21 zero waste kitchen swaps to help you live more sustainably
Think about all the single-use items that you keep buying. Products like sandwich bags, paper towels, and plastic wrap go straight to the trash can when you’re done, and from there they end up either in a landfill or in the ocean. Thrown leftovers also end up in landfills, where they can release methane into the atmosphere.
Fortunately, many of these products are fairly easy to replace. From silicone zippered bags to compostable dish brushes, there are tons of products that can be reused, composted, or responsibly recycled.
If you want to limit single-use items in your home, the kitchen is one of the best places to start. Here are our favorite zero waste kitchen swaps that won’t land in a landfill when it’s time for a new one.
Plastic zippered storage bags are used once and then go straight to the trash. However, these silicone bags are designed to last. They are made of food-safe silicone, are microwave and dishwasher safe and available in different sizes. This $ 49.99 starter pack will wean you off ziplocs as painlessly as possible.
Although some stores make compostable product bags, it’s still better to bring your own. Loose fruits or vegetables can go straight into these bags and your shopping cart. They’re also breathable, which is a plus for your products. Get this set of 5 for $ 15.55.
Invest in high quality plastic-free storage. This stainless steel set is available in five different sizes for $ 39.99 and has leak-proof silicone lids to prevent spills.
Once your plastic bowl brush gets gross, some parts of it may be recycled, but the head will likely go straight to a landfill. This $ 12.99 compostable dish brush has a natural tampico fiber brush head and beech wood handle, both of which are biodegradable. Once the brush head looks a little grubby, you can toss it in the compost and replace it with a new one.
By now, you probably have a reusable water bottle that can help cut down on plastic bottle waste. Keep your bottle sparkling clean with this compostable bottle brush. The bristles and handle are completely compostable, and the metal cables can be placed in your home’s trash. Keep your bottles clean for only $ 17.99.
If your kitchen needs heavy cleaning on a regular basis, try a compostable sponge instead of your old synthetic version. These sponges come in a set of 2 for $ 6.99 and are made from plant fibers like coconut husk and cellulose that help remove dirt from your dishes and counters. Once they need replacing, just toss them in the compost and get a new one.
If you drink coffee every day, use a French metal press to make it greener.
Dig takeaway coffee mugs for something greener. This French press is completely plastic-free, durable, and doesn’t require a disposable coffee filter to make a solid cup of coffee. It is also made of durable stainless steel. If you drop it, it won’t break. Plastic-free your coffee habit for $ 27.97.
If you have a chic keurig that you don’t want to give up, don’t worry. Just take some of these reusable K-cup pods (they come in a pack of 4 for $ 19.95) and fill them with your favorite coffee. You throw away a lot less plastic and can use coffee that isn’t in K-cups – it’s a win-win situation.
It’s not widely known, but most tea bags are reinforced with small amounts of plastic, which means they can’t be properly recycled or composted. Take the guesswork out of your tea trash and get yourself a fine-meshed stainless steel tea infusion for $ 7.99.
Conventional detergents are packaged in plastic bottles. However, these Cleancult detergents come in a recyclable paper-based box. The soap itself is based on coconut oil and is also non-toxic. Just pour one of these refills into your empty plastic bottle for reuse. The 32-ounce boxes are $ 12.99 or you can get a 3-pack for $ 29.99.
Making your own cleaning products is easy and straightforward, but you need a spray bottle to store your DIY cleaner in. This cute glass bottle has a non-slip silicone sleeve and is also dishwasher safe. Buy one for $ 18.99.
You probably throw away thousands of paper towels each year that contribute to the landfill, but you don’t have to. These unpaper towels have the same appearance and absorbency as normal paper towels, but they can be washed and reused over and over again. A roll costs $ 21.95 and comes with ten towels.
Even if you can’t 100% commit yourself to throwing paper towels away, these Swedish tea towels can help you get used to using a reusable towel for cleaning. Swedish tea towels can replace your old cleaning sponges, paper towels and rags – and since they’re made from organic cotton and wood-based cellulose pulp, they’re also biodegradable. Grab a pack of two for $ 7.99.
Until you really master not being a waste, you probably have to throw away trash. These plant-based garbage bags are biodegradable and plastic-free. A 50-count pack is $ 16.95.
Single-use plastic water bottles should be a thing of the past, but if you hold on to the quality of bottled water, there are other options. One of the strongest water filters on the market, this Berkey filter also removes heavy metals such as lead and mercury, so you get healthy, crystal clear drinking water without plastic waste. Get a 1.5 gallon system and two filters for $ 269.
This reusable food storage is made from natural cotton fibers and is enriched with beeswax, jojoba oil and tree resin so that it sticks to surfaces like plastic sheeting. Wrap a sandwich, half a lemon, or a bowl of leftovers to store overnight – no waste required. Grab an assorted set of three for $ 17.99.
A single good silicone baking mat replaces tons of aluminum foil and parchment paper. With a Silpat you get even better non-stick protection. The best part is that you can wash it and use it over and over again. A single mat is $ 25.18.
Silicone molds are an easy alternative to plastic ice cubes and ice cube trays, and they come in fun shapes too. This double pack costs $ 18.69 and comes with large cubes and a spherical tray – perfect for fancy cocktails.
You’ve heard of this one, and maybe you have some already, but metal straws are one of the easiest zero waste swaps to use. This set costs just $ 3.99 and comes with two bendable straws, two straight straws, a cloth pouch, and a straw brush to keep them all clean. Throw the whole bag in your purse or backpack before heading to Starbucks and you won’t have to throw another plastic straw in the trash can.
Getting started with composting? You will need a container to keep these leftover food in until you take them out. This stainless steel container is perfect for indoor use. It comes with a built-in carbon filter that keeps the smells in the bucket and not in your house. Get your compost game for $ 21.95.
The zero waste lifestyle may sound great, but if you don’t have access to a composting facility, it means all of your leftover food goes to the trash and landfill. But you don’t have to give up your environmentally conscious lifestyle dreams: with this Vitamix Food Cycler you can compost at home. It creates a nutrient-rich fertilizer from your leftover food and is odorless so you can use it with minimal odors inside. Get a two-liter system for $ 399.95.