10 Simple Steps To A Plastic-Free Kitchen
Reduce the amount of plastic you use every day in your kitchen with these 10 simple steps to a plastic-free kitchen. From food packaging to kitchen accessories, we’ve found the best kitchen products to make your kitchen more eco-friendly and plastic-free.
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Take a look in your pantry, fridge and cabinets and you’ll probably find a surprising amount of plastic food storage, kitchen accessories and single-use plastic. The good news is that it’s easy to swap or phase out plastic items and replace them with more sustainable options. If you’re looking to make your kitchen more sustainable and eco-friendly, the plastic-free kitchen swaps below are a great starting point. As a reminder, kitchen appliances have plastic cords that can’t be avoided, so some of the items below may include a small amount of plastic.
It can take up to 1,000 years for plastic to degrade. The less plastic we use and throw away now, the less plastic will crowd our landfills and pollute our environment in the future.
No matter how conscientious we are at recycling, only 9% of the world’s plastic gets recycled (2). That’s a pretty depressing statistic. And 90% of the debris floating on the ocean’s surface is plastic. All those cute seals and dolphins and penguins can get entangled in or ingest the plastic that we throw away. Yes, that’s on us.
Of the 300 million tons of plastic produced every year, half of that is manufactured for single-use products like plastic water bottles, coffee cup lids, plastic straws and coffee pods. With a wide range of buying options, we can choose to be more conscientious consumers and reduce plastic waste.
Start with these 10 simple steps to cut down on plastic use in the kitchen and strive toward a plastic-free kitchen. It’s up to us to stop using and throwing away so much plastic.
Phase Out Plastic Kitchen Accessories
I’ve found that plastic kitchen accessories like plastic blenders, cutting boards and large plastic utensils (pasta scoops, slotted spoons, etc.) start looking ragged after a while. Instead of replacing well-used plastic kitchen accessories with more plastic, purchase products made of stainless steel, glass or bamboo.
Viking Stainless Steel Kitchen Utensil Set– High quality 18/8 stainless steel kitchen utensil set with 8 utensils for all of your kitchen needs. Features a hole at the end of each utensil for hanging.
Babish Stainless Steel Kitchen Tongs– Made of durable stainless steel with scalloped ends yo grip food securely. Locks closed with pull-tab for compact storage and features a loop on handle for convenient hanging storage.
Home Hero Silicone Kitchen Utensils– Featuring acacia wood handles and food grade silicone.
Adirondack Kitchen Cherry Wood Cutting Board– Made of solid cherry wood. All products are hand rubbed with an all-natural, homemade beeswax and coconut oil polish for protection and glow. Finish is non-toxic, 100% food safe, with zero VOCs.
Livefresh Stainless Steel 5 Qt Colander– 18/10, 304 stainless steel . 20% thicker than other colanders, with premium riveted handles that will never come off. Features a rapid draining ring base that won’t tip over.
Emeril Lagasse Power 360 Air Fryer Toaster Oven– Stainless-steel construction, PFAS-free. – a sleek, state-of-the art appliance to complement your kitchen and surrounding accessories, This All-in-One air fryer, rotisserie, and Dehydrator oven provides long.
Black + Decker Powercrush Blender– Features a 6-Cup PerfectPour™ Glass Jar with 4-Tip QuadPro Blade QuietCrush Technology, 900W Motor, 3 Speeds + Pulse, 3 Smart Settings.
Plastic-Free Cooking & Baking Utensils
Whether you’re stirring a pot of bubbling soup or flipping pancakes, if you’re using a plastic utensil, you risk heating up the plastic and enhancing any leaching of plasticizers into your food. There’s also a risk of leaching microplastics if you run plastic through the dishwasher or are scraping a bowl or pan.
Silicone Slotted Spatula– Silicone with stainless steel handle.
Silicone Spatula Set– Jamie Oliver heat resistant silicone spatulas with acacia wood handles- detachable heads for easy washing.
