A zero-waste household is not just about being environmentally conscious, it’s a practice that’ll help you dramatically reduce your costs over time. Little by little, a little becomes a lot.
Don’t know where to start? We’re here to help you out with that.
The kitchen is a very special room in the house: food is prepared, families gather for meals, and people are brought together. In Christine Liu’s words, the kitchen is not only the place where we recharge, it’s where we reconnect.
The tools we use, and how we cook, clean and dispose of waste can have a huge impact not just on our bodies, but also our planet. When we’re cooking and cleaning, it’s easy to overlook the true impact that our everyday meals and materials have on our environment. This article will provide some great tips and alternative zero waste kitchen items to sustainably improve your kitchen routine.
We’ve written an article on how you can protect and store your food to prevent unnecessary waste.
Note: Our featured image is taken from a house tour of this arteco and industrial style stunner in Sliema
First, Remember: Only Buy What You Need
Stocking up with kitchen essentials is necessary to have a fully functioning workspace. But sometimes, we find that we don’t need all the fancy equipment which we really only end up using a handful of times. Changing the way you think about appliances can really make a difference. For instance:
- borrowing an appliance from a friend/ relative if you only plan on using something a few times
- only replace a kitchen appliance after you’ve tried to repair them
- if a new purchase must be made, look for energy-efficient appliances
Ready to start? Here are 10 kitchen essentials to help you stay plastic-free and get as close as possible to a zero-waste household.
1. Bamboo Dish Brush
This is a perfect kit for someone who wants to transition to a zero waste kitchen. The dish and bottle brush and great for cleaning plates, bowls, and glasses. And don’t worry! They are totally safe to use on copper pots. The Wild Minimalist kitchen kit is priced at $42.99, but you definitely get your money’s worth!
Each kit includes:
- 1 dish brush
- 1 dish brush replacement head
- 1 bottle brush
- 2 copper scrubbers
- choice of 1 spray or soap bottle
2. Reusable Paper Towels
The Wild Minimalist provides a sustainable alternative to disposable paper towels. So, without further adieu, say hello to the Unpaper Towel! These organic cotton cloths get more absorbent as you wash them, and each pack (of 12) offers you a different colour palette. Take you pick from rainbow, monochrome, or a clean white. Each pack is priced at $34.99.
Tip: Alternatively, you could use old cloth or warn out T-shirts. Simply wash and reuse.
3. Bamboo Utensils
With the warmer months approaching, many are looking forward to picnics and beach trips. Sadly, many prefer to carry disposable plastic cutlery because they’re light weight and convenient.
Bambaw provides a great zero waste alternative that still allows you to devour your rice salad without harming the planet. They come in a little handy pouch so they’re easy to carry around. Bambaw’s cutlery pack is priced at €19.99.
3. Mason Jar Glasses/ Bowls
The saying goes ‘Reduce, reuse, recycle’. If you ever buy anything contained in a mason jar don’t throw it out! Reduce your waste by reusing your jar as a glass or smoothie bowl, and you’ll be recycling like a pro!
4. Eco-Innova Zero Waste Reusable Lids
Get your zero waste eco-lids at Eco-Innova for the price of € 19.99. These FDA approved eco-lids are made from platinum silicone, one of the most food-safe materials. They’re 100% dish washer safe and incredibly flexible! The airtight seal makes it impossible for air to enter, and so keeps fruits and vegetables fresh for longer!
Their temperature resistance starts as low as -30 and withstands heat of 230°C. So they can be used in refrigerators, microwaves and freezers.
5. Reusable Produce/ Shopping Bags
In our article on properly storing foods, we mentioned in order to keep fruits and veg fresh is to separate them. Using produce bags like this one is a great way of doing that. Take these mesh bags with you when you go shopping and then chuck them and their contents in the fridge.
These bags come in sets of 5 and are priced at just $6.99.
6. Zero Waste Reusable Food Wraps
This uniquely designed food wrap does the same job as plastic wrap without the environmental repercussions. Just use the warmth of your hands to wrap the bee’s wrap around a piece of food or bowl.
They’re washable, reusable, and completely biodegradable! Not to mention wallet friendly (priced at $18), and they come in three different sizes. Made from organic cotton and sustainably harvested beeswax, these food wraps are the way to go! Find them here.
7. Reusable Baking Sheets
A zero waste alternative for parchment paper are these fantastic reusable silicon baking sheets. They are non-stick, easy to clean, and can be used in all types of ovens (except direct fire ovens).
So, they’re fantastic if you love baking sweet potatoe but hate scraping off the caramelized bits off your pan. You can find these on Amazon for the price of $9.99.
8. Sustainable Dish Soap
Dr. Bronner’s soaps can be used for any type of cleaning: body, makeup brushes, and for dishes. It goes without saying that you would use a different soap bar for each task.
If you’re unsure about using something that resembles body soap for your dishes, remember that the shampoo, conditioner, and body wash sitting in your shower right now contain Sodium laureth sulfate (or SLS). This is what causes your soap/ hair product to foam and clean your body/ hair. It’s also the same thing found in your dish soap.
Dr. Bronner‘s ingredients are all ethically sourced, and the package it contains 0% plastic. And they’re so affordable! Even popular Youtuber Sedona Christina uses it for dish washing!
Dr. Bronner uses Palm Oil, one of the lead causes of rain forest destruction. But the website strongly assures that their Palm Oil is ethically sourced, and is sustainably collected:
“The company’s palm oil is produced ethically from sustainably-harvested palm fruits in Ghana’s Eastern Region. […] These farms were developed without the widespread clear-cutting of rain forest and resulting devastation to local primates that are common nowadays with many of the newer, larger-scale palm oil plantations.“
If you’re still on the fence and want more information before making a decision, you can read the rest of their statement here.
9. Compostable Coffee Capsules
The home of the greenest coffee pot. Halō provides consumers with a sustainable way of enjoying coffee from capsules. According to the website, their capsules successfully degrade no matter where you dispose them in just 90 days. If you want to know more information about this, click here.
In addition, they come in a variety of fantastic flavours, and aren’t very pricey. Get a bundle of four boxes for £26, or a single box for £10.
10. Reusable Zip-Lock Bags
Zip-lock bags are great for storing foods and produce, travel make-up or any tiny miscellaneous items. But since they’re made from plastic they are widely unsustainable.
Enter the Stasher Bag. Granted it’s one of the more pricey items on this list (a bundle of four different sized bags goes for $49.99), but they’re a great investment!
The website states that each bag is made from ‘pure platinum silicone that is made from natural resources — primarily sand. It’s 100% plastic and BPA free with no fillers.‘
We hoped you enjoyed our top 10 kitchen zero waste alternatives! In reality, the best zero waste home is a minimalist home, where you only buy what you need. But we know that some unsustainable items, such as kitchen sponges, soap and coffee are staples for many. If you find the zero waste alternative for an unsustainable item in your kitchen, consider making the swap!
Read next: Tips on making your kitchen waste less and do more