Great Sustainable Swaps For Your Kitchen
Going plastic free is a slow process and can sometimes feel a little overwhelming. When I started my journey to plastic freedom in order to live a more sustainable lifestyle I was actually shocked by how much plastic I had in my house. There are so many products that I was using that I hadn't even thought about for it's plastic content. One of them being cloths and sponges.
I remember writing a list of the plastic items and I had in each room and I started to research the best plastic free alternatives for the kitchen. I would try different products and there was a bit of trial and error, especially with the sponges as finding a plastic free sponge that is as good as a plastic sponge was a challenge. (Spoiler - I have found an amazing compostable sponge)
Since becoming more sustainable and using plastic free products, I have realised how much better quality a lot of these items are. Switching out plastic products to sustainable kitchen products has become a little addictive actually and it's what inspired me to start The Plastic Free Life.
I think it's important to note that I didn't make these changes overnight. The most sustainable product is the one you have and the one you don't throw away. It is pointless to throw away a perfectly good plastic product for a plastic free product. My advice is to use up what you have or if you're not getting on with it, see if you can find another use for it or see if you can donate it. Because the majority of plastic free kitchen items come from online I found the best solution to find what my next swap was going to be and to purchase it ready for when I ran out of the other product, that way I was ready to switch and to not be tempted by convenience to re-buy a plastic substitute.
I am happy to say that my kitchen is nearly completely plastic free which is a great feeling, I am so happy that I have reduced my waste in this room. Here are 10 of my favourite plastic free alternatives for the kitchen:
1. Compostable Sponges
These compostable sponges from EcoVibe are the best plastic free sponges I have ever used. They are the closest product I have found that works as good as a plastic sponge. The fact they are actually compostable sponges really impressed me because they hold a lot of water and do a great job or washing the dishes, cleaning up spillages etc. These are a bestseller and something I always recommend.
Tip: Boil your sponges and scourers in between use to kill bacteria and they will last so much longer
2. Compost Bin
If you have a garden, even a small one a compost bin is a great asset to your kitchen. Composting is a great way to reduce your overall waste going to landfill whilst also giving something back to your plants which can save you money on fertiliser in the long run. Home composting can take much longer to get some decent fertiliser but it's definitely worth having.
3. Marseille Soap
You may have seen my blog post a while back on 6 amazing uses for Marseille soap. This is one of my favourite plastic free alternatives for the kitchen. I think I was quite late discovering this as it's been around for over 600 years. This natural bar has so many uses, not just in the kitchen. It's a big bar which lasts ages and can be used to wash the dishes, make laundry detergent, clean sponges as well as other things. It's packaging free too which I love and is a perfect alternative to washing up liquid in a plastic bottle.
Tip: If you're not one for soap bars for the dishes you can grate this into water, boil and leave to cool and make your own liquid washing soap.
4. Laundry detergent & Fabric Conditioner refill
I have really sensitive skin so I have to be careful what I use to wash my clothes with. I used to avoid fabric conditioner altogether as I didn't want to buy the plastic bottles but since finding a natural conditioner at my local refill store I have started to use it again. Finding a great place that is local to you and offers refills for products that usually only come in plastic bottles is a great way to reduce plastic in the kitchen. From a cost perspective too there isn't much of a difference.
5. Plant Based Cleaner Pods
Is anyone else guilty of hoarding cleaners in the kitchen cupboard. I used to have so many plastic bottles of cleaners, I used to think the stronger the smell the better the cleaner. When I came across Ocean Saver pods I thought I had hit the jackpot. To find a plant based cleaning product which helps reduce carbon footprint and plastic waste is a great plastic free cleaning product. These cleaners are neat liquid which you mix yourself with water, so essentially you are not paying for water and they aren't moving water in a truck across the country. Ocean saver save on their carbon footprint by the fact they can carry so much more product in one truck in comparison to pre filled cleaners.
6. Packaging Free Food
One if the biggest issues with plastic in the kitchen is food. We are surrounded by plastic packaging, most if which cannot be recycled and will end up in landfill. It can be difficult to go completely plastic free when it comes to food and it often costs more money. It's frustrating to see that in some places, they charge more for loose veg than packaged veg but I have seen recently some larger supermarkets making this change and charging the same price for loose veg. A small change is better than no change and one person can make a difference, even making a few plastic free swaps when it comes to food will still make a difference. I have found that fruit and veg is an easy plastic free swap as these are easily accessible. Try visiting your local food market too as the prices can be lower and I have found them to be more flexible with what they can give you packaging free. (Not to mention the impact of shopping small and supporting local) I have also found buying herbs and spices from a packaging free shop is coat effective as they are actually cheaper.
Tip: save any old glass jars and take to your local refill shop. I use my old Georganics toothpaste jars for my herbs and spices.
7. Compostable bin liners
This is one swap that I find most questionable. I talked about the effectiveness of compostable bin liners on my Instagram a few weeks ago. Yes these are completely plastic free and will not avoid your waste going to landfill. The main question is do they actually break down in landfill? Unfortunately because of the environment of landfill, they are unlikely to completely breakdown. Does this make them pointless then? The reason I decide to use these and stock these on my website is simply because they aren't plastic. Many plastic bin liners are made from virgin plastic which has its own impact on our planet. There is also the possibility that these plastic bags release micro-plastics into the earth and potentially into our oceans. Although the compostable bags will not completely breakdown I feel better knowing it will never pollute the earth with micro-plastics so for this reason I still think they are a better alternative.
8. Herb Plants
This has been one of my trickiest sustainable swaps in the kitchen if I'm honest. Trying to grow your own herbs and keep them alive can be difficult but very rewarding once you get going. I have managed to plant rosemary and mint in my front garden and have a basil plant and a chilli plant in my kitchen. It saves me buying these in plastic from the supermarket so I save a little waste. I would love to grow my herb collection more and become completely reliant on fresh, packaging free herbs.
9. Brush with Plant Based Bristles
Who knew brushes with plant based bristles were a thing! The plastic scrubbing brush it again one of those items that you don't realise create an issue. The plastic brushes can release micro-plastics into our water stream and will take hundreds of years to breakdown in landfill. Switching to a plastic free dish brush with plant based bristles is such an easy but affective swap. What I love about the Eco Living plastic free dish brush is that you only need to replace the head rather than the whole product. It makes so much more sense to just replace the part that is worn down. It also means you can easily boil just the brush head to kill any bacteria and pro long the use of your brush. Once finished you can pop the brush head in the ground and it will naturally break down. Plus these look so much nicer than the plastic ones.
10. Reusable Baking Liner
This is my latest plastic free swap for the kitchen. It was recommended to me when making my own croissants. It made folding the pastry so much easier and was great for measuring the pastry. This Eco Living reusable baking liner is a fantastic plastic free alternative to Disposable products like greaseproof paper or foil. It is dishwasher safe and can withstand temperatures up to 240°c. By switching to a reusable product like this baking liner you can save yourself money in the long run by no longer needing to purchase foil or greaseproof paper. The baking liner is suitable for baking or cooking anything in the oven and can even come in handy as a chopping board grip.
These 10 amazing plastic free alternatives in the kitchen are perfect for anyone who is trying to be more sustainable at home. One person really can make a difference and it's making small changes like these which will have a huge impact. What I have noticed since making these plastic free swaps is how much I prefer the plastic free alternatives, I find they look nicer and are better quality. I would love to know any other kitchen swaps you recommend in the comments below.
All the best