Zero Waste, Reusable Kitchen Products To Save Money & The Planet

Swap out wasteful disposables for durable, reusable kitchen products that are budget-friendly, zero waste and much nicer to use.

Reusable Products for the Kitchen

Picture a typical kitchen that’s set up to deal with all the food and all the mess that comes along with a crazy, busy life. There’s a drawer full of plastic wrap and baggies, a cupboard bursting with plastic containers, a pile of disposable sponges, and a roll or two of paper towels ready for action.

Not long ago, this was my kitchen. Maybe it’s yours too.

Over the years I’ve converted most of my kitchen supplies from disposable to reusable products – and I like it much better that way. Here’s why:

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Why Switch to Reusable Products?

There are 4 simple reasons I switched to reusable products in my kitchen.

  1. Better for the planet – Think of all the waste your kitchen produces. Then multiply that by all.the.kitchens! It’s kind of mind boggling to think about all that plastic and all that garbage. I truly believe that reducing our personal waste makes a difference.
  2. Saves money in the long run – Sure, you’ll spend a bit for a high quality, reusable product, but it will last for years and eliminate the recurring expense of disposables.
  3. Safer materials – Most disposable products are made from plastic, which can leach toxic chemicals into your food. Ummm, yuck! Glass, stainless steel and cotton are much safer materials for most kitchen items.
  4. Much nicer to use – Let’s face it – high quality products are much more enjoyable to use than cheap disposables. Brightly colored bowl covers put a smile on my face in a way that plastic wrap could never do!

Do we still keep some plastic wrap for times of need? Yes, let’s be real! Do we still have a roll of paper towels to use for the messiest of messes (bacon grease I’m talking about you!) – of course! We’re not perfect eco-heroes with a completely waste free kitchen – we’re just trying to do our best to be conscious consumers!



Favorite Reusable Kitchen Products 

Are you up for experimenting with some reusable kitchen items? Here’s my advice – don’t try to do it all at once! Pick one product category to swap at a time and see how it goes. I hope you’ll love these reusable kitchen products as much as I do!

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Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Paper Towels for:

Reusable paper towels – Also known as Unpaper towels, these have a fun print on one side and absorbent cotton terry cloth on the other. Snap them together in a roll or fold them up in a drawer (plastic snaps will not scratch surfaces).

Cotton paperless towels – Similar to those mentioned above but without snaps. Bleached or unbleached cotton available, with your choice of thread color. 

Flannel Unpaper towels – These 100% cotton flannel towels cling together naturally, making it easy to roll up on a paper towel roll without the need for snaps. Or store them in a basket. They come in either a variety pack of fun prints or solid colors. 

Flour sack towels – These classic kitchen towels are super absorbent towels and good for so many things around the kitchen including covering bowls, drying dishes or cleaning up spills.  

Cloth napkins – Once you start using cloth napkins, you’ll never want to go back to paper. You can buy them or sew your own cloth napkins using my simple tutorial if you want.

Rags – Make your own rags out of old t-shirts, dish towels or bath towels and keep them under the kitchen sink.

Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Plastic Wrap for:

Reusable bowl covers – Made with food-safe laminated cotton and stretchy elastic edges, these covers can be used to cover anything in a bowl! They are machine washable too.

Flannel bowl covers – Fabric bowl covers with a drawstring closure. Outer layer is 100% cotton flannel. Inner layer is a white BPA free, waterproof and wipeable PUL fabric. Set of 3 covers – you choose the fabrics. 

Silicone bowl lids – These food-safe silicone lids create a tight seal on bowls and are both microwave and dishwasher safe.

Stretchy silicone bowl covers – These stretchy bowl covers come in a variety of sizes and easily stretch over bowls, plates and even half a cantaloupe or watermelon!

Bee’s 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.

Food Huggers – Silicone food lids that hug directly around food to seal tightly. Glass and silicone bowl lids are also available. (Use code MINDFULMOMMA for 15% off your order)

Find lots of other zero waste alternatives to plastic wrap in this post.


RELATED POST: 4 Important Reasons to Buy Natural, Non-Toxic Products for Your Home 


Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Cheap Sponges for:

Reusable kitchen sponge – Also known as an Unsponge, these can be tossed in the wash when dirty. Made with printed cotton flannel, terry cloth and a filler that won’t mildew. Has a polyester mesh layer on one side for scrubbing. 

