The Food Sustainability Series: Part 2
As the climate clock keeps ticking, we all need to make some efforts to reduce our individual carbon footprints. Very much like you, I’ve made efforts to try to make my kitchen more sustainable. I’ll share with you some of the sustainable kitchen products I’ve integrated into my daily routine to create a more sustainable kitchen.
With many of these one-time purchases, you may even notice that you will be able to cut our purchases of other materials like plastic wrap, Ziplock bags, or even cookware and bakeware! Not every sustainable product we tried and purchased fit our lifestyle, but hopefully, you can decide what will work for you. Make sure you sign up for our email to stay updated for the rest of the series!
1. Cloth napkins
We initially stopped purchasing napkins, like many other millennials, because we just used paper towels for everything. We switched to cloth napkins right around the time when we changed to cleaning rags. We love our cloth napkins and keep them nice and neatly in a dish on our table. It elevates mealtimes but also reduces paper waste. When we have guests come over, they are impressed that we have cloth napkins at home.
We tried polyester napkins and cotton napkins and found we liked the cotton better. Keep in mind that the polyester napkins may release micro-plastics when washed. If you’re interested, learn more about that here.
2. Glass Food Storage Containers
After reading a book on the universal presence of harmful chemicals, I decided to reduce toxic chemicals in my daily life. One of the best places to start is in the kitchen. We purchased glass food storage containers to store our leftovers. We prefer them over plastic containers because we are less worried about the chemical transfer when we heat food in them. Also, they don’t stain or degrade over time like plastic containers.
While we still save leftover takeout containers, we ensure we do not heat food in these. Of course, glass storage containers can be expensive and don’t fit every lifestyle. You can also consider containers like stainless steel. When purchasing containers that are not plastic, you ensure longevity to your containers and your health.
3. Kitchen compost bin
The kitchen compost bin is a great place to collect and store your food scraps. Some kitchen compost containers useThe kitchen compost bin is a great place to collect and store your food scraps. Some kitchen compost containers use bags, but what I liked about this container was that it could be used with bags or without bags. It also has charcoal filters, so it does not emit an odor. Unfortunately, our cat kept trying to get into the container, which didn’t fit our lifestyle. We did end up giving it to a friend who can use it with her apartment compost program. Instead, we use ziplock containers and keep them in the refrigerator. For us, this works because it’s out of the way and still prevents the odors. This method works for us, but pick which products work best for your lifestyle to make your kitchen sustainable!
4. Kitchen composter/food cycler
The kitchen composter is quite possibly my favorite sustainable kitchen investment. I use it at least three times a week. It takes our food scraps and accelerates the composting process through heat and aeration to break the food down. Composting typically takes about six months, but this process expedites the composting process to a few hours. Check out the post I wrote about apartment composting here to learn more about composting.
5. Kitchen rags
Paper towels can be convenient and easy, and readily integrated into our day-to-day. It can be pretty irritating when you have a spill you need to clean up, and there are no more paper towels left! But over time, paper towels become expensive and contribute to single-use waste.
To reduce our paper waste, we decided to switch to kitchen rags. These are more durable than paper towels and help with tougher messes. They also last a lot longer than a regular paper towel so that you can clean for a more extended period.
To clean the rags, we make sure we rinse them with water before putting them in the wash with our other towels. We will wash them with some detergent in our sink if there’s a big mess or something we don’t want in the washers (i.e., coffee stains, rags to clean the refrigerator). However, there will always be things that are best dealt with paper towels, like cleaning up messes from your pet. For this reason, we keep a roll or two of paper towels around but heavily rely on our cleaning rags for kitchen and general housekeeping. Reducing our waste helps us create a more sustainable kitchen.
6. Orange oil concentrate
We initially purchased orange oil concentrate as a way to deter our cats from scratching up our furniture. However, they completely ignored the smell and thankfully decided scratching posts were much more fun to destroy. When we went to return it, we got a warning that it couldn’t be shipped back because it was a volatile liquid, so we soon learned about its versatility as a natural product.
We LOVE our orange oil cleaner. We use it to clean everything from kitchen countertops, stovetops, bathroom, and even mop the floors! It can be diluted with water and has lasted us over two years! That’s two years of not purchasing hazardous chemicals or individual bottles of plastic cleaner. Plus, it leaves a lovely citrus smell lingering in the air once you are done cleaning. Concentrated cleaners overall are a great sustainable product for your home.
7. Reusable coffee cup
If you are a frequent coffee drinker like me, you’ll know there is nothing quite as lovely as having a hot cup of coffee with you on the go. Very rarely do you see me without a coffee cup in hand. But rather than purchasing disposable coffee cups or purchasing coffee from the store, I have found that making coffee before I leave and using my Yeti cup, I am more likely to enjoy the coffee longer since it stays hotter longer. It’s an easy swap and sustainable kitchen product I use constantly.
Even if you like to purchase coffee from a shop or chain, many will accept your mug and size it accordingly. Some even give you a discount for using your own cup! I even take my coffee cup with me when I travel to reduce the packaging needed with each cup.
8. Beeswax wraps
I grew up heavily relying on plastic wrap to cover food. However, beeswax wraps can cling nicely to dishes and cover baked goods better than cling wrap. It works great for things like sandwiches, fruits, prepared vegetables. However, the wraps do need to be replaced yearly and cannot be washed under hot water since the wax will melt. While we didn’t replace our beeswax wraps the year after we purchased them, we did begin to use more dishes with lids and silicone lids. Regardless of which options you choose, these products can help you have a more sustainable kitchen.
As a disclaimer, this page uses affiliate links, but I have tested, tried, and have regularly use every product listed.
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