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Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

Zero Waste Kitchen

Last Updated on May 2, 2024

The kitchen is one of the easiest — and most important! — places to tackle when you decide to go zero waste.

There are so many ways to reduce your carbon footprint via your kitchen, and the best place to start is with your meals and your food waste.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

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You can have a major impact in your kitchen by eating a more plant based diet, composting, and reducing food waste. On top of that, switching out conventional products for zero waste swaps will save money and reduce trash.

Things like reusable containers, compost bins, and plastic-free storage can help minimize waste and save money. Plus, many of them look just as great on the countertop as they are helpful! Sustainable cooking just got a whole lot more enjoyable and aesthetically pleasing.

Eco friendly kitchen products are key for sustainable cooking. From reusable containers to eco friendly cooking pans, these items will help you reduce waste, support eco conscious cooking, and minimize your carbon footprint. There are so many benefits to using beeswax wraps, stainless steel utensils, eco friendly cleaning products, and more. Zero waste cooking is easier than ever when you use eco friendly cooking tools.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

what is an eco friendly kitchen?

An eco friendly kitchen is designed to reduce its environmental impact through sustainable habits and practices. The focus is on eliminating food waste, composting, reducing trash, conserving energy, and using eco friendly materials, tools, and appliances. 

RELATED: 10 Ways to Create a Non-Toxic Kitchen

When we bought our house, I got to organize my kitchen into an eco-friendly dream. Our kitchen is pretty small, but we’ve prioritized a place for composting our food scraps, a spot for all of our eco friendly cleaning products under the sink, a cloth towel system to avoid using paper towels, and the BIG thing – swapping our appliances.

All of our appliances were over 40 years old and really inefficient. Not to mention the family of mice living in our oven… we chose energy-efficient appliances, and swapped our gas stove for an induction cooktop which I love!

Whether you own your home or you rent, you can make all different levels of changes to accommodate your eco friendly kitchen. Whether that’s small habit changes like tossing vegetable scraps and coffee grounds into the compost instead of the trash, making sure to recycle, and ditching single-use plastic. All of these efforts add up to massive impact. You’ll save money, reduce waste, and promote a healthier planet.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

essential eco friendly kitchen products

1. reusable food storage containers

Swap single-use plastic food containers for reusable ones. Single-use plastics fill our dumps and landfills so using reusable food containers was one of the first steps I made when creating a more eco friendly kitchen. There are several options to choose from — glass, stainless steel, and silicone are just a few.

I avoid storing leftovers in plastic for health reasons from the synthetic estrogens as well as microplastics. I prefer glass containers because you can microwave them, and they’re clear so you don’t forget what you’ve stored in them.

Glass snapware is one of my favorites because they come in various different shapes and sizes and are leak-proof. The lids for snapware are often made from plastic, with a silicone lining, but the glass base isn’t. Just make sure you take the top off before heating up leftovers in the microwave.

Plus, if you buy things like peanut butter or pasta sauce in glass jars, you’re getting a glass container to reuse for free! So making the swap to reusable containers is an easy swap to make.

You can also invest in some glass canisters for storing your dry goods from the bulk food store. Many places, like The Container Store, sell these both online and in-person.

Silicone bags are another decent option for food storage. I love the ones Stasher bags sells, as they’re easy to close and can be used in the microwave, oven, and freezer, making them quite versatile.

If you still have some Tupperware that’s in decent shape, you don’t have to toss it out though. You can upcycle it by using it to store non-food items, or even utilizing it to freeze food scraps for your compost.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

2. beeswax wraps and silicone lids

Replacing your plastic wrap with beeswax wraps or silicone lids for leftovers is yet another way to reduce how much plastic you use. 

I’ve been opting for beeswax wraps for years now and I’ll never go back to saran wrap! These wraps are made with natural beeswax and organic cotton, making them compostable at the end of their life. Beeswrap has also begun selling vegan versions as well, made using plant-based wax.

Beeswax wraps come in all different sizes for various uses: There’s small, medium, large, and bread wraps to choose from. Getting a variety pack is ideal for beginners, as it lets you work with an assortment of sizes.

To use beeswax wraps, you simply use the warmth of your hands to secure the wraps onto your surface. You can use them to secure plates, bowls, the ends of cut produce, bread, loose produce, and more.

I like to keep some silicone lids on hand as well, as they’re also reusable and more environmentally friendly than plastic wrap. Silicone lids can be used to cover small, medium and large dishes and bowls. They’re also very easy to wash by hand.

Both options really do keep your food just as fresh. Additionally, if you’re in a pinch, you can always just use a plate to cover a bowl in the fridge.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

3. stainless steel or bamboo utensils

Plastic utensils can melt or fall apart easily, and they’re also teeming with microplastics.

Stainless steel and bamboo should be your go-to as you create your new sustainable cooking arsenal. They’re more durable, last longer, and curb plastic pollution. There are also so many chic options for stainless steel and bamboo these days. No need to give up on style. 

For silicone utensils, Oxo is a reliable brand. Oxo is a 1% For The Planet member, which means they commit 1% of their annual sales to environmental nonprofits.

I personally love bamboo and I even have a bamboo dishwashing brush to do my dishes with.

Caraway just started selling a knives and utensils set too: The utensils are made from FSC-Certified Birch Wood, and the metal is made from premium German steel. You can just get the knife set or the utensil set on its own, or together.

However, if you’re looking into more budget-friendly options, I suggest checking your local thrift store. Often times there will be secondhand wooden and silicone utensils there at affordable prices.

I would advise you clean your thrifted wooden utensils before using them though: Just boil some water and let them soak in it as it boils. Don’t forget to oil your wooden utensils on occasion too using olive oil or coconut oil. This will keep them looking like new.

