Are you looking for ways to create an eco-friendly kitchen for some sustainable product swaps for a waste-free kitchen? I've got your back!
When it comes to making sustainable and eco friendly decisions, it can get a bit overwhelming. If you are looking for ways to be eco friendly at home, the kitchen is a good place to start.
What is an eco-friendly kitchen?
An eco-friendly kitchen starts with eating green, but that's not the end. In reality, we unconsciously use unsustainable products - from toxic detergents to plastic bottles that also create household waste.
Fortunately, there are sustainable alternatives to all these products, which are good for your pocket and the environment.
I think that the term "zero waste" can be intimidating and can put some people off. Stressing about not wasting ANYTHING is almost impossible. You don't have to make some major lifestyle makeovers - small, thoughtful and sustainable choices can make a big difference. Work on reducing waste as much as you can without forcing yourself to change everything all at once!
If you look around your kitchen, you may find excess packaging from kitchen products or groceries, fresh herbs that turned brown over time and food scraps. Experiment with kitchen products and routines to reduce the amount of waste from your kitchen.
With that in mind, I have shared some eco-friendly kitchen products that are perfect substitutes for conventional items. If you know of any other way to reduce kitchen waste and sustainable swaps, please share them in the comments section below!
Why worry about kitchen waste?
Nearly one-third of food produced for human consumption goes to waste. But wait, isn't food waste biodegradable? Yes, it is. But when discarded food is thrown away and ends up in landfills, it does not receive enough oxygen to break down and decompose. Instead, it releases methane, a greenhouse gas that is majorly responsible for ozone depletion and global warming.
Packaging holds a significant portion of kitchen waste. 30% of the kitchen waste that ends in landfill is packaging waste. If you look closely, you will be shocked to know that most of the items in your cart have single-use plastic - from fruits to bread.
Let's explore eco-friendly kitchen items/ products that can help you create an almost zero waste kitchen. The list of products is divided into 5 categories:
- Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Cleaning
- Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Storing Food
- Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Cooking
- Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Shopping
- Eco-friendly Kitchen Products - Other
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Products - Cleaning
Why go for it: Conventional dishwashing sponges contain synthetic fibers. Plastic sponges release microfibers into the sea because the water filtration system isn't effective at removing them. These fibers are not biodegradable and can pollute the water or sit in landfills for a long time. Instead, eco friendly dish brushes are a more sustainable option. These brushes are compostable and do not produce waste. They also have replaceable brush heads that are perfect in size and texture. The ergonomic wooden handle allows for a stronger grip to clean the corners perfectly.
Here are some of our top recommendations:
Why go for it: The loofah sponge is a plant-based and 100% biodegradable sponge that can last for up to 2 months! They are not processed and are chemical-free.
- 100% biodegradable and compostable, either in a commercial facility or backyard within a month.
- Best substitute to conventional plastic sponges
- It can be a bit rough at first
Tip: You can soak the loofah sponge in warm water to make it softer before cleaning the dishes.
Here are some of our top recommendations:
Multi-use cleaning cloth
Why go for it: Paper towels can be wasteful. Even though they are cheap, single-use paper towels can be costly if used regularly. Moreover, millions of trees are destroyed to produce these single-use items.
A reusable cleaning cloth is the best alternative to clean different surfaces and countertops because it is designed to wipe up all the dirt and dry surfaces.
How to discard: These reusable cleaning cloths are extremely durable and can last for several months. You can discard it in the recycling unit.
- Reusable and long-lasting
- Safe to use and chemical-free
- You will have to wash the cloth after every use
Here are some of our top recommendations:
Dishwashing soap bar
Why go for it: conventional liquid dishwashing soap comes in plastic and contains chemicals that can be harsh on your skin. Detergents are manufactured from synthetic chemical compounds that can break down into additional toxic byproducts in the water stream and oceans.
A sustainable dishwashing soap bar is made from toxic-free ingredients, is plastic-free and durable. The dishwashing bar soap is made from vegetable and essential oils. Plus, it is gentle on the skin.
How to discard: These dishwashing soap bars do not produce any waste.
- Lathers like conventional soap
- Gentle on hands
- Chemical-free and plastic-free
Dishwashing detergent pods
Why go for it: Plastic-free dishwashing pods are 100% biodegradable (even the pod shell). These pods are made from eco-friendly and toxic-free ingredients that are effective at removing grease, stains, and dirt. These pods are made from a water-soluble film with natural ingredients and harmless chemicals.
How to discard: The detergent pods are made from a water-soluble film, which gets dissolved in water.
- No artificial colors or synthesized fragrance
- Biodegradable, phosphate-free formula
- Non-toxic and fish-friendly
- They are more expensive than conventional detergents.
Reusable dishwashing cleaning gloves
Why go for it: The gloves are ethically made from non-polluting PVC and organic cotton. The fabric is weaved together with flocking durable technology and better overall performance.
How to discard: These gloves are compostable (Cut them into small pieces before throwing them in the compost)
- Durable and long-lasting
- Non-slip design
- Excellent protection from hot water
Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Storing Food
Silicone vegetable bags
Why go for it: They are the perfect reusable and durable alternative to plastic zip locks and other single-use items. These vegetable bags are made from BPA-free, non-toxic and harmless chemicals. This material is harmless to the environment and humans.
How to discard: The material can be recycled and is eco friendly - no BPA, BPF and PVC.