Beech Wood Mixing Spoons– BIBC unfinished beech wood. The pack includes small 8 inch, medium 10 inch, large 12 inch, and extra-large 14 inch cooking spoons.
Stainless Steel Mixing Spoon– Ultra-durable, strong 18/10 stainless steel.
Silicone Mixing Spoon– BPA-free silicone is scratch-resistant, stain-resistant, and food-safe for the best possible kitchen tool. Stainless Steel Handle. The soft-touch silicone will not scratch pans, making it a gentle and safe choice for nonstick and cast iron cookware. 12.25 x 2.25 x 0.75 inch; dishwasher safe. Head is heat-resistant up to 600°F.
Small Stainless Steel Spatula– Made of durable 18/8 stainless steel.
Stainless Steel Measuring Cups & Spoons Set– Gordo Boss 18/8 heavy duty stainless steel.
Pyrex Glass Measuring Cups– Durable high-quality tempered glass.
Stainless Steel Whisk Set– Durable stainless steel.
Clean Dishes With Less Plastic
Conventional sponges are made with oil-based plastic. Replace sponges with bamboo handle scrubbers or natural fiber sponges. I ditched my sponge years ago, and I’ve never looked back. I keep a cup of baking soda by the sink and use a few sprinkles to dislodge any food particles left on dirty plates and bowls. For seriously stuck-on bits, I soak pans in water and use a bamboo pot scrubber to scrape away stubborn food.
Most dish soap comes in a plastic container, and yes, it’s recyclable. But if you really want to go plastic free, swap it out for a block of dish soap (like No Tox vegan dish soap). If you just can’t part with liquid dish soap, Attitude sells liquid dish soap in bulk. Fill up a glass oil dispenser bottle with liquid dish soap and refill from the bulk jug as needed.
No Tox Life Vegan Dish Washing Block– New updated formula with bigger, fluffier bubbles and stronger grease cutting in all water types. The DISH BLOCK® concentrated dishwashing soap is a cleaning powerhouse with a rich, sudsy lather. Cuts stubborn grime and grease on dishes, pots and pans. With added aloe vera to be gentle on your hands. Free of dyes and fragrance.
Zen Living Plastic Free Sponges– 100% biodegradable natural coconut fiber and wood cellulose sponges.
Organic Bamboo Pot Scrapers– clean and remove stuck-on food, sticky gunk, hardened scrambled eggs, grease and tough grime, goo, and more.
Wish Bamboo Handle & Coconut Bristle Scrubbers– Replace your plastic-based sponge with a bamboo scrubber with coconut bristles.
Tablecraft Dish Soap & Oil Dispenser– Refill this glass dish soap dispenser with bulk dish soap and use it again and again.
Attitude Bulk Dish Soap– Attitude Bulk dish soap features a container that uses 68% less plastic and includes 5 times more product than its bottle counterpart, which means less packaging waste. The effective non-toxic grease-cutting formula helps remove stubborn food residue from dishes, pots & pans. This plant-based formula is in compliance with EWG’s ingredient evaluations for healthy cleaning. ECOLOGO Certified for its reduced impact on the environment and it’s biodegradable.
Plastic Free Glasses & Mugs
When it comes to plastic waste, single use water bottles and plastic straws are a huge problem. Instead of buying a six pack of bottled water, use a stainless steel water bottle and refill it again and again. If you use plastic straws, swap them out for stainless steel straws that you can wash and reuse forever. Dishes and drinkware products for kids are commonly made of plastic, so look for plastic-free dishes for kids.
Single use coffee cups come with a plastic lid that adds to landfill waste and creates debris in our oceans. Bring a reusable coffee travel mug to your local coffee shop. As long as it’s clean, most coffee shops welcome this eco-friendly practice. If you’re a tea drinker, choose a brand of tea that uses plastic-free teabags.
Wide Mouth Glass Juice Bottles– Leakproof and airtight stainless steel lids. Easy pouring and storing for healthy, homemade beverages.
