In honor of Earth Day on Saturday I wanted to talk about some things I purchased to make my kitchen more “green”. The Minimalist RD and her sustainable kitchen series inspired me to make some simple changes that could save on a whole lot of unnecessary waste! Some of these suggestions were from Erin and others are items I wanted to add to the list.
I hate buying the little zip top baggies but they are so gosh darn convenient! I have been meaning to purchase the reusable ones for a while now and purchased these from Amazon. There are all sorts of cloth patterned ones that I found, but ultimately I went with this option to prevent dry snacks/breads from going stale. These are also freezer safe and seem much easier to wash! I will probably still keep the disposable ones on hand for convenience (like when I’m taking something to-go and won’t be able to hang on to the bag afterward) but can already tell I’ll be way less reliant on them.
I love the look of these and they make organizing a lot easier. I plan to use them for bulk grains, nuts/seeds or any other dry goods. They’re functional but also stylish enough to keep on the counter! You could definitely use standard mason jars, but I like to use my jars for making sauces and packing lunches and I wanted something with a wide mouth that would be easier to scoop so these are perfect.
It’s always nice to have a napkin with meals just in case you need one, but I found that too often I was taking a paper towel with dinner each night, barely using it, and then somehow throwing it away by the time the kitchen was cleaned up. I like the idea of cloth napkins because, 1) they are a whole lot more visually appealing to look at, and 2) you can use them over and over before having to wash them (unless you have a really messy meal of course) and cut way down on paper towel use. Similarly to what I mentioned about the baggies, I will still keep paper towel on hand for when it makes more sense but I think these will help to cut back on it. I chose this particular option because I love the simple look and the reviews indicated they are actually absorbent unlike some other cloth napkins on the market.
These also help replace paper towels but from a cleaning standpoint. Jacob’s aunt recently gave me a few of these to try because she loves them so much that she wanted to pay it forward. I have been using them for just a couple of weeks and am already hooked! You can clean glass and mirrors really easily and don’t even need any cleaner (just soak in water and ring out well before using). I also love the way they clean counter tops - for some reason they don’t get all crunchy when they air dry so can also be used to wipe up moisture. Love them!
Reusable Shopping Bags
These are definitely not a new trend by any means, but I wanted to include them on this list any way because I LOVE them. I remember about ten years ago when I first started seeing these pop up on blogs. You had to order them online then – now I get them for free constantly at conferences and special events. I use them for groceries (at least when I remember them) and it cuts way down on plastic bags (I only need 2-3 as opposed to about 50 plastic bags that I end up with otherwise). In addition to just that, I use them for road trips or for packing up dinner supplies if we are going to a friend’s house. I also use the small ones for lunch bags so they are just great all around.
I think it's important to remember that no one is perfect when it comes to this stuff, but we can all do something to be a little bit less wasteful. Small changes certainly add up to big ones in the long term. Hopefully this provided some inspiration for simple swaps that really make a difference.
Is there anything you have done to make your kitchen more green?