Caroline's Steps To Creating A More Sustainable Kitchen
Over the years, I’ve been making a conscious effort to replace single use products with reusable ones throughout my home, and the kitchen is one area that I’m always looking to improve. Since we've been spending much more time cooking this past year, it's easier to see that waste can quickly accumulate. From plastic bags and unused produce, to paper towels and plastic containers, it really adds up! So I’ve been researching products, swapping out many of the disposable ones, and it’s starting to feel like a more sustainable and clean space. I know this can be time consuming, so to make it a littler easier, I’ve created a step-by-step guide with easy access to all of my favorite reusable and toxic-free products.
From washing dishes to wiping up messes, the kitchen is where we spend most of our time cleaning up. It’s also an area that quickly accumulates waste and toxic cleaning products. So I’ve discovered a handful of reusable, toxic-free swaps that leave the kitchen clean, organized and aesthetically pleasing too.
One of my new favorite additions to the kitchen are these organic, unbleached cotton Japanese style Bento bags. They come in a pack of three different sizes and are a great alternative to plastic bags when grabbing produce at the grocery store, swapping out ziplock bags when transporting sandwiches and other snacks, and they also make a great alternative to gift bags or wrapping.
In the U.S. we use more than 6,500,000 tons of paper towels every year, many of which are made using bleach and formaldehyde which poison our waterways and bloodstreams. Not to mention the drastic affects of deforestation on our planet. To cut back in our home, I've swapped out paper towels for reusable cleaning cloths. I like to keep a handful of these cloth wipes on hand, which work really well as wash cloths, tissue napkins and even baby wipes. Plus, the vintage lemon print fits right into my farm-style kitchen.
For cleaning counter tops, drying dishes and other household chores, these multi-purpose towels do the trick. They're made from 100% cotton chenille with a soft towel side and a scrubbier woven side for tougher messes. They can even be used as a mop head attachment.
To avoid needing to grab plastic bags to gather fruits and veg at the market, I take my bento bags and these reusable produce bags that come in three handy sizes. They can be easily stored in the fridge with your produce and washed between uses.
I switched out my old plastic brushes for a variety of wire and wooden cleaning brushes. Made from cotton and natural bristles, these bottle brushes come in four different sizes and are great for cleaning glasses, vases and harder to reach places, like tea and coffee spouts. To get dirt and sand off root vegetables, I turn to this durable wooden brush.
A great alternative to micro plastic sponges, this loofah scrubbing pad is biodegradable, zero-waste and compostable. It's made from luffa gourd and works well for scrubbing pots and pans, counter tops and stove tops.
An all-in-one soap that works well for hand washing, dish cleaning and even laundry, this multi-purpose kitchen block is my new favorite sustainable pick. Not only is it made from non-toxic ingredients, but it also smells beautiful and fresh. Plus, it can easily replace your plastic bottles of hand and dish soap. Pair it with this pretty bamboo soap dish.
When it comes to non-toxic cleaning products, I've found Meliora's all-purpose cleaner to be one of the best. It works wonders on a variety of surfaces, from floors and walls to countertops and appliances. And the ingredient list is as clean as it gets. Plus, it comes in a refillable glass spray bottle so when you run out, simply pick up a refill canister – which makes 18 bottles of cleaner.
Long gone are the days of plastic wrap. I've been using reusable beeswax wraps and haven't looked back. Use the warmth of your hands to mold the wrap over fruits, vegetables, glass bowls and cups. They come in a few different sizes and a pretty tie dye pattern.
With so much plant-based cooking, it means we use a lot of vegetables and are left with many scraps that often go to waste. While I’ve always been interested in composting, I was a bit daunted by the process and never quite sold on the counter top bin. That is until I came across this functional, yet attractive compost bin that I actually look forward to filling. We started a kitchen garden last spring and we’ve been composting to help enrich the soil in preparation for planting. It’s estimated that 30% of the waste we throw away is comprised of food scraps and yard clippings, so converting that nitrogen rich waste into compost is pure gold for your future home-grown produce and a great step towards a more sustainable lifestyle.
We spend a lot of time in the kitchen, so taking the steps to make it more sustainable is so worth it. There's something very satisfying about stepping into a space that's free of toxic-chemicals and disposable products – it's better for our health and for the planet. To check out my tried-and-true curation of all of my favorite sustainable kitchen products, shop the collection below.
Sending love to you and yours,