Ceramic Coffee Mug– Designed with strong ceramic construction, made of lead-free, cadmium-free, high quality ceramic. Suitable for hot and cold drinks. Dishwasher and microwave safe.
Duralex Glass Tumblers– Impact & chip resistant, extremely durable Duralex tempered glass is 2.5 times stronger than ordinary glass. Lead free, cadmium free, and BPA free.
Hydroflask Water Bottle– Made with 18/8 pro-grade stainless steel to ensure durability, pure taste and no flavor transfer.
Duralex Water Glasses– Impact & chip resistant, extremely durable Duralex tempered glass is 2.5 times stronger than ordinary glass. Lead free, cadmium free, and BPA free.
Hydroflask Coffee Mug– 18/8 stainless steel leakproof travel coffee mug.
Joco Reusable Glass Cup– Borosilicate glass and food grade silicone to-go mug.
Plastic Free Coffee & Tea
Coffee pods (like K-Cup and Nespresso) may be convenient, but they’re creating piles of plastic waste in our landfills. The small size of the capsules causes them to slip through the sorting systems at some recycling centers. Instead of using a Nespresso or Keurig maker, make your coffee with a glass Bodum pour over coffee system or a stainless steel espresso maker.
Do you drink tea? Teabags from some brands of tea contain microplastic. One option is to purchase loose leaf tea and use a fine mesh strainer. If you still like the convenience of teabags, purchase tea brands that use plastic-free teabags.
Breville the Barista Express Espresso Machine– The Breville Barista Express delivers third wave specialty coffee at home with integrated grinder to go from beans to espresso in under one minute.
Stainless Steel Coffee Kone– Reusable stainless steel coffee filter for Chemex.
Reusable Stainless Steel Coffee Filter– 18/8 stainless steel coffee filter that fits Black + Decker and Mr. Coffee, or select a model for Cuisinart Ninja.
Chemex Pour-Over Glass Coffee Maker– Made of high quality, non-porous Borosilicate glass. The patented CHEMEX pour-over design allows coffee to be covered and refrigerated for reheating without losing flavor.
House Again Extra Fine Mesh Tea Ball Infuser & Cooking Infuser– 18/8 stainless steel with extra fine mesh holes.
Cosori Electric Glass Kettle– 304 stainless steel and borosilicate glass with automatic shut off.
Frieling Stainless Steel French Press Coffee Maker– This Double-Walled Stainless-Steel French Press Coffee Maker has won countless awards.
Hiware Glass Teapot With Removable Infuser– Borosilicate glass teapot with high quality 18/10 stainless steel mesh infuser.
Plastic Free Food Storage
When it comes to purchasing food, look for items that come in a glass jar as opposed to plastic containers. Some brands of natural peanut butter come in glass jars, as does cooking oil, vinegar, condiments like ketchup and mustard, and spice jars.
Frozen meals often come in plastic containers. Instead of reaching for pre-cooked frozen meals at the grocery store, cook at home and double your recipes. Store the extra food in airtight glass containers with lids. Freeze the leftovers and say goodbye to single-use plastic containers. Luckily there are many high quality plastic-free food storage containers on the market.
Pyrex 10-Piece Glass Food Storage Set– 100% plastic-free food storage! Both the containers and the lids are made of durable glass, which allow you to easily view the contents and to be assured that your food will not come into contact with harmful chemicals. Silicone rims ensure an airtight, leak-proof seal and are oven, microwave, freezer and dishwasher safe.
Caraway Ceramic Food Storage Set– This 14-Piece set features glass containers with a non-toxic ceramic coating and tight sealed glass and silicone lids. This Food Storage Set’s coating does not include potentially toxic materials like PFOA, PTFE, other PFAs, BPA, BPS, lead, cadmium, or toxic metals.
Haakaa Glass Baby Food Jars– These baby food storage jars are made with borosilicate glass with clearly marked measurements on the side of each jar.
