Becoming more sustainable can definitely seem overwhelming at first. There’s so much information out there as well as so many products and so much you can do. But going green is just about taking little steps closer to being a little better every day. Eco-friendly kitchen products are a great place to start.
I’ve broken the list down into the four below categories of swaps you can make to make your kitchen a little greener.
- Eco-friendly food storage
- Sustainable everyday swaps for food and drink on-the-go
- Eco-friendly cleaning
- Green kitchen habits
“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.” – Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Eco-friendly food storage:
Reusable storage containers
I love my glass tupperware. I have this mixed size and shape pack that has done me really well and I meal-prep with them every week. They’re longer lasting than their plastic counterparts, and better for the environment when they eventually have to be got rid of. They can also go straight in the oven, which for a microwave-less household, is a blessing and means a lot less washing up!
Likewise, glass jars are a must have. Perfect for salads, soups and sauces as well as dry produce, you can never have too many. Plus, if you have a nearby zero-waste store, they’re great containers for filling up there. You don’t even have to buy them – re-use! Jam jars are your best friend.
Reusable cling-film alternatives
Clingfilm is convenient, I’ll give it that. But, these silicone covers are just as easy (they’re dishwasher proof, so you don’t even have to wash them by hand) and stretch to make sure any size dish is coverable. These are handy when you need to cover plates or bowls of food, or if your containers’ lids go missing, as they always seem to do.
Reusable food sandwich bags
I absolutely love these. They’re great for storing snacks or freezing sauces and smoothie ingredients. Their malleability makes them perfect for shoving in your bag and saving space in the cupboard. I always take these travelling with me too, they’re perfect for taking food out and about with you.
Reusable shopping bags
It’s become commonplace all over the world for tax to be applied to plastic shopping bags. So, cloth bags are now cute and save you money! You could even DIY them to spice them up a little.
You can even get reusable cotton bags for single item produce (apples, for example) that needs to be seen at a checkout. Then when you get home, roll the top down and your food is ready and on display.
Simple everyday green swaps:
Reusable coffee cup
This is such an easy swap to make, yet fewer than 2% of Starbucks lovers bring a reusable coffee cup. Of course, you need to wash it out and carry it with you, but coffee cups are a massive and relatively unnecessary source of waste. Not to mention the discounts you get every time you use them. Pret, whose 90p filter coffee (with oat milk – deserving of a shoutout) fuels my coffee-shop office days, is only 40p when you bring a reusable cup – they have a 50p discount!
Top tip: don’t do what I did and buy one without a closeable lid! One like this you can put in your bag after you’ve used it, without worrying that those stray drips will end up in your bag. Lesson learned.
Reusable water bottle
You’ll never find me without a water bottle. Having water on hand will help to keep you hydrated and mean you won’t have to spend out on drinks all the time. Not to mention, of course, majorly decreasing your plastic usage. Save money and the environment!
A friend bought me a Chilly’s bottle for Christmas and whilst I absolutely love it and can boast about the wonders of both its hot and cold insulation, there are many cheaper alternatives – I use an ion8 bottle for travelling and working out and love that one too.
Reusable cutlery set
I bought one of these years ago and it’s one of the best purchases I’ve ever made. It’s saved me so many times and means I never have to use single-use wooden or plastic alternatives. Especially whilst travelling, this is a great way to take meal-prepped food on the go. I bought mine years ago, so I have a plastic Sistema set. But nowadays there are bamboo and metal alternatives, that would be more eco-friendly when thrown away.
This staple accessory graces every image of iced coffee the Internet wide. But, they’re not just a fad, they’re undeniably handy. Of course, simply opting for no straw is fine, but if you’re a straw lover, this is an easy and affordable swap to make. It makes any drink at home feel so much more fun. This collapsible model is portable too.
Reusable baking paper alternatives
It was about a year ago that I began to notice how much baking paper I went through. Although I cooked in bulk and reused as many sheets as possible, I knew I was throwing a lot of it away. So, I switched over to these reusable silicone baking mats and it couldn’t have been an easier swap to make, it’s my first recommendation to anyone who asks about eco-friendly kitchen products.
