Think about how much of your life is spent in the kitchen. Between cooking, eating, and cleaning, there are plenty of opportunities to lower your carbon footprint. And with the help of the best sustainable kitchen products, you’ll be well on your way to creating less waste.
While it’s tempting to rush out and replace all of your gadgets in the name of sustainability, it would defeat the purpose. Don’t toss out your perfectly functional coffee maker if you can still use it to brew waste-free coffee!
Like all aspects of a zero waste life, creating a zero waste kitchen takes time.
Whether it’s by purchasing plastic-free products, making lifestyle adjustments, or simply eating less meat, our small changes add up to a big impact.
So the next time you need to buy dish soap or replace your cutting board, opt for these sustainable kitchen products.
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These aren’t just for hipster cafes. Mason jars make for excellent eco friendly kitchenware for storing spices, grains, snacks, preserves and other relishes. I even use them for meal prepping soups and salads.
Unlike plastic containers, these glass jars won’t warp and they can be recycled indefinitely. As the aforementioned cafes have demonstrated, they’re also great drink cups, whether you want a smoothie, tea, or iced coffee.
You can also keep food fresh for longer by freezing mason jars.
Dish Soap Block
We all do the dishes, right? Well then you’re probably aware of just how many of those plastic bottles you go through a year!
Luckily, dish soap is one of the easiest zero waste kitchen products to swap in.
Instead of bottles, zero waste dish soap comes in block form. You either wet scrubbing brush to form a lather, or shave pieces off and soak them in water.
My block sits on top of a bamboo holder next to the sink, though you could keep it on a natural sponge as well.
Bamboo Dish Scrubbers
So you’ve bought some zero waste soap–but how will you scrub your dishes clean? With an eco friendly dish brush, naturally.
This set of bamboo brushes was a game changer for me. Unlike some bamboo scrubbers, this one is made with biodegradable tapioca bristles (many brands use plastic bristles, so look out for that).
I actually find these are even better for cleaning difficult substances than regular sponges, and would never go back. They also last way longer than sponges, which is a key feature in sustainable kitchen products.
Sustainable Paper Towels
Messes in the kitchen are inevitable, and going through dozens of paper towels each time just isn’t sustainable. That’s why these biodegradable dishrags are one of my most recommended eco friendly kitchen products.
Also known as “unpaper towels”, I use them to clean my kitchen counters, wipe mucky dog paws, and mop up spills. Unlike real paper towels, you can toss these in the washer and reuse them again and again. Made from wood pulp and organic cotton, they can even go into the compost at the end of their life!
If you prefer to have more traditional-looking towels on hand for cleaning up messes–or drying your hands–these bamboo towels are a great option.
Confession time: I was very late to the composting game. Ironically, I didn’t start regularly composting until we moved into a city apartment.
You might assume, as I did, that organic waste is totally safe to throw into landfills. But due to poor aeration, organic waste not only decomposes slower in landfills, but also lets off more methane gases due to lack of oxygen.
Also, check if your city has a food waste collection program. Some cities even offer free curbside compost pickup!
Sometimes the best sustainable kitchen products are the ones that WON’T degrade easily. Buying durable items that last for decades is an excellent way to reduce your waste.
A quality Dutch oven is highly versatile and designed to last.
I cook the majority of our meals in my precious Le Creuset. It can handle everything from oven roasting a chicken to baking bread to slow cooking stovetop chili. Plus, the enamel coating is amazingly non-stick.
It’s no wonder why I hauled this beauty across the US and later the Atlantic Ocean!
Cast Iron Pan
In the same vein as Dutch ovens, a quality cast iron pan is a staple in zero waste kitchens.
Unlike Teflon-coated cookware, a cast iron pan only gets better with age. People make a fuss about how to care for cast iron, but it’s quite simple. With proper cleaning and seasoning, your pan will literally outlive you.
You can still keep a standard frying pan around for eggs and sauces (I certainly do). But using a cast iron pan for most tasks means your other, more delicate cookware will last even longer.
Save me for later!
Biodegradable Trash Bags
These eco friendly kitchen products are made from plant based materials (usually sustainably sourced sugar cane). Not only are they better for the planet, but they’re just better bags. They tend to be stronger and therefore break less often, which always happens to me with regular trash bags.
