Making your home more sustainable starts with making choices about what you bring into it. The kitchen practically has a revolving door as far as items in and out are concerned, so ensuring that you’re choosing sustainable kitchenware, gadgets, and ingredients is essential. Here are some simple swaps for sustainable kitchenware and tools that help make your home more sustainable.
Bamboo is top of the heap when it comes to sustainable kitchenware. As a crop its very sustainable—it grows quickly and doesn’t require replanting or fertilizer. It grows everywhere, thriving in harsh conditions, and creates more oxygen than equivalently sized plants. It’s a wonder, so it’s no wonder that just about every kitchen item can be made from it. Everything needed to set the table can be made from bamboo, but you can also find bamboo cooking utensils made from the wonder crop. Say goodbye to melt-prone and oil-made plastic utensils and say hello to bamboo.
Ditch the Teflon-coated cookware in your cabinet and focus on stainless steel options. Stainless steel is absolutely recyclable if it remains uncoated and it doesn’t cause harm to those who produce or use it. If you treat stainless steel cookware and utensils well, you can enjoy a lifetime of use and then some—younger family members may want to snap them up when you’re done with them.
Plastics get a bad rap for a lot of reasons—they’re not safe to use in the microwave, they hold onto stains and smells, and they’re made of oils. But storage is a kitchen essential—especially if you’re a meal prepper. Instead of using plastic storage containers and baggies in your kitchen, trade them for glass containers, metal containers, or washable and reusable baggies made from sustainable fibers, like bamboo. If you find that you must use plastics in the kitchen, look for options made from recycled materials or scour the shelves of your local second-hand store for "new-to-you" options.
Disposable packaging and paper goods are the scourge of anyone trying to make their home more sustainable. Sustainable kitchenware isn’t just about avoiding plastics—it’s also about reducing consumption of paper products. Sure, you may not use paper plates, but what about paper napkins—or, more likely, paper towels? How about pre-moistened bleach wipes or mopping pads? If it’s disposable, it should go. Instead, invest in some sturdy kitchen towels. You can reuse them, use them in a load of ways (wiping up spills, grabbing something hot out of the oven, as a trivet), and even change the look and feel of your kitchen or decorate for the holidays. Double down on your sustainability and invest in bamboo towels instead of cotton.
Once your kitchen is set up for sustainability success, you can continue making your home more sustainable by shopping for seasonal produce and practicing menu planning to ensure you use every piece of your shopping list. You can also take your mealtime sustainability out on the town with you—try packing a metal straw from now on.