• Jenessa Stark

7 Easy Swaps for a More Sustainable Kitchen

You can clean up your diet to reduce your environmental footprint, but what about how you maintain your home kitchen?

Our cupboards quickly fill with the latest tools and gadgets for the sake of convenience. Case in point: there are 90,000 results for ‘kitchen tools’ on Amazon. Working smarter and not harder is always a great idea, right?

Unfortunately, our corner-cutting has built up to an unsavory situation. According to the EPA, 75% of small appliances such as toasters and coffee pots end up in a landfill. Plastic appliance parts will never truly decompose, but will release greenhouse gasses and may someday become microplastics.

Fortunately, sustainable practices are easier than you may think. It’s important to remember that once you get your eco-friendly systems in place, you won’t have to think twice the next time you step into the kitchen.

Cast iron or stainless steel pots and pans

Instead of: Non-stick pots and pans

Human health concerns aren’t the only reason to never buy another non-stick pan—they also leach toxic chemicals into the environment. This happens when flakes of the material are washed down the drain, or when they end up in a landfill after their short 3-5 year lifespan.

Compare that fate to a cast iron pan you can leave your grandchildren and the sustainable choice becomes clear. Stainless steel is another eco-friendly cooking pan option that can last a lifetime.

DIY cleaning products

Instead of: Harsh cleansers

Depending on the product, household cleaning products may contain chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can lead to asthma, allergies and birth defects. VOCs get trapped in the atmosphere and continue to harm human health while indirectly contributing to greenhouse gasses.

By making your cleaning products, you reduce toxins in your home and the environment, plus reduce your reliance on plastic packaging. Here are some DIY natural cleaning tips and recipes to get you started.

French press, pour-over or reusable pods

Instead of: Single-use coffee pod system

Nix the wasteful single-use coffee pods and opt for a french press or pour-over system. An electric coffee maker would be an upgrade from a coffee pod system, but they have plastic components that can be harmful to your health and the environment.

If you must have your single cup convenience, get a plastic-free reusable coffee pod.

Glass containers and jars

Instead of: Plastic food storage containers

The wonderland of food container solutions out there are eye-catching but unnecessary. Plastic containers stain, crack and are difficult to recycle. You can keep your food fresh and organized in glass mason jars or a simple glass storage system.

For on-the-go eating, try silicone or stainless steel lunch boxes.

Beeswax wrap

Instead of: Plastic wrap, plastic bags and aluminum foil

When wrapping food is called for, opt for beeswax wrap. You can even fold it into pouches for sandwiches. If you use plastic bags for freezer storage or poaching, silicone bags are the solution.

Biodegradable sponge or plastic-free scrub brush

Instead of: Conventional sponge

Even if you’ve scoured your home of plastic, you may have missed your sponge. While sponges do grow naturally in the ocean, conventional sponges are typically made from polyurethane, a type of plastic. The next time you toss your sponge, make it your last and replace it with one of these.

Towels and rags

Instead of: Paper towel

254 million tons of paper towels are discarded around the world every year. Help reduce this number by choosing reusable towels. You can find a sleek-looking reusable towel roll to match your decor, or just keep a stack of rags at the ready.

Take It One Bite At a Time

There’s no reason to get overwhelmed about your kitchen’s sustainability level. It’s not worth getting caught up in plastic-free, zero-waste and toxin free ideals on social media. Simply start with the easiest option for your household and upgrade when you can.

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