Want to lead a more eco-friendly life without having to dramatically alter your existing lifestyle? Everyone can benefit from making simple shifts towards reusable home and cleaning products. To get you started, here are a few zero-waste kitchen essentials, so that you can begin to create a more environmentally sustainable kitchen without overcomplicating your day-to-day routine.
Reusable Paper Towels
In the United States alone, we use 13 billion pounds of paper towels each year. While some paper towels are made of recycled materials, that doesn’t necessarily mean that you can recycle these paper towels again after you’re done with them. Instead of traditional paper towels, consider opting for these heavy-duty, reusable paper towels. To store them in the kitchen, you can wrap them around a traditional paper towel holder, but I’d recommend simply placing them in a sturdy basket right on your counter or under the cupboard. Plus, they’re made from recycled materials and are bio-degradable, so when you do finally finish using them, you don’t have to worry about them clogging up a landfill.
Food Storage Bags
Did you know that, according to theearthcounts.com, we use 5 trillion plastic bags a year? Say goodbye to Ziplock bags that take centuries to degrade and hello to these silicone, reusable food storage bags. These bags can withstand both hot and cold temperatures and will keep an airtight seal just like a traditional zip-locked baggie. This set also includes conveniently sized, stretchy silicone lids that are perfect to use on top of whatever food storage containers you may have instead of the traditional, single-use plastic wraps.
Eco-Friendly Sponges, Dish Brushes & Dishwashing Gloves
Everyone has their own preferred methods and tools when it comes to washing dishes. Most sponges contain microplastics that make their way into our water system and end up in our oceans. This doesn’t mean you need to eliminate sponges from your cleaning routine entirely, but if you do choose to use sponges, consider purchasing biodegradable sponges. These sponges will last you just as long as your traditional sponges but are made from a natural, odor-resistant material. If you prefer a dish brush, these short, bamboo dish brushes are great for plates and utensils, while these long bamboo dish brushes are great for glassware, pots, and pans. Additionally, if you’d prefer to get in there with your hands, these silicone dishwashing gloves have built-in brushes to help you scrub away any food residue.
Reusable Keurig Cups
I, personally, love my Keurig machine and use it every morning, but there’s no denying that single-use, non-recyclable plastic pods can have catastrophic effects on the environment. In fact, The Story of Stuff estimates that the amount of K-Cups already in landfills could wrap around the planet 10 times. Luckily, Keurig has transitioned towards using exclusively recyclable pods. While this is a great step forward, you can also purchase a reusable Keurig cup to fill with your favorite ground coffee. Keurig sells its own reusable coffee filter that you can purchase directly from their website. While there seem to be some mixed reviews, these reusable K Cup coffee pod filters come in a pack of two and include a coffee scoop for a similar price point.
Biodegradable Trash Bags
While not necessarily zero-waste, we understand that waste happens. The carbon footprint of plastic, which includes the standard plastic garbage bags many people use in their homes, is expected to produce more than 56 gigatons of carbon between now and 2050, and the CO2 emissions released from plastic are headed towards over 2.75 billion tons per year. Opting for durable, compostable trash bags, like these Reli. Compostable Garbage Bags helps reduce your carbon footprint when you do (inevitably) need to throw something away.