It can feel overwhelming or daunting to go on journey to be more eco friendly. So I’m breaking it down into bite size pieces with this sustainable swaps series. Today, I’ll be focusing on sustainable swaps for your kitchen.
There are lots of little things we can do as individuals to reduce our footprint and impact on our planet. These are just a few easily actionable items you can swap to this month to make your kitchen a little bit greener!
Instead of constantly buying paper towels that get tossed in the trash, try out some resusable paper towels. I find it becomes more convenient to use the reusable option when I keep a small basket under the sink to put the used ones in as I clean. These reusable options will last for years and don’t continue to cut down our forests. It can take some time to get used to reusable paper towels, so you can start by taking a baby step by committing to use these to wipe down the countertops and table surfaces. The more reasonable switch you can make, the longer lasting the change will be and therefore more impactful!
Making the swap from plastic straws to bamboo, stainless steel or glass options is one of the easiest swaps to make. There are seriously endless reusable straw options out there these days, theres really no excuse to use a plastic straw these days. It is estimated that in the US we use 500 MILLION PLASTIC STRAWS EVERYDAY! These are all SINGLE USE and go straight into landfills and our oceans. Reusable straws are not only stylish, but a zillion times more eco friendly than single use plastic ones. If you want something extra aesthetically pleasing, check these out!
You can ditch the plastic dish soap vessels and opt for this great reusable option from Blueland. According to Blueland, a household goes through 30 of the single use plastic dish soap bottles every year. In my apartment building of 20 units, thats 600 plastic dish soap bottles! Just from my building alone! When you realize how much waste there is, it’s a lot easier to know that your small actions are going to have a mighty big impact. Being confident in my positive impact also helps me stick with a swap that may not seem the most convenient at first.
Instead of buying your trash bags at the store that are made with brand new plastic, commit to purchasing these bags made from 100% recycled single use plastic. We are all going to create trash, but even in your trash you can still make a more conscious decision and effort to be more sustainable. For this sustainable swaps for your kitchen, why not use bags that are made from past single use plastic trash!? Plus, with every purchase you are supporting Grove Collaborative’s mission to remove litter from our waterways. Win, win!
You’ll find no shortage of silicone kitchen bags out there! I personally use Stasher bags and LOVE them. While you do have to take the effort to clean them out after you use them, it is well worth the effort for how much plastic you’re saving from landfills and our oceans. Also, Stasher makes it super simple for you because all of their bags are dishwasher safe AND freezer safe! They come in a variety of sizes and shapes, so I actually find they are more versatile than any other bag!
Saran wrap is one of the biggest single use plastic culprits. Now, you can just use these reusable storage wraps! You simply wash them in cold water after each use and hang to dry (I usually lay it across the top of another bowl or cup on my drying rack). The best part, once you get all the use you can out of these, they are 100% biodegradable and compostable. I have not found a vegan wrap option, all I have found do contain beeswax. Please let me know if you have a vegan option you love!
While it can feel like a big monetary commitment initially to make sustainable swaps for your kitchen, a lot of the swaps are going to be reusable, so in the long term, that actually means more savings for you, and more love for our planet.
I love the push to be a conscious consumer, so please know none of this is meant to encourage unnecessary spending. Being realistic, I know we’ll be buying gifts this season, so here are my picks for more sustainable holiday gifts for everyone!
This KITCHEN BUNDLE or this FARMER’S MARKET BAG are great options for someone just beginning their sustainability journey. Who doesn’t love some cozy ORGANIC COTTON TOWELS for their bathroom? A home isn’t complete without some natural earthware CERAMIC MUGS.
I love this STYLISH BLUETOOTH SPEAKER that also supports reforestation and ocean preservation with every purchase. Or what about an upgrade on those WORKOUT LEGGINGS that are made from recycled bottles AND donate to charity with every purchase. Use my code “EXPANSIVE” for 15% off! If she needs more equipment, what about NATURAL LATEX BOOTY BANDS that won’t wear out. And if my husband is reading this, I’ll take this MONTHLY WORKOUT SUBSCRIPTION.
I love the idea of unique gifts for your meditation loving friends like this RELAXING DRUM. Or you can give the gift that keeps giving by enhancing their air with a low maintenance POTHOS PLANT. What about a JOURNAL made from 100% recycled stone, and from a completely carbon neutral company that plants a tree with every book purchase? Lastly, NATURAL BATH SALTS will always be a hit for the friend who needs some help relaxing.
What about encouraging them to ditch the plastic and give the gift of salon quality SHAMPOO + CONDITIONER BARS. Or check out my favorite RETINOL SERUM that will leave your recipients skin so soft and smooth. Any skincare junkie would also love a GUA SHA to help their products absorb more deeply, and reduce inflammation. And finally, a totally CLEAN FRAGRANCE PERFUME that is from sustainable sources and natural.
Look no further than this all VEGAN LEATHER JACKET from one of my favorite brands. Or go for a VEGAN LEATHER CROSSBODY that is sure to get some use for years to come. Another great gift if you’re looking for jewelry are these LAYERING NECKLACES that are sustainably sourced and from a brand that gives back. Lastly, if your recipient is a summer lover, why not give them something to look forward to with this ECO CHIC SWIMSUIT made from recycled plastic bottles.
Choose Love is a wonderful organization that allows you to gift a variety of items to refugees. They will send the products to where they are most in need. Another one of my favorite non-profits is the Sheldrick Wildlife Trust which I had the privilege of visiting in Kenya. They have so many projects in support of their mission of wildlife conservation and habitat protection, most famous for their hand-raising of elephants orphaned from poaching. Another great place to donate this season is Feeding America. The numbers of households that experience food insecurity in this country are staggering. Finally, The Trevor Project is another fantastic non-profit to give to that provides crisis intervention to LGBTQ+ youth, who are 4x more likely to attempt suicide than their peers. They work on important advocacy campaigns like ending conversion therapy, and have expanded into 100 other nations.
Do you have other sustainable holiday gifts you love? Add them in the comments below!
Reusable grocery bags are one of the easiest and quickest ways for individuals and households to reduce their plastic consumption.
Most families grocery shop at least once a week, and most grocery stores only offer plastic bags for your produce and bulk items. This can add up…FAST.
My favorite reusable grocery bag for produce is from Filt. It comes in a variety of colors and two sizes and they expand like crazy! I can usually always fit all of my fresh produce into one small bag.
I typically use this bag for fruits like apples, avocados, mangos and veggie items that are more durable like onions and eggplant.
I have loved using these from The Earthling Co. They come in different sizes. Shopping for a family of 2 that is plant based, the vast majority of my shopping is in the veggie section. I usually use at least 5 of these bags every time. I love these for more delicate vegetables like mushrooms (and they’re breathable bags perfect in the fridge once I get home!). They’re also great for putting any loose leafy greens or loose green beans that you purchase.
There are SO many options to choose from. My advice would be to get at least 6 of these, and you could get different sizes as well.
It’s always better to buy from the bulk grocery section as it’s often more affordable than buying the same items pre-packaged, and it’s much more environmentally friendly! Again, most grocery stores offer plastic bags here. Instead, bring your own cotton, canvas or paper bags. I’m loving this option from Food 52 that gives you both produce and bulk bag options. These bags from Uashmama are another great option that you’ll feel good about using, and I love how many color options they offer.
Lastly, after you’ve put all of your individual grocery items into their reusable bags, you have to pack it all up in the larger bags to bring home! For a quick, mid-week trip, I love this option. But as a more regular use item, these organic cotton bags are my pick. If you want to have a few insulated options which I use, I love these Veno bags. They are super sturdy and will last years.