7 Eco-Friendly Kitchen Swaps to Help You Live a More Sustainable Life

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written by:  Mary Olmsted

editor's note:

I thought you would enjoy my latest take on the below. Enjoy!

Starting your sustainable journey can definitely be overwhelming. As someone who just started their own journey this January going on Instagram and Pinterest, seeing all the “perfect” zero waste influencers out there definitely was intimidating. But at Brightly we’re here to help you live a fun and easy sustainable life! So found below are 7 zero waste and sustainable kitchen swaps that are relatively easy to make when the time comes, plus an extra swap suggestion pertaining to the beauty world. 

But First: A Sustainability Tip

The most sustainable thing you can do is to use what you have! So don’t make any of the switches listed below until you finish your products. Then switch to a sustainable option. 


1. Blueland Clean Essential Kit Instead Of Lysol Or Clorox Wipes

Price:

$39

Our Take:

Blueland cleaning products are a great easy sustainable swap. They have a multi-surface, glass, and a bathroom cleaner. You can buy a starter kit that comes with reusable bottles and little soap tablets that dissolve in water to create the cleaning solution. The best part is that all of their packaging is recyclable and compostable. They use non-toxic ingredients in their formulas and offer refills when you run out of tablets. Also, a handful of their products are Cradle to Cradle certified.


2. Dropps Dishwasher Pods Instead Of Traditional Dishwasher Pods

Price:

$25

Our Take:

Dishwasher pods have definitely made cleaning dishes 10 times easier. But most of the major brands come in huge plastic containers and don’t always contain the best ingredients. But Dropps is here to change the standard. They make natural, safe dishwashing pods with no added dyes that come in different senses and come in all-recyclable and compostable packaging. You can get them delivered right to your door with their free 100% carbon neutral shipping. You can also sign up for a subscription to have them automatically delivered to your house. They’re also cruelty-free.


3. Silicone Storage Bags Instead Of Zip-Loc Bags

Price:

$12

Our Take:

Take a second and think back to elementary school. You go to the cafeteria, unzip your lunchbox and what do you most likely see? A minimum of 2 to 3 Ziploc bags. Think of how many Ziploc bags get used per year for just kids’ lunches alone. Most people keep a stash of a variety of sizes of Ziploc bags in their homes at all times, from freezer bags for meats to sandwich bags to snack bags. But there are definitely lots of options for reusable storage bags out there. They can be a little pricey but the quality is amazing and they last for a very long time. Thus, this temperature-resistant, $20 silicone bag may seem like a lot of money upfront but in the long run, it will save you money.


4. Cloth Napkins Instead Of Paper Napkins

Price:

$17

Our Take:

Paper napkins are a staple in so many dinners, but why is that the case? Why not just use cloth napkins every single meal? They’re easy to wash and can be reused countless times. Just throw it in the wash when you want to clean it and boom, you have yourself a brand new napkin. They are also pretty easy to find at thrift stores or even antique stores. So skip the single-use napkins that too often end up in the landfill and stock up on reusable cloth ones instead. Supporting small sellers through websites like Etsy is a great way to invest your money back in the community and make sure you receive quality items.


5. Kitchen Towels Instead Of Paper Towels

Price:

$6 for 2

Our Take:

Most people have a roll of paper towels somewhere in their kitchen. But most households had dish towels most of the time hanging on their stove but no one ever really used them, why was that the case? Putting these dish towels to use is a great way to take advantage of a sustainable swap you may already have lying around. Well, many people might say: Well, isn’t washing them and doing more laundry wasting more water? The surprising answer is that it actually uses a lot more water to create one roll of paper towels than to do one load of laundry with multiple dish towels in it. Public Goods is a Fair Trade certified company that uses eco-friendly materials to make its products like this kitchen towel set. Now, if you are a die-hard paper towel fan, try Public Good’s Tree-Free Paper Towels instead of their GOTS-certified, 100% organic cotton kitchen towels. You won’t regret it. Plus, with the holidays coming up, both make great housewarming gifts for friends or family members.


6. Silicone Baking Mats Instead Of Aluminum Foil

Price:

$27

Our Take:

Even though aluminum foil is recyclable as long as it is not completely food-soiled and you have a minimum of a 4-inch ball it’s still producing waste. So a great swap is silicone baking sheets. These can be used time and time again for baking or cooking dishes in the oven. They are very easy to clean. Just put them under some water and then wipe them down with a dishcloth until dry. This is one of the easier swaps and it’s another great gift you can give to your baking friend. Silpat, the product’s maker, is very transparent about the manufacturing of the mat. Additionally, Sur la table is risking bankruptcy following the pandemic, so support them while you can if you’re interested!


7. Glass Or Metal Food Storage Containers Instead Of Plastic Ones

Price:

$18 for 8

Our Take:

This swap is not an immediate switch but as the plastic containers you’re probably using now wear down or lids don’t fit anymore transitioning to something more sustainable like stretchy silicone lids, or glass or metal containers is a great step. There are lots of places that you can purchase metal and glass storage containers and overall you will save money as these will last you much longer than the plastic ones you currently have. Also, don’t be afraid to use what you may already have in your cabinet. For example - pasta sauces come in glass containers. Once you’re done with the pasta sauce, clean it out and use it for a salad dressing or leftovers just because it’s not a typical container doesn’t mean you can’t be used for food storage.


Bonus Item: Clean Beauty Makeup Brush Set Instead Of A Regular Brush Set

Price:

$17 at Ulta or $21 at Target

Our Take:

Clean beauty is an up and coming movement asking for vegan, cruelty-free make-up and skincare products. Typically this refers to the products you put on your face and body, but the tools you use to put these products on your face and body are equally as important. EcoTools’ products are Peta-Vegan Approved and cruelty-free certified. The packaging presented for this product on their website is plastic-free and can be planted in your garden, soon to bloom into a wildflower.

1. Blueland Clean Essential Kit Instead Of Lysol Or Clorox Wipes

Price:

$39

Our Take:

Blueland cleaning products are a great easy sustainable swap. They have a multi-surface, glass, and a bathroom cleaner. You can buy a starter kit that comes with reusable bottles and little soap tablets that dissolve in water to create the cleaning solution. The best part is that all of their packaging is recyclable and compostable. They use non-toxic ingredients in their formulas and offer refills when you run out of tablets. Also, a handful of their products are Cradle to Cradle certified.


2. Dropps Dishwasher Pods Instead Of Traditional Dishwasher Pods

Price:

$25

Our Take:

Dishwasher pods have definitely made cleaning dishes 10 times easier. But most of the major brands come in huge plastic containers and don’t always contain the best ingredients. But Dropps is here to change the standard. They make natural, safe dishwashing pods with no added dyes that come in different senses and come in all-recyclable and compostable packaging. You can get them delivered right to your door with their free 100% carbon neutral shipping. You can also sign up for a subscription to have them automatically delivered to your house. They’re also cruelty-free.


3. Silicone Storage Bags Instead Of Zip-Loc Bags

Price:

$12

Our Take:

Take a second and think back to elementary school. You go to the cafeteria, unzip your lunchbox and what do you most likely see? A minimum of 2 to 3 Ziploc bags. Think of how many Ziploc bags get used per year for just kids’ lunches alone. Most people keep a stash of a variety of sizes of Ziploc bags in their homes at all times, from freezer bags for meats to sandwich bags to snack bags. But there are definitely lots of options for reusable storage bags out there. They can be a little pricey but the quality is amazing and they last for a very long time. Thus, this temperature-resistant, $20 silicone bag may seem like a lot of money upfront but in the long run, it will save you money.


4. Cloth Napkins Instead Of Paper Napkins

Price:

$17

Our Take:

Paper napkins are a staple in so many dinners, but why is that the case? Why not just use cloth napkins every single meal? They’re easy to wash and can be reused countless times. Just throw it in the wash when you want to clean it and boom, you have yourself a brand new napkin. They are also pretty easy to find at thrift stores or even antique stores. So skip the single-use napkins that too often end up in the landfill and stock up on reusable cloth ones instead. Supporting small sellers through websites like Etsy is a great way to invest your money back in the community and make sure you receive quality items.


5. Kitchen Towels Instead Of Paper Towels

Price:

$6 for 2

Our Take:

Most people have a roll of paper towels somewhere in their kitchen. But most households had dish towels most of the time hanging on their stove but no one ever really used them, why was that the case? Putting these dish towels to use is a great way to take advantage of a sustainable swap you may already have lying around. Well, many people might say: Well, isn’t washing them and doing more laundry wasting more water? The surprising answer is that it actually uses a lot more water to create one roll of paper towels than to do one load of laundry with multiple dish towels in it. Public Goods is a Fair Trade certified company that uses eco-friendly materials to make its products like this kitchen towel set. Now, if you are a die-hard paper towel fan, try Public Good’s Tree-Free Paper Towels instead of their GOTS-certified, 100% organic cotton kitchen towels. You won’t regret it. Plus, with the holidays coming up, both make great housewarming gifts for friends or family members.


6. Silicone Baking Mats Instead Of Aluminum Foil

Price:

$27

Our Take:

Even though aluminum foil is recyclable as long as it is not completely food-soiled and you have a minimum of a 4-inch ball it’s still producing waste. So a great swap is silicone baking sheets. These can be used time and time again for baking or cooking dishes in the oven. They are very easy to clean. Just put them under some water and then wipe them down with a dishcloth until dry. This is one of the easier swaps and it’s another great gift you can give to your baking friend. Silpat, the product’s maker, is very transparent about the manufacturing of the mat. Additionally, Sur la table is risking bankruptcy following the pandemic, so support them while you can if you’re interested!


7. Glass Or Metal Food Storage Containers Instead Of Plastic Ones

Price:

$18 for 8

Our Take:

This swap is not an immediate switch but as the plastic containers you’re probably using now wear down or lids don’t fit anymore transitioning to something more sustainable like stretchy silicone lids, or glass or metal containers is a great step. There are lots of places that you can purchase metal and glass storage containers and overall you will save money as these will last you much longer than the plastic ones you currently have. Also, don’t be afraid to use what you may already have in your cabinet. For example - pasta sauces come in glass containers. Once you’re done with the pasta sauce, clean it out and use it for a salad dressing or leftovers just because it’s not a typical container doesn’t mean you can’t be used for food storage.


Bonus Item: Clean Beauty Makeup Brush Set Instead Of A Regular Brush Set

Price:

$17 at Ulta or $21 at Target

Our Take:

Clean beauty is an up and coming movement asking for vegan, cruelty-free make-up and skincare products. Typically this refers to the products you put on your face and body, but the tools you use to put these products on your face and body are equally as important. EcoTools’ products are Peta-Vegan Approved and cruelty-free certified. The packaging presented for this product on their website is plastic-free and can be planted in your garden, soon to bloom into a wildflower.




written by:  Mary Olmsted

editor's note:

I thought you would enjoy my latest take on the below. Enjoy!

This post may contain affiliate links. Brightly will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on these links.

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