Throwing out what you have to replace it with something “more sustainable” isn’t very sustainable, so please be mindful of how and when you make these swaps. Now, let’s get to it!
10 SUSTAINABLE KITCHEN SWAPS
Swapping plastic containers for glass ones is a great first step towards a more sustainable kitchen. Glass is longer lasting, better for you (no chemicals leaching into your food and messing with your endocrine system), and better for the planet. I bought a set of Pyrex Snap Ware containers about eight years ago and they’re still in great shape after years and years of daily use. They’re leak proof which makes them great for packing lunches and are also freezer and oven safe.
This is an important one so listen up! Food scraps that end up in the landfill release methane (a greenhouse gas thirty times more potent than carbon dioxide) accelerating global warming. Here’s the good news: You can compost no matter where you live. Check out this post for a list of composting methods and resources to help you find an option that works for you based on your lifestyle (urban or rural).
Skip the crazy colors and opt for undyed, biodegradable sponges that you can compost when they finally bite the dust. Note: I try to use my sponges multiple times. I simply wash and dry them with my laundry when they start to get gross. When they no longer work for washing dishes, I demote them to the bathroom for cleaning sinks and toilets. When they start falling apart, into the compost they go.
Anything a paper towel can do, a cloth dish towel can do better. Favor dark colored dish towels that won’t show stains so you’ll keep them around longer.
Homemade Multi-Surface Cleaner
I like to make my own cleaning solution with distilled vinegar and water and store it in a reusable glass spray bottle like the one shown above. It’s non-toxic (have you read the ingredients list on a bottle of household cleaner lately!?). Plus, making your own is cheaper and reduces plastic waste.
Cloth Shopping Bags/Bulk Bags
I have a big bag of bags by the front door and also keep bags in my car so I always have them on hand when I need them. I use cloth bulk bags for bulk dry goods and mesh produce bags for things like apples, onions, potatoes, brussel sprouts, and mushrooms. Note: If you forget your bulk bags you can usually find paper bags to use (which you can recycle or compost later) by the mushrooms in the produce section. If you forget your grocery bags, opt for paper bags at checkout then reuse them as garbage bags (instead of buying plastic garbage bags).
Eliminating plastic wrap from your kitchen is a great way to create a more sustainable kitchen. Instead of plastic wrap, try Beeswrap. Beeswrap is made from all natural materials (cloth and beeswax), is totally non-toxic, and is reusable (just rinse with warm water and allow to dry between uses). I use mine to cover bowls of cookie dough and to wrap up produce. When your Beeswrap finally stops working, compost it.
Bulk Dish Soap
Many natural foods stores sell dish soap in bulk. Bring your own bottle with you when you go shopping to reduce plastic waste. I’ve had the amber bottle with the pump dispenser pictured above for almost six years and love the way it looks and how it works.
Stasher bags are a great alternative to ziplocks and plastic sandwich bags. They’re made from silicone, reusable, and dishwasher safe. Note: If you’ve already got ziplocks, don’t toss them. Wash them with soap and water in between uses. When they finally bite the dust, recycle them.
Buying in bulk is a great way to reduce packaging waste and save money. When you do buy packaged goods, opt for paper, glass and aluminum over plastic. Check out this post for more tips on how to buy packaged food with sustainability in mind.
As always, I’m here to answer questions, so ask away… XO