Swap out wasteful disposables for durable, reusable kitchen products that are budget-friendly, zero waste and much nicer to use.
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 – and I like it much better that way. Here’s why:
Why Switch to Reusable Products?
There are 4 simple reasons I switched to reusable products in my kitchen.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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-heros with a completely waste free kitchen – we’re just trying to do our best!
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!
I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article. Full Disclosure
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.
Rags – Make your own rags out of old t-shirts, dish towels or bath towels and keep them under the kitchen sink.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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!
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.
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.
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!