Frego Glass & Silicone Food Containers– Made from borosilicate glass with food-grade silicone lids and sleeves. All components are safe in a dishwasher, and will not release toxic chemicals or deteriorate with time. SoftSnap™ dual lock lid seals tight, keeps food fresh and prevents spills and leaks.
Replace Plastic Food Storage With Plastic-Free Options
Plastic wrap and plastic baggies are just so handy…but they’re made with potential endocrine disruptors. Although phthalates were phased out of plastic wrap in 2006, low-density polyethylene (LDPE) or polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) are now used.
LDPE may contain diethylhexyl adipate (DEHA), a potential endocrine disruptor and carcinogen. Another reason to make the swap? All that plastic builds up in landfills, adding to our long-term waste problem.
Sending my kids to school without a ton of single-use plastic in their lunch is something I’ve gotten better about, and there are so many stainless steel snack and lunch container options that work great on-the-go!
Beeswrap Clover Wax Food Wrap– Beeswax is what gives these sheets of organic cotton material its sticking power. The warmth of your hands helps you mold the wrap around food, bowls or plates. Washable and reusable over and over again.
Ukonserve Stainless Steel Lunch Containers– Made of 304 (18/8) stainless steel. The lids are plastic-free, durable, flexible, platinum-grade silicone.
Reusable Silicone Bowl Lids– These food-safe silicone lids create a tight seal on bowls and are both microwave and dishwasher safe.
Stasher– Made with incredibly durable, food-grade platinum silicone.
Spaza Cotton Dish Covers– Breathable cotton, no sweating of leafy greens and condensation.
Plastic-Free Mixing Bowls
The more you mix and scrape a plastic bowl, the more chances you have of releasing microplastics into your cookie dough or muffin batter. Use either glass or stainless steel mixing bowls instead of plastic bowls.
Nested Glass Mixing Bowls– The 100% hermetic silicone o-ring seal of our glass bowls with 100% BPA-free lids prevents unpleasant odors. This nesting bowls with lids set fits perfect for food storage too. Made of borosilicate glass, which is up to 5 times stronger than ordinary glass. Microwave, oven, freezer, and dishwasher safe.
Cuisinart Nested Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls– 1.5 qt., 3 qt. and 5 qt high quality study stainless steel mixing bowls.
Nested Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls With Non-Slip Silicone Bottoms– Wildone mixing bowls set contains 5 piece Stainless Steel Mixing Bowls (5, 3, 2, 1.5, 0.63QT), which allows users to measure, mix, pour, and serve food all in one kitchen tool! They come with BPA free lids, 3 grater attachments, silicone non-slip bottoms and measurement marks.
Plastic-Free & Eco-Friendly Kitchen Storage
As more plastic products fill our environment, we not only have to contend with plastic waste filling up our landfills and taking 1,000 years to degrade, but tiny plastic particles, called microplastics, are migrating all over the world, mixing in with dust and sand and traveling through ocean water. Microplastics can be found in marine animals, table salt and our drinking water, among other things. In fact, humans consume about 5 grams, the size of a credit card, of microplastics every week.
There are tons of plastic organizers and plastic storage bins on the market. Every time you need a new storage bin or organizer for your pantry or kitchen, purchase a plastic-free option. Beyond the kitchen, swap out plastic storage bins for plastic-free organizers in the rest of your home.
Start A Garden
We’ve been able to cut way back on plastic use in the summer by starting a garden. Even if you don’t have much space, you can grow herbs in containers and pick a small amount whenever you need some for a recipe. Think of how many plastic clamshells of herbs you won’t need to bring home from the grocery store. If gardening is out of the question, bring a basket to the farmer’s market and fill up your basket instead of using grocery store produce plastic bags.
The more you put in the garbage, the more plastic bags you use. Put less in the garbage can and compost your food scraps. Learn more about what you can compost here. Set a small compost bin on your counter and you’ll be surprised at how much less waste goes in your garbage bin.
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