Did you know it can take plastic 1,000 years to decompose?

The ocean is where a lot of discarded grocery bags, soft drink bottles and six-pack rings end up. Plastic in warm ocean water can degrade in as little as a year. This doesn’t sound so bad until you realize that plastic does not actually decompose, biodegrade or compost, rather it just breaks down into smaller and smaller plastic pieces.

Plastic is quickly becoming one of our biggest environmental issues and is not slowing down.

What can we do to help our planet?

Illustration by Sarah Lazarovic

I put together a list of eco friendly & reusable products to show you how easy it can be to replace wasteful disposables for durable kitchen products that are also budget friendly.

What's good for our health (and our wallet) can also be good for our planet!

Over the years, I’ve converted most of my kitchen supplies from disposable to reusable. Changing everything at once would be overwhelming, and for some items it would also be expensive.

Start with the changes which come most easily to you – and the rest will gradually follow! You might choose to start with the single use product you use the most or the one that costs you the most. It’s all up to you. Are you up for experimenting with some reusable kitchen items? 

Why switch to reusable products?

There are so many reasons to switch to reusable products:

  • It’s one of the best ways to reduce waste and lower your environmental impact.
  • It can save you a lot of money in the long run.
  • Plastic made disposable products could leach toxic chemicals into your food.

Don’t get me wrong, I still have a roll of paper towels to use on messy occasions and some plastic wrap in a drawer! I made this list because I am concerned about my environmental impact. My kitchen is not a completely waste free kitchen, but I’m trying my best to learn and improve – live by exemple for my daughter. 

This post contains affiliate links. I may receive commissions from purchases made through links in this article at no additional cost to you. All recommendations are based on my personal use or research on the best replacement options. All links are through Amazon or Etsy. Full Disclosure

Favorite reusable kitchen products

Swap plastic bags & Ziploc bags for:

Reusable shopping bags – It’s easy to keep a couple in your purse, office desk drawer and car so you are never without them. They are lightweight, high quality and compact. This set of 4 comes with with a draw string and attached carabiner that easily hook onto your backpack, keychain, or belt loop. The best part is that those bags are washable, which means no worrying about getting it dirty over time. 

Reusable food storage bags – Made from lightweight nylon mesh, these bags are a no-waste alternative to plastic when buying food from bulk-bins and produce markets. They are washable, durable and will fold up small in a bag or pocket.

Produce bags – These lightweight bags also work great for laundry delicates, beach trips, gym clothes, school lunches, toys, and virtually any form of household organizing you can imagine.

Biodegradable reusable storage bags – Made of food-grade & eco-friendly PEVA material, PVC-free, lead-free, chloride-free and FDA-free, a biodegradable and recyclable material that is not harmful to the environment when disposed of or burned. They are freezer safe and hand washable.

Flax bread bags – Flax is anti-microbial and keeps crusty bread fresh for about two days. Multifunctional, they can be used as gift bags, lunch bags and they are meant for the storage of different bakery products.

Swap paper towels for:

Reusable paper towels – Every bamboo paper towel is washable and reusable. Extremely strong, absorbent and naturally anti-bacterial, they are also unscented and soft which make them great to use on any surface (steel, granite, plastic, wood, ceramic).

Unpaper Towels – This reusable paper towel roll is an awesome alternative for disposable paper towels. These cloths can be used as napkins as well. They have a fun print on one side and absorbent cotton cloth on the other. Snap them together in a roll or fold them up in a drawer.

Bamboo Kitchen Dish Cloths – Bamboo cloths absorb better than cotton! Try this set of 100% bamboo towels that are organic, durable and fast-drying.

Nanolon fiber kitchen towels – These super absorbent towels capture liquid, dust, dirt and grime like a magnet. You can use it to clean and dry any surface without paper towels or toxic chemicals.

Cloth napkins – Way more elegant, you’ll never want to go back to paper!

Swap sponges for:

Silicone Sponge – Food grade silicone is the best material for a sponge, as no water is directly absorbed, no dirty water can sit and begin to smell and grow mildew. This sponge can be used for washing dishes, fruit, vegetable, car, bath and so on. It can also be used as a pot holder due to its heat resistant feature. This other silicone sponge is a great alternative too. 

Sponge Cloth – Natural, biodegradable, vegan, & NON-GMO, this sponge cloth absorbs 20 times its own weight in water and is machine washable up to 300 times !

Loufa Scouring Pad – 100% loufa veggie, plant-Based fibers, breathable, sustainable & organic. Dry fast- antibacterial, yet effective and durable. Clean it and toss it into your DIY compost pile when it’s worn out.

