Our kitchens are a great place to start the journey toward a more sustainable lifestyle. At the top of the list is kitchen plastic reduction. From food packaging and containers to wraps and utensils, there are plenty plastic items we can replace in favor of more sustainable and eco-friendly items.
Here are some easy ways to begin–or continue–the transition to a sustainable kitchen.
Wood & Metal Utensils
What better way to complement your glass bakeware and cookware than wood or metal utensils? I would also include stainless steel or cast iron frying pans to avoid the chemically coated ones.
Plastic kitchen utensils and coated pots and pans can transfer toxic substances to our food (especially when heated as with a spatula and non-stick frying pan) and are likely non-recyclable when they break or degrade after prolonged use. Alternatives might be more expensive to buy but are food safe, long-lasting, and eco-friendly.
Wood. Check out these gorgeous New Hampshire made wooden utensils, bowls, and cutting boards. Food safe, high quality, hand-made, and beautiful. New Hampshire Bowl and Board.
Metal. Also Made in USA. Rada Cutlery has a line of metal utensils as well as other metal kitchen products.
Tap Water Filter instead of plastic water bottles.
Although the filter case is plastic, we recognize the trade off between this long-lasting plastic application versus water bottles.
This PUR drinking water filtration system is certified to reduce 70 contaminants, including lead & mercury. It’s also certified to reduce 10x more contaminants than Brita’s leading pitcher filter and doesn’t take up any refrigerator space.
Glass Meal Containers instead of plastic takeout containers & disposable cutlery.
Avoid plastic takeout containers & disposable cutlery. Not bringing these disposables into your home in the first place frees you from the kitchen clutter they eventually become and spares the environment significant plastic pollution at disposal time.
Plastic containers also scuff with use releasing particles that you or your family will ingest. Not good.
Silicone Bags, Lids, & Covers instead of Ziplocks, and cling wrap
Silicone bags – instead of ziplocks for storing your favorite munchable. Silicone is non-toxic and easy to clean. The downside to silicone bags is that we couldn’t find any brands that stayed sealed if any pressure is put on the bag (as when packing for lunch) which makes them iffy for liquids.
While you do have to clean silicone after use, one silicone bag or food cover might keep hundreds of baggies or plastic sheets out of landfills/oceans or from being turned into greenhouse gas via incineration. Of all the plastic free kitchen suggestions these probably have the biggest convenience/cost/benefit trade-off.
We did a separate post on silicone if you want to learn how it compares to rubber, its recyclability, and more.
Glass Jars and Canisters instead of plastic
Glass jars and canisters are not only safe and durable, but they are more aesthetically pleasing than plastic. Glass resists scratches and retains its crystal clear look even after several “wash and use” cycles. Those cookies, cereals, or candies will maintain their freshness and enhance your kitchen when stored inside handsome glass jars and pantry food containers. The jars on the left have attractive bamboo lids with an air tight silicone seal.
This stainless steel set comes with tempered glass lids and a silicone seal for an air tight fit. Tempered glass is shatter resistant which greatly reduces the risk of these cracking or breaking accidentally.
According to The New York Times, the average American uses and throws away 110 pounds of single-use plastic every year. With many advocacies and efforts made in the past years to address the plastic problem, only about 8% of food-related plastics are being recycled.
With our planet slowly suffocating under a blanket of plastic waste it’s important to recognize the small steps we can take to help. If it feels a bit too much to do all these at once, starting small and taking incremental steps will surely result in a sustainable kitchen in your future.