These days, sustainability is in, and sometimes it can seem like the messaging surrounding sustainability tells people that they need to make drastic changes to their behaviors, homes, and lives in order to be more eco-friendly. However, there are so many different ways you can lead a more sustainable life, and tons of brands are manufacturing and promoting eco-friendly or sustainable products. Since a lot of waste is produced in household kitchens (just think of all of the plastic wrap, water bottles, and zip bags the average kitchen uses on a weekly or even daily basis!), it makes sense to start making changes there with easy sustainable kitchen swaps.
Yes, some sustainable products can be an investment, but many don’t have to be, and they can save you money in the long run. While these small changes won’t necessarily be the ultimate solution to climate change, they do help, and they also reduce individual waste.
Ditch Disposable Straws
You’ve probably heard this everywhere lately and/or seen the video of people removing a straw from a sea turtle’s nostril, and more and more restaurants use paper straws. It still bears repeating, though. Swap out your disposable straws for paper, metal, or recycled-material ones. It’s better for the environment, and chances are, you’ll feel fancier, too. These have been sprouting up in many different stores, so it won’t be too difficult to find them.
Swap Paper Napkins For Cloth
Like many of these other sustainable kitchen swaps, this change will likely save you money in the long run, and it will upgrade your kitchen aesthetic game as well. These don’t have to be fancy; just pick up some inexpensive cloth napkins from a local home goods store and those work just fine. As a bonus, you can use some fabric paint or fabric pens to customize them to your liking! Just wash after each use (but let them air dry to save electricity- and your power bill) and you’re good to go.
Save Takeout Containers
Rather than tossing those plastic takeout containers, use them instead of Ziploc bags the next time you need to take a snack or meal to work/school/insert activity here. They’re sturdier and more durable, and they’re typically reusable so you can keep them for a long time as long as you take care of them. Plus, it may or may not be an excuse to try new takeout restaurants to find the best containers.
Choose Reusable, Not Plastic, Bags
Whether it’s those Ziploc baggies or grocery bags, change them out for some reusable, resealable bags. Yes, they may require washing after use, but it’s better than using and immediately tossing a ton of them into the trash bin every year. Bring your own bags to grocery stores, and some will even compensate you a small amount!
It may not be much, but it reduces waste (and also the absurdly full grocery bag full of other balled-up grocery bags that most homes somehow tend to have). Reusable bags are sturdier and last longer, and quite a few of them are also really cute and fold up compactly.
Nix Paper Towels; Use Tree-Free Towels
Quite a few companies have been releasing tree-free paper towels that are made with alternative materials like bamboo or sugarcane, so if you still want a disposable towel to clean up messes, there’s still an option for you. You could also opt for paper towels made of entirely recycled content if you’re super attached to paper towels made from trees but still want to be more sustainable. Some brands even choose to either whiten the towels without bleach or not whiten them at all for added green points.