To store your cooking utensils, consider using an upcycled mason jar, or a thrifted vase or canister.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

4. eco friendly cooking pans

If you’re a long-time reader of the blog you know I cook a lot, and having eco friendly cooking pans is a must. I’ve reviewed several cookware brands and bakeware sets.

Most conventional non-stick cookware contains Teflon coating. Teflon is made with a specific kind of Perfluorocarbon (PFC) that makes the surface of cookware resistant to sticking.

The problem with this is when Teflon coated pans get overheated (above 500 degrees F), the Teflon coatings on nonstick cookware start to break down, releasing toxic chemicals into the air.   

It only takes 2.5 minutes for a traditional non-stick pan on high heat to exceed 500 degrees F and begin releasing forever chemicals, aka PFAs. PFAS don’t break down in our bodies, earning them the nickname “forever chemicals.” Instead they just just stay and build up in our bodies year after year.

It’s best to opt for non-toxic materials like ceramic, cast iron, or stainless steel — not only do they last longer than their plastic counterparts, but they also guarantee a cooking environment free from harmful chemicals.

There are some really nice-looking brands out there. One of my favorites is Caraway Cookware. They boast plastic-free shipping, are Teflon-free, and have a recycling program.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

5. compost bin or compostable bags

I love my compost bin! Composting is one of the best ways to keep food scraps out of landfills and create nutrient-rich soil for plants like herbs, fruits, vegetables, and even flowers.

Contrary to popular belief, you also don’t need a lot of space (or a yard, though I do have an article on backyard composting) to compost. Even better if you have your own veggie garden to use all that glorious compost in. Building a veggie garden on my balcony is on my list of projects to tackle.

There are tons of countertop compost bin options available, or you can build your own. If you do settle on a countertop compost bin, I recommend lining it with one of these compostable trash bags for easier clean up.

I also love using my Lomi, which is a great option for those who love plants, have limited access to industrial composting, or live in an apartment. It can fit on a countertop, or a sturdy display table.

You just feed it your food scraps and Lomi creates nutrient-rich Lomi Earth (aka pre-compost) which is rich in microbial cultures and organic matter. This is perfect to use on plants of all kinds, lawns and gardens, as it will help them flourish

If you’re new to composting, here are 125+ items you can compost around your home. Items like banana peels, eggshells, veggie peels, yard waste and even hair can be composted!

Also, be aware that biodegradable and compostable aren’t the same thing. Essentially, biodegradable simply means a product will eventually break down. But compostable means it will not only break down, but also return to the earth and become a beneficial part of the soil.

For example, plastic is technically biodegradable (because it will break up into microplastics over the course of hundreds of years). However, it is not compostable, because these microplastics will never fully integrate with the soil.

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

6. eco friendly cleaning products

And something that you can use in any room in your home — are eco friendly cleaning products.

Most traditional cleaning products are full of toxins that are harmful to your health and bad for the environment. In fact, there’s no federal law that requires companies to disclose the ingredients used in your cleaning products.

When these harsh chemicals go down our drains, they eventually end up in our waterways where they can harm aquatic life.

Be sure to read the ingredients label on your cleaning products and research any ingredients you find questionable. As a general rule, you’ll want to avoid phosphates and methylisothiazolinone, as both are considered toxic to marine ecosystems.

What’s more, many people reach for single-use products like paper towels when there are so many other more sustainable options out there. 

Reusable paper towels are just the beginning. You should also look for sustainable dish soap, dishwasher detergent, all-purpose cleaning spray, sponges, and sanitizers.

Here are some simple ways to keep cleaning in the kitchen sustainable:

  • Use a wooden dish brush with a replaceable and compostable head
  • Try a dish soap bar, or refillable dish soap option
  • Clean your sink using natural all-purpose cleaners, or baking soda
  • Use rags, microfiber cloths, or compostable Swedish dish cloths to clean up messes
  • Clean your oven using a baking soda paste instead of harsh chemicals
  • Utilize reusable + DIY disinfectant wipes
Eco Friendly Kitchen Products for Sustainable Cooking

eco friendly kitchen products faqs

why should I use eco friendly kitchen products?

Zero waste cooking products will help you lead a zero waste lifestyle! Using eco friendly kitchen products helps reduce plastic waste, minimize harmful chemicals in your home, and promote sustainability.

The average American creates ~4.9lbs of trash per day, most of which is generated from single-use items and food waste. Only 5-6% of plastic is actually recycled. The rest ends up in landfills, the environment, or incinerated.

By opting for these products instead of traditional ones, you can contribute toward our planet’s well-being and reduce waste in your household. Did you know just by composting, you can cut your household waste in half?

Making the switch to eco friendly kitchen products will benefit your health, as well as the environment. Plus, many of these swaps are economical and help you save money in the long run.

where can I find sustainable cooking products?

Sustainable kitchen products are available at various stores, both online and offline. They’re most often found in specialty eco friendly stores, but are becoming more and more widely available in some of the big box places, like The Container Store. I suggest looking online — I also have a section dedicated to zero waste cooking on the blog where you can find my favorite products.

are eco friendly kitchen products more expensive?

Some products like eco friendly cooking pans, bakeware, and utensils are a bit on the expensive side — but I will say they often last longer than most conventional cooking products. That means much more long-term savings! Plus, as sustainable living becomes more popular, more affordable options have become available.

You can also find a lot of eco friendly kitchen products secondhand at thrift stores. Also, don’t be afraid to borrow smaller appliances from a loved one! For example, if you normally don’t use a crockpot, but one recipe calls for it, ask someone you know who has one if you can use it for the night.

You can also try your local Buy Nothing Facebook group, or even Facebook marketplace, to see if you can get deals on more sustainable kitchen products.

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