Cellulose dish cloths – An environmentally friendly alternative to sponges made from a mix of wood pulp and cotton. They are super durable, absorb up to 15 times their own weight, and last longer than an average cotton dishcloth.

Skoy scrubbers – These cotton-based scrubbing pads are pretty much indestructible. Skoy Scrubbers are made out of remnants from the toweling industry and come in fun colors to brighten up your dishwashing time.

Nylon pot scrubbers – Made out of nylon netting and woven into a cute flower shape, these scrubbers won’t scratch and can be safely washed in the laundry or dishwasher.

Wool scouring pads – 100% virgin, undyed wool that is hand knit and felted to create a safe and effective scrubber for stainless, cast iron, glass and more.

Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Plastic Bags for:

Reusable food storage bags – Made from food-safe ripstop nylon, these bags zip closed and are available in various convenient sizes. Insulated, freezer-friendly versions available as well.

Produce bags – Use these lightweight mesh bags for shopping as well as storing food at home.

Vejibag produce bag

Vejibag – Organic cotton bag that keeps produce vibrant for up to two weeks, without plastic.

Silicone storage bags – Self-sealing, air-tight bags made from safe silicone. It’s easy to see what’s in the bag + you can write on them with a dry erase marker.

reusable silicone bowl

Silicone multi-use bowl/bag – A multi-tasking pouch made of food-grade silicone that seals to keep food fresh and can even be made watertight. The bag can be frozen (I use mine for bananas for smoothies), you can put it in the microwave to heat food, and even used as a bowl to eat out of (perfect for camping!)  

Linen bread bags – Natural linen is anti-microbial and keeps crusty bread fresh much better than plastic.

Beeswax bread bag

Beeswax bag – This self-sealing cotton bag is waxed with natural beeswax and helps keep foods fresh.

Snack and sandwich bags – These washable cotton bags are popular for packed lunches but you can use them for storing food at home too. Here’s a whole post with my favorite reusable snack & sandwich bags.


RELATED POST: Zero Waste Bathroom Essentials


Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Single-use Straws for:

Stainless steel straws – These very durable straws are extra wide for thick smoothies. Set of 5 straws comes with a cleaning brush, which you need to have!

Glass straws – Glass straws are so nice to drink out of!  Set of 4 comes with a cleaning brush.

Colored glass straws – No confusion over whose straw is whose – everyone gets their own color!

Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Plastic Food Containers for: 

Glass storage containers – What I appreciate about glass is that it’s easy to see what’s inside. Make sure lids are airtight and everything is dishwasher, freezer and microwave safe. (more glass food storage ideas here)

Divided glass containers – These divided glass containers are perfect for meal prep and/or lunches. Freezable with lid and microwavable and oven safe without lid. 

Round stainless containers – These smaller containers are perfect for lunches and leftovers alike! Non-toxic plastic lids are leak-proof and everything is dishwasher safe.

Stainless steel containers – Stainless steel has the advantage of being light-weight. Look for containers that are airtight and leak-proof. Be sure to check out my post with my favorite reusable lunch containers too!

Glass jars – Reuse jars from pasta sauce, nuts or other food products.

Reusable Kitchen Products That Will Save Money & The Planet

SWAP – Disposable Coffee & Tea Filters for:

Organic cotton coffee filters – These unbleached cotton coffee filters are healthier than typical bleached paper filters – plus better for the environment.

Reusable muslin tea bags – Buy loose tea from the bulk bins and use these cotton muslin tea bags to brew your tea. 

On a mission to replace wasteful disposables with reusables? You’ll find lots more reusable products on the blog!

What are your favorite reusable kitchen products? Share in the comments so we all can learn from each other!

green & healthy wishes Micaela signature

 

Infographic Reusable Products for an Eco-Friendly Kitchen

45 Comments

  1. Love this post. I’m going to look into buying the sponges and unpaper towels to start with!

  2. I’m all about using glass containers, as well! I’ve never heard of bee’s wrap before, but it looks really interesting!

    1. Bee’s Wrap is really cool – you basically mold it around whatever you want to cover – a bowl or a piece of cheese or whatever you want. One important tip – hand wash in cool to warm water, but not hot water (or the beeswax will come off)!

  3. Thank you so much for putting this post together. I need many of these products. I have been meaning to make alot of these changes but was a bit lost. Your guidance is truly appreciated!

