These days, it feels like we are all looking for ways to live a little bit more sustainably at home. One of the ways we can do this is by changing the way we work in the kitchen. You’d be surprised by just how much waste we produce, which can be avoided simply by choosing reusable versions of the things we need most!
Here are a few of our favorite earth-friendly kitchen necessities.
One of the biggest causes of waste in the kitchen is disposable paper towels. And it’s so unnecessary! As an alternative, consider investing in reusable ones.
“Um...you mean...a dish towel?”
Nope! Savvy brands like Marley’s Monsters have created actual rolls of reusable towels. All the ease and function of snatching a paper towel, with none of the waste!
Humans use over 500 billion plastic bags annually, which is incredibly hard on the world’s oceans (among other things). An effective way to reduce your plastic bag consumption is to invest in reusable lunch bags or boxes. You can use these to take your lunch to work or school, and they’re easy to wash after you finish your meal.
Over the past few years, many companies have come out with reusable plastic bags. Examples of these include Stasher and ReZip. While these bags look very similar to traditional Ziplock bags, they’re made with much more durable, eco-friendly materials. They’re also designed to be totally airtight and leakproof, so they keep your food in good condition.
How many dishes, per year, would you say you top with plastic wrap before popping them into the fridge? We bet if you actually did that math, you’d be surprised!
Enter: reusable dish covers. Many companies make durable silicone food covers in various sizes. Silicone is a particularly effective material for this, not only because of its durability, but also because it traps heat in the microwave, which makes reheating much more efficient.
If you often use plastic wrap to cover half-eaten fruits and vegetables, there’s a solution for that, too! FoodHuggers makes fruit and veggie covers for a variety of popular nibbles, including avocados, cucumbers, tomatoes, and more.
You probably already know that making your coffee at home can save you money and cut back on single-use coffee cups. That said, there are always those days when you’ve gotta take it to go. Many traditional coffee mugs are impractical for travel--they’re difficult to carry, don’t keep your coffee warm, and are given to spilling in the car.
One way to combat this is by investing in a reusable coffee cup. These cups have the same warming features as a traditional travel mug, but are shaped like a traditional coffee cup, so they are much easier to carry around. Package Free and Joco both make affordable options.
Instead of using classic plastic containers, consider using glass ones to store your leftover food. Yes, those plastic containers are designed to be used over and over, but at the end of the day, they're still made of plastic, which will be hard on the environment when you inevitably need to throw them away.
Frego and Glasslock both make glass storage products that’ll help you kick the plastic containers, but keep all the benefits: portability, durability, and--something not all plastic containers can stand--microwave-ability!
Finally, a great way to make your kitchen a bit more eco-friendly is to swap out traditional cleaning products with natural, non-toxic ones. Dish soaps, hand soaps, and surface cleaners are all examples of items that can easily be substituted with safer and more sustainable formulas. There are so many brands these days that make their products with the environment in mind. Here’s what to look out for the next time you’re shopping for earth-friendly cleaners!
Small changes like this are an easy way to reduce your impact on the environment. Sustainable alternatives to the products we use most, when well-designed and manufactured with durable materials, help us to get our kitchen jobs done and last for years to come!