How to Make My Kitchen More Eco-Friendly
Last Updated on April 9, 2023 by Carolyn
Steps to making an Eco-Friendly Kitchen
Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Full disclosure here.
For many of us, our kitchen is the room in which we create most of our waste. How do we make our kitchen more eco-friendly?
Making our kitchen more eco-friendly involves changing our mindset. We need to be more conscious of our shopping habits: choose organic over non-organic products, eliminate single-use products from our kitchens, grow our own food, and choose environmentally friendly packaging over excess packaging.
Most of us are familiar with the 3R’s of waste hierarchy: Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle. These principles should be kept in mind as we strive to make our kitchens more eco-friendly. I’ve bolded the words reduce, reuse and recycle throughout this post to draw attention to these principles at work.
Several sustainable bloggers from around the globe have joined me this month to share eco-friendly kitchen swaps they’ve made in their journey to a more eco-friendly kitchen. These eco-friendly kitchen swaps result in waste reduction and most of them actually result in saving you money. A double win! Why wouldn’t you make the switch?
Reducing Kitchen Waste
Eliminate Single-Use Products
Not so long ago, when it came time to put away dinner leftovers, I’d put the food in an empty plastic margarine or cool whip container and reach for some plastic wrap, cover it, and put it in the fridge. Leftover pizza? I’d wrap it in plastic or tin foil and toss it in the fridge. Many of these containers would get forgotten and ugly new lifeforms would grow within them as they lurked in the depths of the fridge.
Then I splurged on some pyrex glass storage containers with plastic lids. These were a lifesaver, drastically reducing the amount of forgotten food as I could actually see the contents within. Plastic wrap also was eliminated from my kitchen at this time.
Recently as many of the plastic lids from those containers have fallen victim to the teeth of naughty dogs, I’ve started reusing wide-mouth mason jars for food storage. Mason jars come in all shapes and sizes and most of us have an abundance of them. If you don’t you can probably find some on your local buy-nothing group or at a garage sale. Mason jars can be used in the freezer if you remember to leave some shoulder space.
Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
Eco-friendly cleaning products can go a long way to making your kitchen more eco-friendly. Be aware of harmful chemicals when purchasing cleaners and look for environmentally friendly options including simple homemade cleaners.
Compostable Sponge Cloths
Helen Millichamp from A Simple Natural Balance extolls the virtues of compostable sponge cloths.
“If you are looking for a great eco-friendly kitchen swap, look no further than compostable sponge cloths. Say goodbye to paper towels, disposable wipes, and traditional plastic sponges; there is a much better option available.”
“One of these sponges alone can replace 17 rolls of paper towels! Truly brilliant! I love that they are machine washable, reusable, super absorbent & at the end of their life compostable. I reckon mine have been wiping up my kid’s spills for close to 6 months and they still have plenty of life left. Once it’s done its dash it’ll go straight into the compost bin which is awesome! “
“There is so much to love about these beauties and I’ve been very happy and impressed with them in my household from both a cost-saving and waste-reduction perspective. You must give them a go.”
Sinead O’Carroll of The Wondering Wandering Vegan echoes Helen’s recommendation for compostable sponge cloths:
“When trying to do your bit, changes in your home may feel small but in time they can make a big difference. This is especially true as more and more of us start to make these small changes.
I’ve been on the lookout for adjustments I can make in my kitchen, ways to avoid single-use plastics, and nasty chemicals that are bad for our waterways, and that’s how I found “Smol”.
“Smol is a UK-based company that offers vegan, eco-friendly, and cruelty-free kitchen products that are delivered through your letterbox (mailbox) such as:
- Laundry capsules
- Dishwasher capsules
- Fabric conditioner
- Compostable cloths
- Sponge scrubbers
- Surface spray refills
These are all products I have on a regular subscription. The sponge cloths and scrubbers are new to the list and I love them! They’re great quality, last really well and the sponge cloths are biodegradable. “
“They come in different colors, so you never need to find yourself cleaning your dishes with your toilet cloth! If you’re not in the UK I’m sure you’ll find something similar to Smol locally. I’m glad I found Smol because it’s an easy but effective change to make.”
Readers note I looked up Smol and found that their products are sold in the US and UK.
Reusable Baking Sheets
Tina from veganderlust.com shares how she eliminated baking paper from her kitchen.
“I love baking but I hate washing the baking tray. That’s why in the past I always used baking paper and even though it’s “just” paper, it’s still a single-use item. “
“I wanted to find a more sustainable solution. In my local zero-waste store, I found an eco-friendly reusable baking sheet. It’s amazing! You can use it over and over again and it’s non-sticky, so it’s easy to get your baked goods off it and easy to wash. “
“It’s not as bulky as a baking tray and once you’re done with it you can just roll it up and store it in a cupboard. Over time, this sustainable swap from baking paper to a reusable baking sheet also saves you a bunch of money because you never have to buy baking paper again.”
I was glad to hear how pleased Tina is with her reusable baking sheet as she sent me her tip just after I’d used up my own parchment paper and ordered my own silicon baking liners.
Switching Back to the Tried and True: Refillable Glass Milk Bottles
Jeanine DeDiana of Lets go a Wandering shares one of the sustainable swaps she’s made with us:
“We have been growing in environmental awareness more and more. If we wish to have a beautiful earth for future generations, we need to take charge of the things we can change. Whilst we have become more mindful of making more sustainable travel choices, I felt we could also do more at home.”
“ Last year on a road trip between Launceston to Devonport we visited Ashgrove Dairy Door, our favourite milk producer (due to the care of cows and sustainable mindset they have). Whilst wandering about the shop we came across a new to them, delivery system of milk “The Udder Way”. “
“Milk is delivered on tap, into refillable glass bottles, I was curious (the food scientist – me) and excited (the hunter of more sustainable options – me) about this. More than a billion plastic milk bottles are used each year, many of which make their way to landfill due to a great percentage of them being made from non-recyclable plastic. This is a change we decided we could easily make.”
“We took the plunge and have changed from using plastic milk bottles, back to glass bottles, which are refillable. The refillable option makes this cost-effective, and more sustainable, whilst delivering us a product we remember from our childhood (yes, we are that old).
The best part of this is the milk is from a family-owned and run dairy, Ashgrove Dairy. Ashgrove dairy itself is sustainably conscious: with the system provided by “The Udder Way” they are on a mission to remove 100 million plastic bottles from the supply chain. We are happy that such a small change can contribute to such a large impact on our environment.
For readers not down under, here is a link to help you find glass milk bottle deliveries near you: “Drinkmilkinglassbottles”.
Making Eco-Friendly Swaps
You may be in a hurry to try some of these great eco-friendly kitchen swaps, but don’t go throwing out that box of plastic wrap or that parchment paper. There is nothing eco-friendly about making a single-use product a never-used product.
It’s OK to buy your favorite eco-friendly kitchen swap while they are on your mind, but please use up those unfriendly products!
What Eco-Friendly Kitchen Changes Will You Make?
These lovely sustainable bloggers and I have each shared small changes we have made to a more eco-friendly kitchen. What eco-friendly kitchen swaps do you plan on making?
As Sinead O’Carroll stated above these changes may seem small but as each and every one of us starts to make changes they really make a difference.
Please feel free to share eco-friendly kitchen swaps you’ve made in the comments!
Quick References and Link for Products Mentioned in This Post
Glass Storage Containers
Compostable Sponge Cloths
Silicon Baking Tray
Refillable Milk Bottles “The Udder Way”
Find a glass milk bottle delivery near you
What a wonderful article. I can remember the day I opened the door where we tossed the single use plastic bags in the closet . When I could no longer push the bags down, I cleaned the closet. There must have been at least 200 bags in there!!! I was absolutely shocked at myself. I took every bag to the grocery store recycle and purchased reusable bags. I even started carrying a larger purse, so I can keep at least 3 bags with me.
In Colorado, we’re now charged for plastic bags at the grocery store, and I think it’s great. I see a lot more people using reusable bags!
Yes! I use mason jars every single day in my kitchen! I save Mayo lids, too. They fit perfect. I’m working on decreasing paper towel use. That one is a hard one for my family. I’m trying to keep dish towels readily available.
I also found that lids of the plastic jars that parmesan comes in fit perfectly too! Should you want to have a top that sprinkles? I think paper towels is just habit. I keep a fullsize towel adjacent to my kitchen and use it for wiping up spills.
Great eco friendly alternatives here!
Glad you like them!
I never really thought about the possibility of making my kitchen more green. But after reading your post and seeing how relatively easy it is, I may have to look into it further in the future! Thanks so much for sharing!
Like I wrote, why not green-up the kitchen if you can save money while doing it? Win-win situation!
Very solid tips on making a greener kitchen! I love doing my part and this is certainly a great way to! Thank you for sharing!
Great article! I’m also always looking for ways to recycle as much as possible.
That’s great that you recycle. I hope the post gave you idea for reducing single-use products too!
Great post! I’ve been on an eco-friendly journey for a few years now. These are great tips and reminders. Thank you.
I’m glad you liked them. It is a journey!
I don’t own a house to do for the kichten like this but can share with my aunt and family to try it. Thank you for sharing!
That is very thoughtful! You don’t really need a kitchen, wherever you live be mindful and you’ll be doing great.
I always say that I don’t need a big house or an apartment with many rooms, but a gigantic kitchen – so that there is enough space for everything. Especially for convenient assistants in cooking.
Kitchens are the heart of the home-I’m hoping to get mine down to essentials.
This is a timely article. I am looking for more ways to not only recycle but to save on buying products that will just bring more waste into our environment. I love the reusable baking sheet items.
Great! I’m loving mine!