Silicone Cleaning Gloves – The dishwashing gloves are made of food grade silicone, soft and resistant to high temperatures. Safe and non-toxic, they are ideal for kitchen use.

Swap plastic wrap for:

Bee’s Wrap – Made of organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Beeswax is what gives these sheets its sticking power. Use the warmth of your hands to mold the wrap around food, bowls or containers. Wash in cool water with mild soap and air dry and reuse over and over again.

Silicone Suction LidsThis set of silicone suction lids fits various sizes of cups, bowls, pans and containers! Suitable for use on all smooth surfaces, creating an airtight, watertight, and spill proof seal for reheating and storing.

Silicone bowl lids – These silicone stretch lids make an airtight seal that will keep your food fresh and tasty. Made from flexible silicone they are easy to store in drawers or cabinets. Dishwasher safe, they are easy to clean as well and are available in multiple sizes and shapes.

Swap single use straws for:

Stainless steel straws – These very durable straws come in a set of 4. Two medium curved ones for your coffee, drinks, juices, of soft drinks, and two wider ones for your smoothies.

Silicone Straws – This set comes with 6 bent and 6 straight silicone straws. The two cleaning brushes are long enough to clean the whole straw! A great option because you can cut the straw to fit a toddler drink!!

Glass straws – These shatter resistant glass straws are both durable and safe to drink from! This set of 6 comes with 2 cleaning brushes and is also dishwasher safe!

Swap plastic food containers for:

Glass containersFrego is an innovative line of sustainable glass food storage containers. The Dual lock lid seals tight, keeps food fresh and prevents spills and leaks. Frego is eco-friendly, chemical free, and non-toxic. Made up of two parts, 2 cup glass bowl nestled inside a cushioning food-grade silicone sleeve. Oven, Microwave and Dishwasher safe.

Glass Containers with snap locking Lids – These containers have a sliding vent for steam release. The perfect solution for preparing portioned meals, snacks, leftovers, and food storage.

Stainless steel containers – This lunch box is lightweight and compact, and can hold up to 6 cups of food! 

Glass jars – Le Parfait jars have a lid that stays attached. They can be refrigerated, put in the freezer, used for bulk goods in the pantry, and so much more!

You can also reuse jars from pasta sauce, nuts or other food products.

Other easy swaps / reusable items:

These bottles are double walled and vacuum insulated, which keeps your favorite beverage hot or cold for hours. There are so many color options, could you buy just one?!

Make your daily coffee or tea better with smart and friendly reusable cups! Some coffee shops even offer a discount when you use bring your own reusable cup.

There are many reusable cutlery options to choose from. This cute reusable cutlery travel set comes with eight unique pieces, most of them made with 100% bamboo. It includes: an activated charcoal toothbrush, a serrated blade knife, a sharp fork, a round spoon, a pair of handcrafted chopsticks, a bamboo straw, a travel pouch and a straw cleaning brush. Perfect for festivals, BBQ’s, picnics, camping, food markets, and more.

Made of FDA approved, 100% food grade silicone; Stain-proof, BPA free and stick-resistant, this silicone baking mat is easy to clean and store.

No more un-healthy store bought ice cream or popsicle sticks, easily make quick homemade popsicles from fresh fruit, veggie juice, yogurt or a smoothie mix. Also a great on the go snack container for popcorn, candy and other dry snacks, just fill the tube, push the lid on and pack!

Toddler friendly options are also available. The Zoku molds with under-the-sea creatures include a shark, clownfish, octopus, whale, puffer fish, and a Zoku scuba diver!

Make your tea time as fun as it should be with these five infusers!! They come in different colors and with different silicone handles which protect you from heating up and burning your fingers. You might want to consider extra fine mesh tea infusers to filter better and avoid residues in your cup!

This set of 8 refillable bottles is great for essential oils, lotions, organic beauty products and liquid soaps. 

Hemp is naturally mildew and bacteria resistant, making it the ideal choice as a reusable coffee filter. It is also very easy to clean and reuse. After each use, simply rinse it with hot water and hang it to be dried.

This compost bin has a convenient size (7″x7″x7″) and a cute design for everyday counter-top use. The lid flips up for easy filling and flips down to lock in odors. It’s easy to clean, and has a convenient handle for bringing it to wherever you need to drop off your compost when it’s full. 

In general, things that are ok to compost include: fruits, veggies, eggshells, coffee grounds, loose leaf tea, newspapers, and even fur from your dog or cat! That’s SO much stuff that you would normally throw away and can instead turn into compost.

Remember that every little step you take is a step in the right direction and that the most important thing is to pick items that you will actually use and reuse.

Also, don’t forget to share the journey with your friends and family.  They might begin using reusable & environmentally friendly products in their everyday lives, and that is how we change the world.

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

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