While it’s crucial to shift much of the onus from consumers to big brands and the government regarding sustainability, we can all do better. (For example, while the US is only recycling some 9% of plastics, we can also try to use less.) And the kitchen—whether at home or work—is one space where we can reduce waste while also using more eco-friendly products. From reusable vessels to package-free soaps, we have selected some of our favorite products that are kinder to the environment.
Unscented Dishwasher Detergent Pods
Packaged inside biodegradable membranes, Dropps’ dishwasher detergent pods ($16) are eco-friendly, while still strong enough to combat grease and food debris. Free of harmful dyes and fragrances, the soaps can be naturally broken down by 55 different species of micro-organisms commonly found in river water—if they make it there. For the listed price you’ll receive 64 pods.
Reusable Stand-Up Bag
Buying in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging waste we use requires employing other storage vessels. Stasher’s reusable stand-up bags ($20) are constructed from non-toxic 100% pure platinum silicone that’s safe for dishwashers and microwaves. Each can hold 56 fluid ounces (or 12 cups dry) and they are available in aqua or clear.
The Clean Up Kit
For anyone’s who horrified by the amount of single-use plastics they consume, start-up Blueland is pioneering a mini design revolution in household packaged goods. After two years of R&D and 12 pending patents, they’ve developed tablets that dissolve in warm tap water and transform into separate cleaning products (including hand soap), as well as shatterproof acrylic spray bottles meant to be reused until the end of time. This set ($29) comes with three “forever” bottles and three tablets—multi-surface, glass and mirror, and bathroom.
Stainless Steel Ice Pack
Made from stainless steel rather than plastic, this ice pack ($14) not only saves water but it saves users from having to store it in plastic, too. It stays cold for four to six hours and reaches its lowest temperature after two hours in the freezer. It’s non-toxic and filled with distilled water—so there’s no chance of it leaking any unwanted substances.
Made from a blend of cotton and polyester, these Scholten & Baijings-designed tea towels ($25) from HAY make for an easy, eco-friendly alternative to paper towels. They’re wider and longer than traditional tea towels, in order to promote absorbency. Available in six different colorways, each set comes with two contrasting towels.
Zero-Waste Dish Washing Block
Made using just three ingredients—aloe, South American soap bark extract and coconut-based cleanser—this dishwashing block ($17) from Well Earth Goods is designed to reduce plastic and packaging waste in the kitchen. The soap is crafted to cut through grease and grime, as well as sanitize food-stained surfaces. It can be used stains in fabrics too (from apparel to carpets) and thanks to the infused aloe, it’s gentle on your skin. Each block should last several months.
Reusable Glass Straws
Packaged as a set of five, STRAWGRACE’s straws ($14) are crafted from laboratory-grade glass and are BPA-, lead- and plastic-free. Each straw has a different hued tip (teal, yellow, green red or blue) so sippers can keep track of their drink. They’re also easy to wash as there are no bends, and each set comes with two cleaning brushes.
Eco-Friendly Sponge Cloth
Made from cellulose and wood-pulp cotton, these made-in-Sweden sponges ($6) are 100% biodegradable and compostable, though should last between six to 12 months. Available in various colors and patterns, they’re ultra-absorbent and naturally anti-bacterial—thanks to their quick-dry ability. Just one of these cloths should replace some 17 rolls of paper towel.
Reusable Food Wraps
Handmade from organic cotton, Etee’s reusable food wraps ($17) are sustainable and compostable alternatives to plastic and paper bags. Available in sets of three, these medium-sized wraps “activate” and become tacky with the warmth of your hands, and can be used for fruits, nuts, and sandwiches—anything. Each one offers some 120+ uses and they can be composted when they’re no longer adhesive.
Pour-Over Coffee Maker
Instead of requiring disposable filters, the Coffee Gator ($27) has a reusable laser-cut steel filter designed to pull the most out of your beans. This offers a cleaner flavor than the French-press method. Easy to clean, this hassle-free piece of equipment—that yields 400ml, or three cups—can handle years of repeat use.
Reusable Sandwich Bag
Woven from 100% Global Organic Textile Standard-certified cotton and finished with a non-toxic coating, Haps Nordic’s handcrafted sandwich bag ($12) is a reusable alternative. Sealed with velcro, the pouch allows contents to breathe rather than sweat (and condensate) inside. They’re available in eight different colors and patterns.
Images courtesy of respective brands, hero image courtesy of Ten and Co.