I was recently at a friend’s house and was blown away by how much plastic was being used in her kitchen. The experience got me thinking about all the Sustainable Kitchen Swaps I have made in my own kitchen and grocery shopping routine so I thought I would share them here!
I am going to give a wide range of ideas because I recognize that not everyone has access to the spatial or financial resources that some of these ideas may require but there are definitely small changes on this list that everyone can make! Keep in mind some of these changes may cost money upfront, but they will save you money in the long run by reducing your repeat purchases.
My suggestion is to start with one or two changes at first that seem attainable to you and once they have become part of your routine check back in with this blog post to see what other sustainable swaps you can make.
Show me which changes you implement by tagging @lettuce.thrive and using #lettucethrive on Instagram.
Sustainable Kitchen Swaps
- Stop using produce bags. You are going to be washing the produce before you eat it anyways so there is no need to stress about placing it in that cart or on the conveyor belt. If you are still nervous about it you can invest in affordable mesh/fabric produce bags.
- Bring your own bags to the grocery store. This one may be obvious, but I still see so many people using paper/plastic bags at the store. If you are like me and you constantly forget them, keep a stash in your car at all times. You can add re-filling your bag stash to your weekend chores list so it is always stocked.
- Invest in good tupperware. Weather it be glass or plastic a good set of lid locking tupperware will make you less likely to store food in plastic bags. It may even make you more likely to eat the food leading to reduced food waste.
- I recommend glass because they don’t stain as easily, but if you are using these to bring food to work than plastic may be a better option so you don’t have to worry about glass shattering. The ones I use are linked here, and they work great!
- Re-use old pickle jars or pasta sauce jars to store dried goods or homemade sauces and dressings. You can also upcycle ones found at a thrift store for under a dollar.
- Invest in reusable lunch bags! This can be an actual lunch bag and/or re-usuable sandwich/snack bags.
- Swap out paper towels for cloth napkins where ever you can.
- Invest in stainless steel or cast iron cookware. Non-stick pans, although sometimes convenient, don’t last very long and need to be replaced on a semi-regular basis. I have been using the same cast iron and stainless steel cook set for over 7 years and they are not going anywhere anytime soon.
- Buy a water filter/soda water machine if you live in an area where you cannot drink the tap water or you prefer sparkling water.
- Speaking of which, PLEASE god stop using plastic water bottles. I have linked my favorite tumbler here and water bottle here.
- Don’t buy individually portioned items. For example, instead of buying a pack of 12 individual goldfish packages buy one large carton and portion them out yourself in reusable bags.
- Shop for dried goods in the bulk section. Save plastic by taring your jars (in pounds). If you don’t have a scale whole foods, co-ops, sprouts, etc will tare them for you.
- Once tared, containers can be used at the olive bar, nut butter grinders, and dried good sections.
- If you eat meat, you can also bring your own glass container to butcher counter.
- You can even tare your lunchbox and do this at the salad bar for those of you bougie folks who can afford to eat at the wholefoods salad bar on the reg.
A Few Extra Tips to Help Save Energy in the Kitchen:
- Use a lid when bringing things to a boil. The less heat escaping the less energy used to bring the liquid to a boil.
- Try batch cooking! I know we usually think about this in terms of “meal prep” for health reasons, but it can actually help you use less energy. If you are already turning the oven on to roast vegetables, why not also use it to bake a sweet potato and lasagna at the same time. This means that you only have to preheat the oven once instead of three times. It will save you time and energy (pun intended). This is an especially great tip in the summer months when you want to keep your house cool.
- Don’t be afraid of the microwave. I know some people are nervous about radiation from the microwave but there is no evidence to substantiate those claims and microwaves use significantly less energy than ovens.
- Test the rubber seal on your fridge to make sure cold air isn’t escaping. You can do this by closing the door on a dollar bill and determining how easy it is to pull out. If it comes back easily you may need to get the seal on your fridge replaced or repaired.
** Note this post is not sponsored by Amazon, however I do make a commission off of purchases made using the links above.
You can also find all of the products mentioned above in my amazon shop here.
For more ways to keep your kitchen environmentally friendly check out this post on how to store your produce and reduce food waste.