8 Sustainable Kitchen Swaps
I’m always trying to minimize my impact on the environment and I found that a lot of single-use plastic comes from my kitchen. There are so many fun and simple ways to make sustainable switches in the kitchen. Here are 10 simple sustainable swaps I’ve made in my kitchen.
Swedish Towel vs. Paper Towels
According to the Environmental Protection Agency, in 2015 the U.S. generated about 7.4 billion pounds of waste consisting of paper towels and other paper products, such as toilet paper. Anything that is disposable, especially on a large scale such as this, impacts our environment. Not only is the massive amount of waste produced an issue, but also all the water and energy required to produce paper towels to keep up with the demand.
Reusable Straw vs. Single-use Plastic Straw
Based on research from the Be Straw Free campaign, Americans use about 500 million drinking straws every day which would fill over 125 school buses. Straws are small, but that amount of waste adds up. According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, plastic straws are in the top five most common items found during coastal clean ups. Since plastic straws are not recyclable this poses a serious threat to our environment. Bamboo, glass, silicone, metal whatever suits your fancy! You can even take them on the go with these bendable silicone straws.
Beeswax Wrap vs. Plastic Food Wrap
This is one of my favorite sustainable swaps, mostly because of the company that popularized the sustainable trend! Bee’s Wrap was founded by Sarah Kaeck to eliminate plastics used to store food in a healthier, more sustainable way. Bee’s Wrap uses ingredients you feel good about: beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. The company also partners with various other environmental organizations to work such as 1% for the Planet, The Bee Cause, The Rozalia Project, and National Geographic.
You’ll love the cute patterns from Bee’s Wrap, especially their ocean print which donates a percentage of sales to ocean conservancy, beach cleanups, and water stewardship.
Silicone Lids vs. Plastic Wrap
There is word on the street, that beeswax wrap does not have a great seal when putting it over bowls. I personally still love using it, but if you’re not a fan, why not try silicone stretch tops. They come in various sizes, are easy to clean, and give you a great seal! They’re also perfect for covering half that tomato or melon you cut up.
I ordered these silicone lids ones from Ever Eco!
Silicon Bags vs. Plastic Bags
Switching from single-use plastic bags to silicon bags was personally an easy switch because my Zip Top reusable bags are so much more functional than traditional plastic bags. These silicone bags are unique because they all have flat bottoms and are naturally propped open. This makes it easy to store actual meals rather than just small snacks. Acting as a bowl, but with the convenience of portability. But… when you do want to pack a snack the bag stays open so you don’t have to use one hand to keep it open and another to grab another chip.
I love the versatility of these reusable silicone bags and that they are dishwasher friendly!
Mesh Produce Bags vs. Plastic Produce Bags
I love shopping for fresh produce to cook with rather than processed foods, but found myself collecting A LOT of plastic bags. I used to put the produce directly in my cart, but somehow felt it was unsanitary, would bruise my soft fruits, and wasn’t working for bulk items like spinach and mushrooms. Recently, I switched to mesh produce bags and I LOVE them!
These mesh produce bags from Ever Eco are simple and the mesh very fine so you can rinse your produce right in the bag and it dries easily if you want to throw it directly in the fridge after rinsing. They also come with this convenient carrying case to clip onto your reusable bags so you don’t forget them.
Cloth Napkins vs. Paper Napkins
There are so many reasons to use cloth napkins over paper napkins. The obvious reason that it will reduce the amount of waste you produce. There are some serious advantages of cloth napkins: they look nicer, they are more durable, and over time I’m sure they cost less than constantly buying paper napkins. Who wouldn’t want to save money while saving the environment. Sounds like a win-win to me!
I purchased these cloth napkins and found they are soft and hold up in the wash nicely.
Silicone Baking Mat vs. Aluminum Foil
My go to dinner usually involves baking something in my oven, such as veggies or flatbreads. I was going through rolls and rolls of aluminum foil. Although cooking with aluminum foil is considered safe, I found that using a silicone baking sheet not only reduces the aluminum baked into my veggies, but also reduces my waste.
I have this silicone mat that I found for under $20 that works well for temperatures up to 475 degrees.