We use a lot of “stuff” in our kitchens so it’s a great place to start if you’re trying to be more eco-conscious and environmentally friendly.
I’ve shared some of my experiences with the suggested products and why I think they are the best choice below. But if you’re in a hurry, here are the 7 must-have items to make your kitchen more eco-friendly, without spending a fortune. The links will take you directly to the Amazon description:
Reusable Grocery Bags – If you have a mishmash of bags that are bulky to carry around, or you don’t have enough, check these out.
Reusable Produce Bags – Just get these. They’re a reasonable price and they’ll save you a lot of single-use plastic.
Ziplock Bag Replacements – I used to be a little bit addicted to ziplock bags. This reusable set solved that problem.
Beeswax Foodwrap For Covering Bowls & Wrapping Food – Bye-Bye plastic wrap!
Foolproof Storage Containers – This reasonably priced set has the sizes I actually need and doesn’t take up much space. BONUS – They’re glass.
Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent – No plastic packaging. No bad chemicals. And it does a terrific job cleaning your dishes.
Water Filter – Save money and reduce plastic use by purifying your own water. It will give you great peace of mind and excellent tasting water.
Kitchen Counter Compost Bin – Need a place to store those scraps before they go out to the compost heap? This bin solves several common problems and looks great, too!
Here’s why these products are worth a look.
One of the most newsworthy topics right now in regard to the environment is single-use plastics and what to do about them.
In Maine where I am lucky enough to visit each year, in some towns they’ve banned the use of plastic bags as an option in the grocery checkout line. They have paper, but they will charge you 5 cents for each bag you need. You may be noticing this in your town as well. I think this kind of law is spreading in many states in the U.S.
I’m all for it! This is a great way to get people in the habit of bringing their own reusable bags. Because for years and years it was just easier not to.
Similarly, if you want to cut out single-use plastic you’ll want to have some kind of produce bag to put your tomatoes in at the store, easy to use options for storing leftover foods, better ways to handle your trash and so on.
Early on in my quest to quit single-use plastics, I would sometimes find myself standing in my kitchen with a little bit of extra chopped red peppers or onions and trying to figure out what to do with them. In the “olden days” I would have put them in a plastic baggie or else in a small dish with plastic wrap on top.
Yes, I have some small plastic containers that I can use for this purpose, but it always seems like they are already in the fridge with something else I’m saving for the next night’s dinner or sent in a lunch bag with snacks in them. I mean really, now many airtight containers can you keep in your cupboards?!?
Here’s what worked for me:
Big & Strong Reusable Bags – In FUN Patterns!
If you want a really big reusable grocery bag, then check out this awesome set of 6 in fun prints and colors. They hold about twice as much as your standard reusable grocery bag. Supposedly they hold up to 50 pounds without tearing, but I can’t say I’ve ever loaded them up that much. I don’t generally like to carry 50 pounds in one bag!
BUT, they really work well when you are buying bulky items like a 12 pack of toilet paper or something like that.
These are super handy because they go right into the wash and fold up into their own convenient pouch (attached so it won’t get lost!). The straps are long enough that you can carry them on your shoulder. And, you get 6 bags for a very reasonable price. Plus, did I mention they are really cute?!?
Standard Size Grocery Bags
Personally, I prefer to lift a little less than what those extra-large bags can hold when I’m filling them up with canned goods and other heavy grocery store items. So although I really like them for shopping at Target or something like that where I might get throw pillows or a roll of gift wrap or something. They aren’t always perfect for me for the grocery store.
So for reusable grocery store bags of a bit more manageable size, I love these Chico Bags which you can check out on Amazon. They have a clip that you can clip on your purse or your belt loop if, like me, you don’t always have room in your purse for a bunch of reusable bags.
They are about the same size as a plastic grocery bag and hold up to 25 pounds.
My Favorite Produce Bags
When it comes to fresh produce, there are some awesome mesh bags out there that you can take with you, just like your standard grocery bag, so you won’t have to use the plastic bags on the roll to keep your fresh veggies under control.
This set is terrific! It comes with 12 bags in 3 different sizes. It’s made of 100% organic cotton and is machine washable. You can click here to see them on Amazon. I love that they have color-coded tabs that actually have the tare weight clearly printed on them so it’s super easy for the cashier to deduct the weight of the bag.
