When it comes to making environmentally-conscious decisions, it can be overwhelming knowing where and how to begin. For many, the kitchen is the heart of the home, so that may be a great place to start! But, don't worry about having to embark on an entire lifestyle makeover - you'll find that small, thoughtful choices can make a huge difference.
Ditch single-use plastic in the kitchen
Contrary to popular belief, switching out your wasteful plastic products for more sustainable, reusable products doesn't cost an arm and a leg. In fact, you'll actually save money in the long run! Say goodbye to single-use plastic wrap, baggies, and coffee pods to welcome more eco-friendly options into your home.
Reusable beeswax wraps
One of the newest trends in reducing waste - beeswax wraps are better for the environment than disposable plastic and can be used multiple times. These reusable wraps are perfect for covering baked goods, cheese, large bowls, fruits, and more! Did we mention they're fun to use? Use your hands to warm up the wrap and mold it around the container or stick it together to save food. They're washable, reusable, and when the time comes - compostable!
Reusable food storage bags
The environment (and your wallet) will thank you when you finally give disposable storage bags the boot! Reusable food storage bags are often made from non-toxic, temperature-resistant, food-grade silicone and are an excellent alternative to plastic. Airtight seals allow for flavors and freshness to get locked in while keeping food better, longer.
Reusable silicone stretch lids
Your days of wrestling with plastic wrap and aluminum foil are over. Stretchable silicone covers are going to be the newest tool in your kitchen storage arsenal. Not only will you save money from not having to buy unnecessarily expensive plastic wrap, but your food waste will also go way down as these little guys can help extend food's shelf life!
Reusable coffee pods
If you are a single-serve coffee machine caffinator, you may be alarmed by the number of coffee pods you go through in a year. Quit your landfill-filling habit and switch out your single-use pods for their more sustainable cousin. These reusable coffee pods are cute, BPA-free, and fit most single-serve coffee models.
Reduce your paper waste in the kitchen
Paper production uses a crazy amount of natural resources each year and decreasing your paper waste is one of the best ways to introduce a more sustainable lifestyle into your home. While a zero-paper way of life may not be achievable, there are several ways you cut back.
Sustainable paper towels
Companies like Seventh Generation make paper towels derived from recycled paper and are free of inks, dyes, or fragrances.
If you are looking to nix paper towels altogether, there are washable, multi-use cloths on the market that may be a great alternative. These clothes by Clorox may be used up to 20 times and are super absorbent. These Swedish dishcloths are composed of 70% cellulose wood pulp and 30% cotton. They absorb up to 15 times their weight and outlast the traditional cotton dishcloth! Simply throw them in the dishwasher or washer machine when needed.
Cloth coffee filters
If single-serve coffee machines aren't your thing, cloth coffee filters are a great alternative to chemical-filled paper filters. After you brew your coffee, all you need to do is compost your grounds and wash out the filter - consumers report getting well over 100 brews per filter before they begin to deteriorate.
Support the environment with eco-friendly food choices
Believe it or not, another part of the kitchen that has a considerable impact on the household's sustainability is how much trash and food scraps you are throwing away. There are ways you can reduce the amount of food waste in your home.
Conduct a food audit
Conducting a food audit will help you understand which "waste streams" your items fall into: compost, recycling, or garbage. Go into your cabinets, pantry, refrigerator, freezer, shelves, cellar… search it all! Once you have a list of all your items, determine which zero (or lower) waste alternatives are available instead.
Once you have a better handle on your habits, you can begin learning how to purchase healthier and more sustainable food and packaging for meals, events, and holidays.
- Don't buy more perishables than you can consume
- Shop bulk for non-perishables such as rice, beans, grains, oats, etc. (bring your own containers to fill!)
- Preserve foods such as meats, vegetables, and fruits
- Choose easily recyclable materials when zero waste is not an option
Composting does so many wondrous things for the environment! It enriches the soil, reduces landfill waste, and introduces beneficial microorganisms to the earth. There are many different ways you can make a compost pile both indoors and out! If you do not have enough space in the backyard to begin a pile, a special indoor compost bin can be purchased at a local hardware or gardening store to start your indoor composting journey. And don't worry - a properly managed bin will not attract any unwanted pests or omit any odors.
Compost-friendly kitchen scraps
- Fruits and vegetables
- Cooked rice
- Shrimp, lobster, and crab shells
- Liquid from canned goods
- Egg cartons
- Coffee grounds
- Shredded newspaper