Eco Friendly Coffee Machine
Brewing sustainable coffee can be challenging. But if you, like me, need coffee in your life, a zero waste coffee machine is one of the best sustainable kitchen products you can buy.
There are several options depending on how you like your coffee or where you source it from, but most people I know use a French Press.
Simply pour your grounds into the pot, add hot water, wait a few minutes, and then press the plunger.
Check out my post on zero waste coffee for more recommendations.
And if you want to grind your own beans, I highly recommend the conical burr from Capresso. In addition to a richer coffee flavor, grinding your own beans cuts out single-use plastic bags and plastic coffee pods.
Finally, if you like to drink your coffee at work or on the go, consider buying an eco friendly travel mug.
Stainless Steel Bowls
I relished the day I ditched my plastic mixing bowls for stainless steel ones. No more worrying about knicks, scratches, or discoloration.
If you do any mixing or baking in the kitchen, stainless steel bowls are a must. They are super easy to clean and last for ages.
As I’ve mentioned before, not all eco friendly kitchenware has to be compostable. Since the stainless steel industry on the whole is known to be eco friendly and durable, I prefer that material.
However, if biodegradable products are your jam, you should invite this beautiful bamboo bowl to your kitchen.
Silicone Baking Mat
Did you know that there’s a sustainable alternative to aluminum foil and parchment paper?
If you’re a habitual oven user like me, silicone baking mats are the zero waste kitchen product you didn’t know you needed!
Switching to this reusable option was a no brainer. They cook more evenly than foil and paper, and the cleanup afterwards is super easy. I do a little happy dance every time I slide a cheesy slice of pizza right off the mat and onto my plate.
Reusable Baking Liners
Bakers, rejoice! There is a zero waste alternative to cupcake liners.
Many people don’t realize that cupcake liners aren’t compostable or recyclable due to their waxy coating. Luckily, reusable silicone cupcake liners mean you can bake muffins and cupcakes to your hearts delight. The food-grade silicone is safe for cooking and naturally non-stick!
Plastic kitchen utensils have sadly short lives. And once they’re unusable, they end up rotting away in landfills for centuries.
One of the best ways to combat this waste is by switching to bamboo utensils. You can find spoons, spatulas, tongs, and other utensils made from this friendly kitchenware material.
When the time comes, they can be composted either at home or at an industrial facility. In fact, bamboo breaks down faster than other trees, and will typically biodegrade in six months to three years.
Real talk: I still have a silicone spatula for baking and pancake-flipping. No one is 100% zero waste, so don’t feel guilty for not using only bamboo utensils.
Bamboo Cutting Board
Like bamboo utensils, bamboo cutting boards make for some of the best zero waste kitchen products available.
On top of the fact that bamboo is sustainable, its antibacterial properties mean that preparing food with them is much safer than using their plastic counterparts. Plus, they look super pretty in the kitchen.
Silicone Ziplock Bags
Raise your hand if you grew up washing and reusing your ziploc bags!
There’s a lot of crossover between frugality and sustainability. But anyone who raised their hand earlier will know that most zip-top bags just aren’t made to withstand numerous uses.
Luckily, someone designed a version that IS meant to be reused: silicone ziplock bags.
Eliminating plastic is always good for the planet, but these sustainable kitchen products are good for humans, too, as they are BPA free. As an added benefit, they’re also dishwasher safe and leak-proof (as long as you seal them properly).
Beeswax Food Wraps
I’ll admit, this is one of those sustainable kitchen products I didn’t buy into at first. But I’m glad I finally gave it a go, because beeswax food wraps are awesome.
Rather than covering absolutely everything in plastic wrap (what was I thinking?!), wrap up your leftovers in these beeswax wraps instead.
These versatile wraps are made from a thin, washable cloth that is coated in beeswax and designed to keep your food fresh. You can easily mold the material to securely cover pretty much anything, and it will keep your items fresher for longer than plastic wrap.
Outside of milkshakes and iced coffee, I am not a straw person. But if you love or need straws in your life, there are some wonderful sustainable options.
Unlike those annoying paper straws that fall apart mid-sip, these reusable metal straws won’t let you down. They’re durable, easy to clean, and better for the environment, which is a win-win-win.
For my fellow travelers, reusable straws are also a great addition to your zero waste travel kit.
Looking for more sustainable products? Check out these posts: