9 Zero-Waste Kitchen Essentials & Simple Sustainable Swaps

by Zunaira

Use these waste kitchen essentials to create a more eco-friendly, sustainable kitchen. I am going to explore low-waste kitchen swaps and how to obtain a lower-waste kitchen. I love to cook, and my kitchen is a safe and calm space that nourishes people. Zero waste also helps nourish the earth.

I have been living the low-waste lifestyle for over five years, and in this process, I have learned ways, tips, and tricks for tackling the global waste crisis at an individual level.

Reusable towels

1. Reusable towels

I grew up using a lot of paper towels. My family loved paper towels, and the people I live with now are paper towel enthusiasts.

We still have paper towels, but we've reduced them significantly. Now I use towels that can be used over and over again. When I'm done using them, I put them in the laundry.

There are actual un-paper towels out there which are a product that rolls around very similar to the paper towel format. If you already have towels that you can use, don't feel like going out and buying something new. 

Oil or silicone baking mat

2. Oil or silicone baking mat

Swap number two is no longer using tin foil or wax paper for cooking, instead using oil or a reusable silicone baking mat. I have used a silicone baking mat in the past and loved them.

I recently gave my reusable silicone baking mat away, so I've just been using oil, but honestly, the oil works so great for me. I'm not sure if I will buy a silicone baking mat just because I'm using what I have now. 

When you think of tin foil or parchment paper, a lot of resources go into creating these things that are just thrown away and disposed of. So why not use materials that we can reuse over and over again?  

Reusable dish brush

3. Reusable dish brush

Swap number three, the reusable dish brush. Before using the dish brush, I used a disposable sponge or a disposable plastic dish brush.

We all know if we've used materials like that; eventually, they get gross or deteriorate, and there's no place to compost them because they're made of plastic.

You have to throw them away and send them to the landfill. Whereas if you use a reusable dish brush made from natural materials, you can put it right in your compost pile when you are tired of it.  

Dish soap block

4. Dish soap block

This leads me to my next swap, a dish soap block. I love this because I can take my dish brush, rub it on the soap, and wash my dishes.

I like this more than liquid dish soap, even though I have been a dish liquid soap user practically my whole life because dish soap always comes in plastic containers.

If you don't have a refill station near you, you'll constantly be going through these plastic bottles, which take a lot of energy to produce and recycle.  

Silicone storage bags

5. Silicone storage bags

Ditch those plastic disposable Ziploc baggies for reusable silicone baggies. I use silicone baggies, and I love these. Silicone baggies are easily washable in the dishwasher, or you can wash them by hand.

You can store so many things in them, from chips to sandwiches to using them for freezing ingredients. I am simply in love with this sustainable swap.  

Sustainable cooking oil

6. Sustainable cooking oil

This swap has to do with cooking oil. How we source our cooking oil, how we store it, and the waste footprint of that. Many people like to have their cooking oil in a spray can.

The problem with this is that not only is a lot of energy required to create those cans, but not all places can recycle those cans. You can purchase a reusable can that refills and use it to spray your oil on. 

I haven't invested in a reusable spray can because I am a pouring kind of gal regarding my oil. I have a reusable oil container and dispenser that's made of glass, and this is where I store my oil.

I have a refiller for cooking oil nearby, but if you don't have access to something like this, my suggestion would be to purchase a large container of cooking oil, preferably in glass, in a container that you can reuse over and over again. 

Compost bin

7. Compost bin

The following sustainable swap in the kitchen is to adopt a compost bin. My favorite way to manage my kitchen compost is to store all of my food scraps from the food that my housemates and I cook.

We put it in a reusable bag and stored it in the freezer. I take it outside when the bag is full and put it into our compost pile.  

Reusable coffee and tea appliances

8. Reusable coffee and tea appliances

This is for all my coffee and tea lovers out there. Adopt reusable appliances to enjoy your beverages. Use a coffee press rather than those K-cups, which are disposable and end up deeply polluting our environment. 

A coffee press is a forever reusable appliance. If you take really good care of it, it will save you from creating so much waste in your morning coffee routine. 

Zero-waste kitchen essentials

For tea, you can purchase a reusable kettle with a strainer inside of it and put your loose-leaf tea leaves into the kettle, pour hot water over and then enjoy. 

You can take the tea leaves you are ready to discard and put them in your compost. 

9. Shop local farmer's markets 

The last tip I want to share with you is to shop local and farmer's markets as much as possible. This will significantly help you reduce the amount of waste you're bringing into your kitchen.

I, fortunately, live on a beautiful farm where I grow a lot of the produce I eat. Before then, I would have to go to the farmer's market and source my vegetables there weekly.

Zero-waste kitchen essentials

Zero-waste kitchen swaps go a long way to living a sustainable life and caring for our planet. What zero-waste kitchen products do you use? Share in the comments below.

Join the conversation
2 of 4 comments
  • Kytn Embree Kytn Embree on Dec 30, 2022

    We use towels (vs paper towels) and wash them with the laundry.

    During the summer when it's extremely hot we have reusable towels we soak with cold water and lay over our necks while working (foundations)

    During covid we made our own hand sanitizer and reused containers for it.

    All of our paper packaging gets broken down to use in wood stove as starter.

    My favorite silicone is the muffin cups. Everything comes out of them so easily.

    We also have the glass bottles for our oil and we typically put any leftover herbs in the bottles for flavored oils

    Thanks for sharing your favorites with us

  • Jan33066270 Jan33066270 on Jan 06, 2023

    Yes. New ideas, thanks