Living an ultra-low waste lifestyle means we’ve cut out tons of common products that are normally found in the home. By doing this we have drastically and nearly eliminated our trash footprint in the kitchen.
If you’re looking to start your zero waste journey, there is no better place to start then the kitchen! From single-use disposables, food waste, and everything in between you’ll start to notice your trash can shrinking in size with each little step!
Here are 5 items I no longer buy or think about anymore! And the sweet reusable alternatives I use instead! Remember, don't be overwhelmed! By shifting your habits one by one, you'll make powerful habit changes for your pocket book, health, and of course the planet!
Plastic sandwich baggies
Oh man! These little baggies are everywhere! And they seem so necessary don’t they? Well these little things are costing you and the planet a lot of grief.
Plastic baggies are (generally) not recyclable. And most recycling facilities don’t have the capacity to recycle plastic bags of any kind (or they ship them to poor countries to deal with) and it’s easy for these baggies to be contaminated with food particles and oils which makes them even less desirable to recyclers.
Plastics generally are only down-cycled into inferior plastic products which only end up in the landfill. That’s even if they get into a recovery bin in the first place.
U.S. consumers use 100 billion plastic bags annually, which is the energy equivalent of 12 million barrels of oil.
The per-use cost of a plastic baggie is about: $0.05. Per-use cost of reusables baggies initially is: $0.06 — and it will keep going down as you reuse them each year! Score!
Next to plastic water bottles, plastic food wrap makes me cringe every time I see it selfishly wrapped around a piece of food. If you can help it, keep food away from plastics! Honestly, the additives they add to plastics are unregulated and untested.
Plastic food wrap is not recyclable. The planet does not digest plastic! It’s persistent in the environment. To cover food or whatever else you might fancy, try these compostable and reusable (I’ve had mine for 3 years now) Abeego Natural Food Wraps. Love the product and the people who run it. You can also use a glass mason jar for storing foods or cover a bowl with a plate.
No garbage. No problem! I haven’t purchased garbage bags in over a year.
Instead of throw away kitchen sponges, I use small cloth dish rags. I keep a stack of nearly 20 and use about 2 a week and toss them into the washer with another load and always, always hang dry everything! I also use these natural compostable scrub dumplings from Twist.
Paper towels & Napkins
Give yourself a week without paper towels and you’ll never understand why you paid for something that you used only once only to toss. I have plenty of dish rags and towels on hand. This way I’m not doing laundry all the time. By washing with cold water and hang drying we save over $300 a year of energy.
Alternatives? I use up-cycled fabric from old t-shirts to used linens or towels from cleaning the floors to wiping up spills or messes. Or check these neat handmade reusable kitchen towels here.
Same with napkins! Use cloth reusable ones! Check out a thrift store or make your own from used fabric! If composting is available in your area (either backyard or curbside) you can purchase unbleached and compostable napkins or paper towels too. But my suggestion is only if you really need too.