If there’s one place to start making some change in our homes, it’s the kitchen. I think that’s the place where the most money, food, and resources are wasted. And yet it’s such a great place to hang out!! Here are my 5 easy sustainable kitchen swaps!
The kitchen is my happy place and it is for everyone else too since that’s always where gathering happens no matter how big or small the house is! With cooking comes the inevitable situation of food storage and cleaning.
Since I have a precarious relationship with plastic wrap and that darn blade on the box, I have a number of reusable kitchen items I’ve been using for years which now, coincidentally, have made our efforts for an eco-friendlier, sustainable kitchen all the more pleasant.
Sustainable Kitchen Swaps
If you’ve ever thought about the trash in your home, you’ve probably realized that most of it comes from your kitchen. Where else do we have such large bins for refuse (aside from diapers for some of us)?
Bringing packaged and take out food into your kitchen is a conundrum in and of itself. So let’s just focus on the single-use items you can replace.
Even if you aren’t super into the eco-friendly thing (hopefully I can convince you though), all of these reusable options actually save so much money and hassle (from needing to constantly replace them), you’ll love them just the same.
Check out this simple list of 10 sustainable products to swap in 2023!
Reusable Silicone Lids
REPLACES: plastic wrap, foil, missing lids and covers
USES: to cover food in containers, to cover pots and pans on the stove, to cover bowls in the microwave, and to cover drinks
My mom discovered these reusable lids years ago (10 years now? more?) and swears by them. Not only are they a suction lid for putting items in the refrigerator, they also go on top of pots and pans on the stovetop, and in the oven (up to 420 degrees).
They come in sizes ranging from a drinking glass (great for keeping coffee warm a few extra minutes) to small and medium bowls and even 9×13 baking pans. They store fairly flat in a drawer in our house and are super easy to clean (they even go in the dishwasher).
You’ll see these silicone lids in the fridge, on the stovetop, and on the drying rack at any given time! These are my absolute must for any sustainable kitchen!
silicone baking mats
REPLACES: parchment paper, wax paper, foil
USES: to create nonstick surfaces on baking pans
Silpat baking mats (made of silicone) have been a mainstay for bakers for YEARS. They’ve been in my kitchen for about a decade.
They come in different sizes (which I didn’t know until recently) and are a lifesaver for cleaning pans, baking cookies, and so much more.
I keep ours rolled in our drawer with all the other wraps, foils, and more. Needless to say, we haven’t bought parchment or waxed paper in years and haven’t missed them at all!
reusable ziploc bags
REPLACES: ALL ziploc baggies (big and small)
USES: anything you’d use a bag for!!
I keep raving about our Stasher reusable bags. And to say that I don’t daily find reasons for more than the few I have would be an outright lie. And considering that the single-use bags can only be replaced (if clean) as part of the plastic bag recycling/store drop-off, I’m done with them!
These silicone bags come in a range of sizes and colors. I use the half gallon bags to store homemade broth cubes in the freezer as well as raw meat from the deli and the upright bag is currently holding a block of cheese in the fridge. See what I use each size of Stasher bag for here!
We also just got some snack-sized bags for C’s birthday. These are my go-to kids snack container. While they open like a traditional bag, the opening isn’t large, so it can easily spill without losing much (if any) of what’s inside.
Con uses them in the backseat while we’re on the road and they’re sturdy enough for him to pass up to me in the front without dropping anything!
I also use them to hold random things like his nail file, some sewing tidbits, and crayons.
I’m planning to make one of them into a mini first aid kit to throw in whatever bag we have.
These bags are resealable, freezable, sous-vide (able), and washable in the dishwasher! They’re also great outside of the kitchen for keeping pens and pencils organized, your makeup in a quick place for traveling….basically anytime you’d use a single-use plastic baggie.
You can even have color coded bags for different needs or members of your family!
If you still have a need for zip top bags that you can’t avoid, opt for compostable zip top bags! Use code LUCI for 15% off orders over $45.
dish towels + napkins
Sadly the excitement for dish towels and ESPECIALLY fabric napkins isn’t high, but it should be!
The abundant use of paper towels is crazy. I didn’t appreciate the overuse of paper towels until the recent surge in demand for paper goods. We use less than one roll per year and we’re slowing weaning off more.
How do we use so few? Dish towels and napkins that are washed and reused. Whether you have fancy matching towels and napkins or it’s a hodgepodge – it doesn’t matter.
We do have a trash can under the sink that I use as a “hamper” for dirty towels and napkins. It gets dirty and then it’s thrown in there. When it’s full, I do a quick load to wash them and we’re restocked.
Most people seem to have dish towels, but for linens… You can certainly buy new (check out these solids and these patterns), but you might ask an older family member if they have any extra linens or try a second hand store.
Check out this full post on how to stop using paper towels!
Sustainable Kitchen Cleaning Products
This one sounds kind of funny, but we often forget about what we send down the drain and out with the trash. The ingredients in the cleaning products we use do matter since the water slowly makes its way back into waterways with animals and plants.
Many of us are worried about cleanliness, but don’t think plant-based items aren’t anti-bacterial or just as effective!
Items such as dish soap, hand soap, and dishwasher detergent/pods are great items to swap out and easily make your kitchen more sustainable! And remember if you buy in bulk (or even just refill size packs), you’re saving packaging and transport with every purchase!
Also, try using this stovetop air freshener idea – it naturally deodorizes the room!
One more easy swap? Try for compostable bags for trash, composting, and even single-use plastic bag replacements. Compostable isn’t as great as reusable, but it’s infinitely better than single use.
Shop These Sustainable Kitchen Swaps. . .
- Reusable Silicone Lids to Replace Plastic Wrap
- Silicone Baking Mats to Replace Foil & Parchment/Wax Paper
- Reusable & Compostable Bags to Replace Single Used Bags
- Dish Towels + Napkins to Replace Paper Towels
- Clean Cleaning Products to Replace Harmful Cleaning Products