    1. So glad to be able to help Sandi! Keep me posted on how you like any of the products you try!

  4. This is great! Its so easy to forget about planet and use the products which we shouldn’t be using. Love the bee wraps 🙂

    1. True! What I love about these products is that they are eco-friendly AND really nice to use!

  5. Thank you for the ideas! I’m going to be “starting over” with my home soon and am definitely going to use some of your tips.
    Additionally, it was great “meeting you” or being in the same group last night at TCC! I wrote down your social media handle to remember to get in touch with you down the road when I’m a bit more up and running, as we have similar interests 🙂

    1. So glad you stopped by Lizzie! Let’s keep in touch for sure!

  6. I’ve been doing the same-gradually moving away from disposable products.

    How do you keep your Unpaper towels from getting stained? I was using FSTs and some random flat diapers that I wasn’t putting on my LOs bum, and they are all quite spotted and dingy, despite sunning.

    1. Good question Dawne! Ultimately I don’t think you can keep them from getting stained if you are using them for dirty jobs! Your best bet is to try a natural stain remover and wash with an oxy powder. Here’s a post where I tested some stain removers – I found that elbow grease was key! https://mindfulmomma.com/eco-stain-removers-put-to-the-test/ And eventually, if they are too dingy, give them one last really dirty job and toss ’em! 🙂

    1. You know I’ve never actually used a Skoy cloth. I need to try one out and add it to the list!

  7. I love Bee’s Wrap! It’s a great alternative to plastic wrap. I’ve even seen articles about making your own. Not so sure I’m up for that DIY project, but it’s a nice idea. Maybe if I had a beehive and a lot of extra beeswax to use up. 🙂

    1. Yes, I’ve seen those DIYs too. Looks fun but a bit too time consuming for me right now!

  8. I’ve heard tb3 beeswax reusable wrap can leave food with a waxy taste, do you find that to be true?

    1. Hmmm….that could be true on certain types of foods – but I’ve never noticed it myself. I tend to use Bee’s Wrap mostly to cover bowls to be honest but I’ve used it to wrap foods and never noticed a flavor.

  9. Frank Kraemer says:

    This is a fantastic list. Love the cotton coffee filters and the reusable paper towels. This is actually the first time I heard about the filters. So much better for the environment. Thank you for this great information.

  10. Another solution to coffee filters would be to switch to a french press – my roommate and I have an electric kettle so we have hot water whenever we need it and our french press makes delicious coffee in minutes without requiring a filter.

    1. That’s exactly what I use Meg! Knowing that a lot of people still use filters, I like to provide a more sustainable filter option – but you are right, a french press is a great way to eliminate waste.

    1. Good point – too much microfiber can be a problem. Cotton also has environmental impacts. That said, switching from disposable to reusable products is still a big win!

    2. I totally agree, microplastic is huge disease, specially because it’s tiny and they pollute when getting washed.

  11. Thank you so much for such information I will definitely be adding some of this things to my kitchen from now on!

  12. Since I am a cook, baker and environmentalist, I have been researching a number of options that apply to food handling and storage. I do not like beeswax fabric covers as those tend to ‘crack’ even though I followed care instructions to a T. I use a plate (salad, saucer or dinner and put it on top of a bowl before I put leftovers in the fridge. It’s not completely airtight but leftovers never last too long in my house. I also make use of Mason jars to store leftovers, freeze everything from veggies and fruits to sauces and pesto; you just have to leave room for expansion. Finally, I have used cloth napkins for years; I find really nice ones in thrift stores and if you think about it, anyone buying new cloth napkins and spending the money, will have taken fairly good care of it and often donate because they get tired of the color or the matching tablecloth is stained.

    1. Those are great solutions Sylvie – love that they are very affordable too! Thanks for sharing!

  13. Wow! Thank you for these ideas! I live the eco-friendly lifestyle and avoid using plastic. Reusable things save not only money and our planet but also our health. A lot of people really don’t know that plastic contains a lot of toxic chemicals.

  14. Thank you for the great content. I love it. One of my favorite eco-friendly reusables is the beeswax wraps and the reusable silicone storage bag, which I got from ecofriendlyreusables Their products are great quality and great value.

      1. chrisjordan says:

        I’ve heard that tb3 beeswax reusable wrap can impart a waxy flavour to meals; do you agree?

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