One of the biggest misconceptions of going zero waste is that in order to be successful, you need to completely makeover your kitchen with sustainable products the moment your zero waste lifestyle starts.
In fact, a combination of changing your approach to everyday kitchen items in conjunction with purchasing a few starter products can help get you closer to your zero waste and zero plastic goals.
It doesn’t take an Extreme Kitchen Makeover, just a makeover of your approach and mindset combined with some simple strategies.
Here are 8 swaps you can make right now to create a more sustainable kitchen:
1. Max out your mason jars
Not only are mason jars the most aesthetically pleasing kitchen item on the internet, they also can serve multiple uses in your sustainable kitchen. Use them for on-the-go meals like overnight oats or soup, or use them for take-home containers at restaurants, or grocery store sidekicks when you’re purchasing items in bulk. Not to mention they’re perfect for bringing your juice or coffee with you during your busy day.
They also make great storage containers: fill ‘em with spices, homemade jams, nuts, dry pasta, seeds, or dry legumes. And during harvest season, they help carry your garden into the winter with canning.You can buy specialty mason jars that are wider for meals, or with built-in reusable straws for drinks. Or, if you’re on a budget, go to your local thrift shop and buy mason jars there.
2. An eco-friendly clean.
Purchase glass soap dispensers (or just use bar soap!) and reusable spray bottles for cleaning. Alternatively, if you just have the spray bottle top, you can upcycle an existing empty bottle you already have and affix the spray bottle top to it.
When it comes to zero-waste cleaning, it’s time for the reckoning of cleaning products. Throw out the harsh chemicals in plastic bottles and instead switch to compounds like vinegar, tea tree or grapefruit oil, or baking soda.
These swaps are twofold: not only do you create a more sustainable cleaning routine, but you also eliminate the harsh chemicals you use regularly in your own home. Also, making your own cleaning products is much cheaper and will save you money in the long run!
3. Create your own reusable napkins and paper towels.
Turn old t-shirts and linens into reusable cloths that can substitute for paper napkins and paper towels. This is a great way to cut down on closet clutter and cut down on waste!
4. Stay hydrated with a stainless steel water bottle.
Plastic water bottles are a waste of time and money. Instead, carry a reusable stainless steel water bottle around with you everywhere and fill that up instead. This will save you money, save the environment, and remind you to drink more water!
5. Skip the straws.
If you find yourself at a coffee shop, bring your own stainless steel straw (or better yet — your own mason jar or reusable coffee mug!)
If you find yourself without your reusable straw, try and skip the plastic straw entirely. When possible, get orders “for here” at coffeeshops so that you’re drinking out of actual mugs instead of single-use plastic. And if you’re on-the-run, check out our stainless steel coffee mugs with sass.
6. Choose stainless steel food storage containers at home and on-the-go.
Plastic isn’t just bad for the environment: it’s bad for your health, too. Stainless steel not only offers a reusable, environmentally-friendly option, but it also is better for your overall health and well-being.
Choosing to bring your own lunch to work or school can also have a host of health and environmental benefits: not only are you cutting down on food packaging (like salads from the grocery store that are encased in plastic, or sandwiches in sandwich shops that are wrapped in paper and put into plastic bags) but you’re also doing your body a favor, too.
Cooking your own healthy, sustainable food goes hand-in-hand with the zero waste lifestyle.
7. Ditch your plastic wrap.Need to save some leftovers? Break out those stainless steel food containers. Alternatively, just put a plate over a bowl to seal it in your fridge. Zero waste is all about these easy fixes and eco-friendly alternatives! If you need to wrap a food item or sandwich to take on the road, opt for beeswax wrap instead. Or, use zip close silicone bags.
8. Choose stainless steel pots and pans without Teflon coating.
Teflon coating and other nonstick surfaces can chip in high temperatures, leaving toxic particles behind.
Choose stainless steel instead for the healthiest, most environmentally-friendly cooking option.
When it comes to cooking with oil, purchase olive oil in glass jars you can reuse or refill. If you can find a store that sells olive oil in bulk and allows you to bring back glass containers to refill, that’s ideal. Otherwise, find creative ways to upcycle your olive oil containers, such as turning them into simple vases.
Zero waste cooking is a combination of some easy swaps and creative thinking. Start by reusing what you have or thrifting. And if you can't find what you need second-hand, check out our shop for zero waste alternatives.