I also love that this company doesn’t use any plastic in the packing of this item. Your set of bags comes in a reusable cloth bag. I found these to be a great quality for a reasonable price.
Food Storage Solutions
Beeswax Food Wrap
You can use this wrap for covering bowls and doing lots of things that you usually turn to plastic wrap for. I was so used to always grabbing that roll of saran wrap to put on the top of bowls to store leftovers or to wrap a half-eaten cucumber in. I was intrigued by the Beeswax Wraps for literally 2 years before I got up the courage to try them out.
They seemed kind of pricey. Would they work? How the heck do you get them clean? Would they hold food odor? Why doesn’t the beeswax just come off? So many questions. And then finally I just decided to give this adorable 4 pack of beeswax food wraps a shot. I got them on Amazon. I love them! They work great.
If you are on the fence about whether to try Beeswax food wraps just go ahead and give them a try. You’ll save so much single-use plastic!
The Right Size Storage Containers
If you’re like me you’ve got a stash of plastic food storage containers. When I was working to quit using single-use plastics in the kitchen I quickly realized that having the right sized containers would make it a lot easier. If you’re in the market for a few new sizes, check out this great Anchor Hocking set that has 13 glass bowls ranging from 1 cup to 7 cups and includes BPA free plastic lids.
I love it that there are four 1-cup bowls because that’s a size that we end up needing a lot! They stack and store just great and are dishwasher, freezer, and microwave safe. Glass doesn’t hold odors or stain. So it’s my top choice for storage.
Reusable Ziplock Bags
True confession time. I used to use A LOT of ziplock bags. They were so handy and didn’t take up a lot of space and I didn’t think twice about using them for any little job, even if they were only going to hold food for a couple of hours and be thrown out.
Then I got more aware of the single-use plastic problem and I would feel guilty about using them. But they were soooo convenient. I hated to let them go.
Finally, I decided to try some of the reusable bags. This set worked great for me and I am happy to say I am now almost 100% ziplock bag free! One of the reasons I like this set is that they are really easy to clean because they don’t have a lot of extra crack and crevices.
These bags are also able to go in the freezer or the microwave. You can even put them into boiling water if you want to heat something up that way. One caveat is that the slider bars that come with these to seal them aren’t super heat resistant, so just keep that in mind and I think you’ll really like these!
Miscellaneous Greener Kitchen Items That Make a Big Difference
If you aren’t crazy about the taste of your water or you aren’t sure about how “pure” it is. A water purifier is an excellent idea. It will save you lots of money and plastic in comparison to using bottled water, even if you are bringing your containers back to the store to be refilled.
The BEST water filter that I’ve found is the Berkey. I’ve seen information about these for years. Seriously, people just seemed to be in love with their Berkeys. Now I know why.
It’s a terrific product that really purifies your water – it doesn’t just filter it. It can even remove fluoride if you are interested in that. There are too many great aspects of the Berkey to list them all here so just go check out the full description on Amazon and you can see for yourself. It’s a bit of an investment, but I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.
Kitchen Counter Compost Bin
If you are just collecting scraps for a few days and then plan on adding them to your compost bin you can use any container with a tight-fitting lid as long as you empty it frequently. Food scraps can start smelling pretty bad pretty fast.
Be sure to avoid using something like a stainless steel pot, however, because the acids in the food scraps will end up pitting the stainless steel and leave you with little holes in the bottom of the pot and they will eventually leak. I know. I was really surprised this happened, too. Stainless steel seems so solid and indestructible.
If you want to avoid all this hassle check out this really cute powered enamel food scrap bin. It’s available on Amazon and comes with a charcoal filter to keep smells under control (plus a spare so you should be set for about a year) and plastic insert pail that’s super easy to pull out, empty and clean and will not end up getting holes in it. This is one place that plastic makes a lot of sense to me. Fruit flies also don’t seem to be a problem with this bin. Yayyy!
Eco-Friendly Dishwasher Detergent
These Drops Dishwasher detergent pods are my favorite! I like them because even their packaging is environmentally friendly. They come in a recyclable cardboard box so you don’t keep using big plastic bottles.
These biodegradable formula pods are made of non-toxic plant materials. No fragrances. No plastics. No nasty chemicals. Just good clean dishes. (Yep. They even clean stuck on foods just fine!)
So those are my best picks for helping create a greener kitchen! Thanks for reading and thanks for caring about the health of our planet. The little actions we take each day can really add up and make a difference!