The kitchen can be a very wasteful room in the house, especially with the large amounts of plastic packaging for food, storage containers and cleaning products. If you are just starting on your low waste and sustainable lifestyle journey, there are a few simple swaps to make your kitchen more sustainable and eco-friendly.
Toxin-Free Bamboo Utensils
If it’s time to replace your kitchen utensils with something more sustainable and safe, you can’t do better than these non-toxic bamboo cooking utensils. They’re the perfect alternative to plastic ladles and spoons, is healthy, long-lasting and elegant.
Alternatively, silicone sets are also better than the older plastic versions if you’re looking for a softer material than bamboo.
French Press or Traditional Espresso Maker
Coffee machines that use pods generate a lot of waste that can be avoided. The pods can also be pricey so moving to a more sustainable way of drinking coffee will save the planet and your money.
Ditch your coffee pods or filter coffee for a more traditional gadget that produces a lot less waste. This French Press is a great alternative if you prefer filtered or if you enjoy a stronger coffee with a bit more oomph you can opt for a stovetop espresso maker.
But if you’re into convenience and would still like a machine with less waste then these espresso makers are definitely better than filter coffee machines and coffee pod options in terms of waste generation.
Composting is a great option for reducing waste. Throwing scraps in the bin will most likely mean that it will be incinerated, especially if you’re in the UK, and if it does end up in landfill it’s not likely to decompose due to the way landfills are sealed and compacted.
Having a countertop composting bin like this, especially if you have a curbside compost collection in your area is a great way to reduce waste.
Snapware Food Storage
The safety of plastic food storage containers are highly debated, and they are of course made of plastic which can end up in our oceans even if you recycle. Unless you buy the traditional branded Tupperware, which last ages and can be sent back to Tupperware once you’re done with them, opting for glass is a great hassle-free long-term solution.
These snapware glass food storage containers are a great alternative to their plastic counterparts, they can be used safely in the freezer or microwave if you have one.
Buy in Bulk
Buying food staples such as pasta, flour and nuts in bulk help to reduce packaging, is usually easier on your pocket and will save you time in the long run. Using Zero Waste stores, if you have one in your area or even online sellers to buy whole, organic foods in bulk every few months is a good sustainable option for buying pantry staples. Knowing that you’re always well-stocked will put your mind at ease, and you’ll be ready for any eventuality that may occur, even a pandemic.
Ditch the Teflon
I don’t often encourage anyone to replace items that are still perfectly functional, but Teflon is one exception as it can potentially be toxic. Choosing non-toxic cookware is an absolute must. These stainless steel or cast iron options will last longer and have less chance of contaminating your food with toxins. When it comes to cookware being a traditionalist rather than buying into the latest marketing ploy is most likely the safest option in the long run.
Use Looseleaf Tea
When you consider that tea bags of all things contain plastic, switching to loose leaf tea is a no brainer. The flavour of loose-leaf is usually better and if you have a nifty tea strainer or even a traditional teapot and sieve you’ll have a better and more sustainable brew all round!
Glass Jars and Mason Jars
Saving jars from products you have bought and re-using them to store items is a great way of reducing waste. Alternatively, you can look into buying your own mason jars if you’re looking for specific sizes, however, I have found collecting jars from store-bought products are equally effective.
Make Packed Lunch in Stainless Steel Lunch Boxes
Meal deal sandwiches and shop-bought lunch almost always come in packaging that will end up in the waste bin and can be very pricey. It’s normally filled with questionable ingredients and/or low-quality produce so making a packed lunch is a much better option for your waistline, health, wallet and the environment.
These stainless steel lunchboxes are compact, durable and non-toxic and are perfect for packing last night’s leftover dinner, a salad wrap or even a sandwich. Your health and your finances will love this swap!
Eco-Friendly Dish Sponges and Scourers
Replacing your plastic washing-up sponge with a more sustainable option next time you buy one is an absolute must. I’ve written a detailed post about eco-friendly washing-up sponges previously, but to make a long story short these options are more sustainable and will last longer:
Beeswax or Vegan Food wraps
Plastic food wrap is single-use, rarely recycled and is very wasteful overall. It contributes to the marine plastic problem, is dangerous for animals and most likely leach chemicals into your food. Need I say more. I’ve swapped plastic food wrap for sustainable beeswax and vegan wax food wraps.
If you’re in the UK this company in Leicestershire makes a mean vegan wrap find them on Amazon.
Buy Seasonal Veg Boxes or Grow your Own
Seasonal veg boxes from someone like Riverford contain a lot less packaging as they collect used boxes, is 100% organic and will help you to cook fresh food every week. Cooking from scratch and avoiding processed foods is better for your health and the environment, especially with concerns over the quality of processed foods.
Growing your own food either indoors or in your garden is a great option for reducing food packaging, pesticides, carbon emissions and toxins.
If you’d like to learn more about sustainable kitchen utensils overall, read our sustainable kitchen utensils guide for a list of durable items that you will use and love forever.