Looking to make your home more eco-friendly? I’m sharing 10 easy tips to make your kitchen more sustainable that have worked for me!
Creating a more sustainable home is one way you can reduce your carbon footprint. Since moving to Boston, I’ve made a conscious effort to live my life in a more eco-friendly way. Since I spend a lot of time in the kitchen, this was the obvious place to start for me!
Read on to learn about some easy product swaps and tips to get you started building a more sustainable kitchen!
1. Buy in Bulk
Whenever I need grains, nuts, dried fruit, or seeds for a recipe, I head to the bulk bins first. Many large grocery stores like Whole Foods and Wegman’s have extensive bulk sections for you to take advantage of. Bring a reusable container or bags to fill up. You’ll also save money by shopping the bulk section, because you can get only the amount of food you need!
2. Reusable Shoppers
One of the easiest ways to make your grocery shopping trips and kitchen more sustainable is to use reusable shopping bags. While paper bags may seem greener than plastic bags, they still have a big impact on the environment. Paper bag manufacturing takes up four times more water than that of plastic bags, and the paper used to make them is often not recycled. And because they’re heavier, paper bags use more resources to transport them (1).
You don’t even necessarily need to purchase reusable shoppers. Stores like Lululemon and Athleta give them out to hold your purchases. I use these all the time when I grocery shop, and they hold up well for months and months. Keep your reusable shoppers by the door or in your car, so you never forget them.
3. Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
There is really no need to stick your produce in those thin plastic produce bags you find in rolls all over the produce section. But, I totally understand the desire to keep apples with apples and oranges with oranges. Enter reusable mesh produce bags! There are tons of brands available on Amazon, but these are the ones I use and love because they are a bit thicker. If they get a little dirty, I just throw them in the wash!
I also use these bags for things besides produce. They’re good for travel to hold toiletries, as a mini dirty laundry bag, or to hold sweaty clothing after the gym.
4. Stasher Bags
I love my little collection of Stasher bags! These silicone pouches completely erased the need for plastic baggies in my kitchen. Stasher bags are durable, leak-proof, and see through, so you know exactly what you are storing. And can we talk about all the gorgeous color options they have? They’re perfect for half-used produce, snacks, and just about anything you’d use a Ziploc baggie for.
We have four or five original sized bags and 3 snack sized bags, and that is the perfect amount for our family of two. They’re also great to hold non-food items, like makeup!
5. Beeswax Wraps
Beeswax wraps are my second-favorite sustainable swap for food storage. They are cotton sheets coated with beeswax, which makes them pliable and easy to wrap around bowls, fruit, cheese, etc. I love to use these for more awkward-shaped items, like half of a cut melon, or something that wouldn’t fit in my Stasher bags. They’re a great alternative to plastic wrap!
6. Various Sizes Glass Jars/Storage Containers
Glass containers are my favorite for storing extra dry goods. Off the top of my head, I know I have glass jars filled with leftover nuts, chia seeds, cacao powder, oats, and lentils in my kitchen right now! I prefer glass containers because they don’t hold on to odors as much as plastic Tupperware.
If you don’t have glass containers, Ball Mason jars and Weck jars are both wonderful! I also have lots of repurposed glass containers from things like peanut butter or tomato sauce that I just clean and hold onto.
7. Cloth Napkins
This is one of my newer practices, but it’s been a super simple swap. Instead of using paper napkins with meals, I’ve been grabbing a cloth napkin or clean tea towel. Unless I spill something major, I’ll even just use the same napkin for 3-4 meals before tossing it in the laundry hamper. Stock up on a few pretty sets, so you’ll always have a clean one on hand! I love these simple linen blend ones.
8. Metal/Bamboo Straws
You need a reusable straw for all those iced matchas or smoothies you’re making this summer! We all know paper straws suck, and they are definitely not the answer. I love these metal straws, especially in gold! I also recently got a few beautiful bamboo straws, and I think they are PERFECT for thick smoothies because they are a bit wider.
9. Reusable Cleaning Sponges
I love these reusable cleaning sponges as a replacement for paper towels! They’re super sturdy and durable. When they are dirty, just toss them in the laundry to be washed. They are biodegradable, vegan, and can be washed and reused over 100 times!
10. Reduce Food Waste
One of the simplest ways to create a more sustainable kitchen is to reduce food waste! Many of us aren’t fully aware of how much food we are wasting on a regular basis. In the United States, it’s estimated that 30-40 percent of the food supply goes to waste (2). Tossing out those less than prime berries, making something new for dinner when you have leftovers, or not using the whole vegetable are all culprits.
Some easy ways to reduce food waste are:
Eat your leftovers for lunch the next day
Cook using the whole vegetable. Roast up broccoli stalks, make pesto from carrot tops, braise beet greens…the possibilities are endless!
Pickle leftover vegetables. See instructions here for my favorite way to quick pickle vegetables!