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9 Sustainable Kitchen Swaps That Reduce Waste and Save Money

Looking for some easy, sustainable kitchen swaps to help improve your everyday environmental impact? Start with these picks.

eco friendly sustainable kitchen swaps
Written by
Mary Olmsted
Starting your
sustainable journey
can definitely be overwhelming. And seeing all the "perfect" zero-waste influencers can definitely be intimidating. But don't sweat it. We’re here to help make it fun and easy, starting with your kitchen.
If you're looking for eco-friendly kitchen swaps, we have seven sustainable options that are a breeze to make when the time comes. But first, a sustainability tip: The most sustainable thing you can do is use what you have. So don’t make any of the swaps below until you finish your products.

9 Sustainable Kitchen Swaps to Try

Silicone Storage Bags Instead of Ziploc Bags

Most people keep a stash of a variety of sizes of Ziploc bags in their homes at all times, from freezer bags for meats to sandwich bags to snack bags. But there are definitely lots of options for
reusable storage bags
out there.
They can be a little pricey, but the quality is amazing and they last for a very long time. Thus, this temperature-resistant silicone bag may seem like a lot of money upfront, but it will save you money in the long run. This
non-toxic option
can even be used to pop popcorn in the microwave!

Silicone Baking Mats Instead of Aluminum Foil

Even though aluminum foil is recyclable as long as it's not completely food-soiled and you have a minimum of a 4-inch ball, it’s still producing waste. So a great swap is
silicone baking sheets
These can be used time and time again for baking or cooking dishes in the oven. They're also very easy to clean. Just put them under some water, then wipe them down with a dishcloth until dry. This is one of the easier swaps, and it’s another great gift you can give to your baking friend.

Swedish Dishcloths Instead of Paper Towels

Most people have a roll of
paper towels
somewhere in their kitchen. In 2017, Americans spent $5.7 billion on paper towels alone. Aside from creating a lot of waste, paper towels also contribute to deforestation and require a lot of water to produce.
To reduce your impact, swap paper towels for
Swedish dishcloths
. A single Swedish dishcloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towels, easily cleaning up all your kitchen messes. It's also easy to clean, as you can put it right in the dishwasher. Once it's too worn out to use, it's completely biodegradable.

Food Huggers Instead of Plastic Wrap

Plastic wrap is undeniably convenient. Unfortunately, you can't typically recycle it in curbside bins, so it's oftentimes sent to landfills unless you take special care and find a suitable drop-off location.
To reduce plastic waste and food waste, give
Food Huggers
a try. The thick and sturdy silicone covers fit all kinds of produce, creating an airtight seal that keeps your fruit and veggies fresher for longer.

Bamboo Dish Brushes Instead of Plastic Dish Brushes

Dishwashing equipment is typically made from plastic. Once these items are too worn-out to use, into the garbage they go. A great way to reduce plastic waste in the kitchen is to opt for a swap that doesn't harm the planet after it's completed its duties.
This set is crafted from plant-based materials like bamboo, hemp, and
natural loofah
. No plastic needed! Because of these plant-based ingredients, they're all home compostable. And, you can save the dish brush handle to be used in the future—simply remove the old brush head and twist on the new.

Reusable Collapsible Metal Straw Instead of Plastic Straws

You're probably well aware of how plastic straws harm the planet. Americans use
500 million single-use plastic straws
every day, many of which end up polluting oceans and waterways. The rest wind up in landfills.
This reusable option is made from food-grade silicone and steel and is great for both at-home and on-the-go use. When you're not sipping your iced
matcha latte
, it folds down and can be stored in a carrying case that can hook right onto your keychain.

Dropps Dishwasher Pods Instead of Traditional Pods

Dishwasher pods have definitely made cleaning dishes 10 times easier. But most of the major brands come in huge plastic containers and don’t always contain the best ingredients. But is here to change the standard.
The brand makes natural, safe dishwashing pods with no added dyes that come in different senses and come in recyclable and compostable packaging. You can get them delivered right to your door with their free 100% carbon neutral shipping. They’re also cruelty-free.

Cloth Napkins Instead of Paper Napkins

Paper napkins are a staple in so many dinners—but why is that the case? Why not just use cloth napkins every single meal? They’re easy to wash and can be reused countless times. Just throw it in the wash when you want to clean it and boom, you have yourself a brand-new napkin.
While you can buy a new set from a small business (
like this one
!), they're also pretty easy to find at thrift stores or even antique stores. So skip the single-use napkins that too often end up in the landfill and stock up on reusable cloth ones instead.

Glass Food Storage Containers Instead of Plastic Ones

This swap isn't an immediate switch. But as the plastic containers you’re probably using now wear down or lids don’t fit anymore, transitioning to something more sustainable—like stretchy silicone lids, or glass or metal containers—is a great step.
There are lots of places where you can purchase metal and glass storage containers and overall you'll save money as these will last you much longer than the plastic ones you currently have. Also, don’t be afraid to use what you may already have in your cabinet.
For example, pasta sauces come in glass containers. Once you’re done with the pasta sauce, clean it out and use it for a salad dressing or leftovers. Just because it’s not a typical container doesn’t mean it can’t be used for food storage.