- Eco friendly and safe
- Easy to use
- The initial cost is higher
Stainless steel containers
Why go for it: Stainless steel containers can be used endlessly, even though they are 100% recyclable.
These are the most suitable alternatives to plastic containers. They are best used to store leftovers, meal plans and freeze things too! They can help reduce a lot of single-use waste.
These products are 100% recyclable and non-toxic.
How to discard it: You can discard it in a metal recycling unit.
- They are available in many shapes and sizes
- Low-quality stainless steel may contain pollutants.
It is recommended to choose products with exceptional standards of stainless steel
Why go for it: Aluminium wraps are wasteful because they are single-use. Instead, beeswax wraps help to keep food fresh, while being reusable and eco friendly.
To improve the life of wax wraps, wash them with cold water and soap and pat them dry with a cloth towel. Beeswax wraps are made from organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil and tree resin. Even the fabric and paint on the wrap is certified by Global Organic Textile Standards.
How to discard: Washable, reusable and compostable.
- Reusable food wraps
- Available in a variety of sizes
- 100% Biodegradable
- Heat can destroy it - keep the beeswax wrap away from the microwave and hot food.
Eco-friendly Kitchen Products for Cooking
Silicone baking sheets
Why go for it: Silicone baking sheets are reusable, unlike single-use parchment paper sheets. These are made from safe food-grade silicone and can be reused. They are also easy to clean.
Material: Non-toxic food-grade silicone.
- Food-grade silicone
- Easy to clean
- No need for oil or cooking spray
- Suitable only up to 420 degrees F
- The sheet can get stained
Silicone cupcake molds
Why go for it: Like silicone mats, silicone cupcake molds are a better option because they can be used many times and can withstand baking temperatures. These silicone molds are made from 100% food-grade silicone, BPA free, non-toxic and they are eco friendly.
How to discard: Can be recycled
- Available in different sizes
- A bit hard to clean
Wooden cutting board
Why go for it: These cutting boards are made from 100% bamboo and offer more durability than usual cutting boards for the kitchen.
Material: The cutting board is made from 100% bamboo wood. The nonporous design of the cutting board absorbs less liquid and is resistant to cracks and peeling.
How to discard: Bamboo wood is 100% biodegradable and can be discarded in backyard compost or commercial composting units.
- It is easy to clean
- Catches any liquid runoff
- Sturdy design and built-in handles
- You need to “season” bamboo cutting boards regularly.
To season your board, first, wash it with hot soapy water and let it dry. Once it's dry, saturate the board with food-safe mineral oil and then wipe out the oil. This will help to prolong the life of your cutting board.
Stainless steel veggie peeler
Why go for it: A stainless steel veggie peeler is a 100% recyclable, plastic-free alternative. It can last a lifetime if you take care of it. It is made from 100% recyclable stainless steel.
How to discard: Stainless steel can be recycled.
- Plastic-free alternative
- Low-quality stainless steel may contain pollutants
Cotton oven gloves
Why choose it: Organic cotton gloves are ethically sourced and use less water during production. They do not contain toxic chemicals or fertilizers.
Material: Made from 100% organic cotton and natural plant dyes like pomegranate, turmeric and indigo.
How to discard: These are biodegradable and can be discarded in compost.
- Safe to use
- Natural plant dyes
- Cheaper cotton oven gloves may not have very good heat resistance
Silicone eco-friendly baking tools
Why go for it: Eco-friendly baking tools are natural and made from non-toxic food-grade silicone with a vegetable oil-coated finish.
- eco-friendly and non-toxic
- Silicone may not always be safe at high heat
- Silicone can be a bit unstable which can result in spills
Eco-friendly Kitchen Products: Shopping
Why go for it: Eco-friendly tote bags are washable and reusable. The soft fabric handles help you carry it comfortably. These are designed to last a lifetime.
Material: 100% unbleached, organic cotton.
How to discard: These bags are 100% biodegradable and can be discarded in the compost.
- No bleach or dye
- 100% organic cotton and compostable
- Reusable and machine washable
- The bags can be breeding grounds for foodborne bacteria so wash the bags regularly
Why go for it: You can reuse any existing glass jar or get a new set of glass jars. Store food items or use them to freeze things.
How to discard: Can be recycled
- Infinitely reusable
Bamboo cutlery set
Why go for it: Bamboo cutlery is a simple yet stylish alternative to single-use plastic cutlery. There are no toxic chemicals used in the entire manufacturing process, making them fit for use with food products. They won't scratch your dishes and are sustainable. You can wash them after every use and they can be composted when they wear out.
How to discard: Compost or recycle
- Easy to carry
- Heat resistant
Eco-friendly Kitchen Products: Other
Why go for it: Composting is an important aspect of a zero-waste lifestyle. This practice helps to significantly reduce wet waste from the kitchen.
If the organic waste ends up in landfills, it cannot be biodegradable. It can release methane after rotting, which is potent to trap heat in the atmosphere.
Compostable trash bin bags
Why go for it: Compostable trash bags have liners are the best alternative to single-use plastic bags. The best practice to reduce waste is to segregate it. If the bags get dirty, you can wash and reuse them!
As you can tell, there are sustainable alternatives to almost every item in the kitchen! Most of these products are biodegradable/compostable, if not reusable. But keep in mind to purchase only what is required. It’s always better to use what you already have rather than buying new things that are more sustainable. Remember, the goal is to find kitchen products that can help you create a sustainable and zero-waste kitchen.
Lastly, if you want to know more about being eco friendly at home, check out our last article: