Kitchen Zero Waste Swaps
The kitchen is definitely the place where you’re likely to have to make the most zero-waste swaps and changes. But, don’t let it overwhelm you.
Start with the easiest things first, acknowledge the things you already do that you may not even realize (like using rags instead of paper towels), and make an action plan as to how you want to tackle swapping over.
A lot of people use aluminum foil for a lot of different things – baking, grilling, and storing food. But, there are several alternatives that are eco-friendly and cheaper in the long run.
A great alternative for aluminum foil when cooking in the oven are these silicone baking mats. A one-time investment should last you probably forever if you take care of them.
An alternative when storing food are these great silicone stretchy lids to put a cover on just about everything – even a watermelon. I also use glassware with lids.
For grilling, use this stainless steel grilling basket instead of wasteful and harmful aluminum foil.
A composting bin is a great investment. And, it’s not just food scraps you put in here. We put toilet paper rolls, dryer lint, pet hair, all food scraps, plant clippings, some cardboard, and more.
We use a local service that picks up our compost weekly. But, you can also get a countertop compost if you live in an apartment but don’t want to pay for a service. You can also start a garden compost or start your own bin compost.
Make cupcakes and muffins in style! These silicone baking cups are a great alternative to traditional paper liners.
On the same note, there are silicon bread and loaf pans if you tend to use liners for these as well.
I love my reusable, dishwasher-safe coffee cup! I use it every day and take it with me everywhere.
There are a ton of great options out there if this one does get you excited.
A reusable coffee cup is one of the easiest zero waste swaps and one that makes a huge difference right away. You may not realize how many coffee cups you throw away, but if you’re a regular coffee drinker, I’d bet that it’s a lot.
Keurig or Coffee Maker
Let me just get right to it and say – Keurigs were one of the worst environmental inventions. Those k-cups are terrible and such a waste. Don’t get me wrong – I had one too before I realized.
If you already have a Keurig, don’t throw it away, however. Instead, get yourself one of the reusable k-cups. You just put the ground coffee in like a regular coffee maker, but it still only makes your one cup.
If you don’t already have a Keurig, but you want a coffee maker, may I suggest a french press? They’re inexpensive, make you slow down a little bit, and I think the coffee actually tastes better!
And, even though coffee filters are compostable, you won’t have to spend money on them if you have a french press.
Napkins and Paper Towels
You don’t need paper towels or napkins, friends. Use rags instead of paper towels and cloth napkins instead of disposable napkins.
Paper plates and plastic cutlery
Regular plates and cutlery are great. And, it’s prettier and it’s not flimsy.
On the go? Get some bamboo cutlery to carry with you.
Many people use beeswax wrap instead of plastic wrap but being vegan, this isn’t possible for me – and possibly, you.
There are vegan reusable food wraps though that work the same way.
Reusable shopping bags are one of the best and easiest zero waste swaps. No need to go out buying a ton of them though – I find they’re often given away at events and such.
Trash bags are the main thing I have trouble with. There are plenty of compostable trash bags out there, but unless they’re actually being composted, it’s not really useful.
The best thing to do is have the least amount of trash as possible and that way you’re very rarely putting a trash bag in the landfill. That being said, I use these trash bags as I feel it’s better than nothing.
Plastic produce bags
I love my reusable produce bags. I often will just put mine in my cart with no bag, but I know many people think that’s gross.
I have the mesh drawstring ones, but there are plenty of options.
Instead of disposable Ziploc bags, consider using these reusable plastic bags. Again, you’re saving money too.
Bottled water is a rip-off. Saying goodbye to it is one of the best ways to reduce your water footprint. Use a reusable water bottle instead – Klean Kanteen continues to be my favorite.
Plastic straws are one of the worst things for marine life and if you love sea turtles at all, I’d consider skipping them.
Stainless steel straws are great. Some people don’t like how cold they get or the metallic taste though. So, there are also silicone straws.
I use Dropps for my dishwasher detergent. It’s zero-waste, cruelty-free, vegan, and the box is compostable!
I’ve never had any issues with anything not being clean either.