These mats do the exact same job and just need a quick scrub after use (they can go in the dishwasher, but being quite large, I find they block other items from being cleaned). Not only do I not have to buy baking paper anymore (which quickly outweighs the cost of investing in the reusable mats).
Admittedly, after two years (of being used by four people multiple times a day) mine are getting a little grimey, but they’ve completely outlasted traditional baking paper and saved me (and the environment) a fortune in the process.
Alongside eco-friendly kitchen products, we also need to think about eco-friendly cleaning! Everyday we buy, replace and use chemicals and tools that contaminate the water we put down the sink and interact with the kitchenware we cook and eat from. Let’s take a look at some eco-friendly cleaning options.
Ditch the chemicals
This is a great guide by Earth Easy for recipes and education around chemicals and alternative, homemade cleaning products. Using simple cooking ingredients you’re likely to have around the house, you can create cleaning concoctions that live up to their chemical counterparts. If you don’t fancy making them yourself, most zero-waste shops will have homemade products to purchase.
Eco-friendly cleaning tools
Using dish towels is a great way to reduce waste. Wash and reuse. Easy. Bamboo versions are also more absorbent and faster-drying than normal polyester alternatives. They also won’t release microplastics, as synthetic versions would when washed.
The newest discovery on my list of eco-friendly kitchen products, these wooden scrubbing brushes come highly recommended and are a great alternative to a plastic scrubbing brush. These ones come with replaceable heads too, so you need only dispose of the heads when they’re worn out.
Great when you need some extra scrubbing power. Long lasting and no compromise on performance, metal scourers are a great alternative to scouring pads (if you are attached to using pads, biodegradable versions do exist). And metal scourers can be recycled!
Biodegradable scourers are also possible to find, but they are on the pricier side. These ones are made from coconut husks and are very long lasting, making the price a little less daunting.
Paper towels are always great to have on hand, but, as you can only use them once, they’re extremely wasteful. But, fear not – eco-friendly kitchen products to the rescue. Bamboo paper towels are similar to your traditional paper towel, except they’re reusable and need only to be washed between uses. Or, put a classy spin on your dinner table and invest in some cotton napkins. Fancy.
Sustainable kitchen habits:
It’s not just about eco-friendly kitchen products, there are habits you can pick up everyday for better, more sustainable kitchen practices.
Avoid single use
It’s difficult. The world isn’t built to make avoiding single-use easy, and the fuel consumed from driving an hour out of your way to buy plastic-less apples is probably worse than buying the bagged apples, so remember you can’t be perfect all the time. Opt for no-plastic when you can and try to take food from home to avoid buying packaged food when you’re out.
Waste-free shops are popping up in lots of places too. Bring your own container, fill it up and be on your way. This is also a great way to buy in bulk and make use of those shiny glass jars of yours.
Another way to reduce single-use plastic is to buy in bulk. Not only will this save you money long-term, but the more you buy in bulk, the less packaging you’ll be consuming.
Composting turns your food waste into useful materials for gardening and farming. Here in the UK, composting has become a service provided by many local councils, taking your organic rubbish away for composting (I also recently discovered that town halls will often provide the bags needed to do it!).
There are also places popping up that will take your food waste to compost. If this isn’t a service you have access to, two great sites EarthEasy and Happy DIY Home have great guides for composting at home.
Reduce, reuse, recycle
This was a phrase hammered into my brain as a child.
Recycling is a simple habit to adopt. Glass, paper, cans. Lots of things are recyclable and the list is ever-growing. This is also something to keep an eye out when you’re shopping, so you can try to buy recyclable products.
Reducing and reusing are a little more tricky and require more thought. Can you get another use out of this? Can it be re-purposed in anyway? Do I really need this? Making conscious decisions and trying to make everything we purchase stretch as far as possible is a simple practice that will make a huge difference to our footprint.
How to reduce and reuse:
- Question yourself when you go to consume – do you really need it? Could you make it yourself?
- Buy products will less packaging
- Opt for local produce
- Repurpose worn out tools
- Refill old containers rather than buying a new one
- Have fun and do some DIYs to make your old sparkle anew
There’s so many things you can do and I’ll keep this list updated the more I learn. Suggestions are welcome! Pop any advice you have below in the comments.
Stay green, Ella x
Everything I mentioned in this blog: