I’ll share seven easy swaps for a more sustainable kitchen that we’ve made over the years and in the last few months! These changes have reduced our trips to the big trash bin and our reliance on products that need to be replaced time and again. They are also completely within our control. How many things can you say that about these days?
Remember way back in March when stay at home orders became a thing? (How can you not?!) With all of us at home, all the time, cleaning and sanitizing everything, the waste we produced grew overnight. On top of anxiety over the virus, virtual learning and social distancing, I also began to worry even more about our personal impact on the environment.
We are definitely NOT perfect, but we try to reduce, reuse and recycle wherever we can. Every so often, we adopt another habit to lesson our impact. Some stick, some don’t (like composting — one day, though!). The kitchen, at least in our home, is the source of most of our waste. Groceries in, garbage out. (I’m happy to say we’ve got it back under control.) It’s also the area where small changes can make a huge difference.
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This was a big one for us at the beginning of the pandemic, born out of necessity and not choice. With the paper
hoarding shortage, we needed an alternative for cleaning up and I will never go back! We still buy traditional paper towels, because some messes just need to be thrown away. But, a two-pack lasts us weeks.
This 20-pack of microfiber cloths means I can use one per day and only need to launder them every couple of weeks. I rinse it in warm water, and perhaps a little soap, between uses. At the end of the day, it goes to the laundry room. I store them rolled-up, in a small basket on the counter for easy access.
TIP: launder them alone or with other lint-free fabrics using a mild, fragrance/dye-free detergent and don’t use fabric softener.
These are amazing for two main reasons: 1) No need for plastic wrap, and 2) I don’t have to always transfer leftovers into another container.
They are BPA-free, and can go in the freezer, microwave and dishwasher. These fit our soup / cereal bowls and most of my prep bowls.
Another great alternative to plastic wrap! I use these to wrap block cheeses and halved lemons or to cover bowls, but you can really wrap anything in them (almost).
TIP: handwash with soap and cold water between uses.
REUSABLE STORAGE BAGS — GALLON + SNACK/SANDWICH
As you might have guessed, these are a great swap for disposable zip-top bags. While stiffer then the plastic variety, they are leak proof and can safely go in the freezer, too. (You could also use them as a wet bag for the pool or beach.) They are hand washable, but I’ve been known to put the smaller ones in the top rack of the dishwasher.
I admit, I was a little worried about trying these the first time. I wondered if they’d be strong enough and leak-proof. Nothing to worry about here! They are more expensive than regular plastic trash bags, but one box of 45 lasts us an average of five months — because we’re producing less waste!
I love these for storing leftovers. They can go from the fridge to the microwave and there’s no need to dirty additional dishes. I also have a couple larger ones I use for marinating meats (instead of a disposable zip-top bag). I like them for this purpose because they can go in the dishwasher.
When possible, I try to avoid purchasing food or cleaning products packaged in plastic. Same goes for bulk vegetables — forget the flimsy plastic bag roll next to those green beans and use these color-coded, washable, mesh produce bags instead. They stay tucked in my tote of reusable grocery bags so I don’t forget them at home.
I know this is just the tip of the iceberg! It’s exciting how many alternatives there are to help us reduce waste and do our part to save the planet. If you’ve made unique swaps in your kitchen, please share by leaving a comment!