We’re all doing our best to be environmentally conscious, but sometimes, we hit a bit of a wall. Learn all the essentials of a perfectly green kitchen right here!
There’s been an explosion of innovative sustainable kitchen products over the last few years, and we’ve been loving it.
Unfortunately, it’s impossible to try every eco-friendly kitchen product on the market (wallet and storage space-restricted)—but we did try a lot of them. We’ve made a shortlist of our favorites so you can find the perfect sustainable products for your green kitchen.
All of the Green Kitchen Goodness
We’ve put together a list of some of our favorite reusable products, eco-friendly appliances, sustainable practices, and little tips and tricks that help us do our part. We hope you find them just as helpful as we do and find ways to incorporate them into your kitchen, too.
What if we told you that 95% of non-stick pots and pans are made with harsh, toxic chemicals? Then what if we told you that after only two and a half minutes at high heat (500° Fahrenheit), the very same cookware begins leaching its chemicals into the food we’re cooking? And then, when you’re scrubbing off all of that food, you’re also scrubbing off chemicals from your pan - the same chemicals that were released into your home and the food that you just ate a few minutes ago.
Unfortunately, this is all true. Over 95% of non-stick pots and pans are made with a chemical called Polytetrafluoroethylene. While brands don’t like putting a scary word like this on their labels, you probably have seen the term, Teflon® printed on cookware.
According to Cancer.org, one of Teflon®’s main ingredients is a man-made chemical called Perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), or C8. This chemical is recognized as a “forever chemical,” meaning it stays in your body forever once ingested, no matter how small the amount. To make matters worse, they also never break down in the environment. No kitchen can be truly green without clean cookware. Ceramic is a 100% non-toxic mineral-based coating, free of harsh chemicals of any kind. Not only is it much safer, giving you peace of mind, but ceramic is also a naturally slick (non-stick) surface, so much so that you can cut down on the amount of oil and butter you use while cooking.
Take your green (and clean) kitchen game to the next level with ceramic-coated cookware. It’s not too late for some spring cleaning, and your green kitchen could use a new, clean, and healthy Cookware Set. Fry Pan, Sauté Pan, Sauce Pan, and Dutch Oven. Available in five subtle yet playful colors - Cream, Navy, Sage, Gray, and Perracotta - new cookware is also a great way to add a splash of color to every kitchen. In fact, you may want to throw out all of your current cookware and go ahead and get a fresh new collection. Out with the old and toxic, and in with the new, right?
Sauté Pans are so vital for your kitchen, we had to give them their own moment to shine. Whether you’re frying vegetables en masse for a dinner party or making a one-pan meal for a weekday treat, this versatile pan allows you to cook everything from casseroles and curries to braised meat and sauce reductions without spills or stressors. As part of our complete Cookware Set (which includes everything you need for a non-toxic kitchen plus cookware organizers at no extra cost), sauté pans have a wide base that allows you to cook multiple ingredients at once without crowding. Their ability to conduct heat helps food brown nicely and never become soggy. Because of its naturally slick ceramic surface, Sauté Pans are so easy to use (and even easier to clean)! Score.
Reusable Storage Bags
How many Ziploc bags do you imagine you’ve used in your lifetime? It’s probably a number in the thousands, and counting. Since there’s no possibility that we’ll stop loving leftovers any time soon, it’s time to find a more environmentally friendly way of storing food and other half-eaten grocery items.
The good news is that reusable bags have been quite the hit and there are now quite a few brands and variations to choose from. The trick is finding bags that work just as well as plastic ones, or else realistically, they won’t ever get used. (This is the trick for many eco-friendly products; unless it really is a good one, it will be tough to incorporate happily.).
So, when it comes to reusable storage bags, they need to be easy to clean, leak-proof, available in a few different sizes and shapes, and not made from a material that quickly develops odor or stains. From our research, we’ve found that silicone is the top contender when it comes to the material; it’s microwave-friendly, freezer-friendly, and dishwasher safe. Silicone can withstand high heat (in the dishwasher’s heat cycle and microwave) without losing its shape or falling apart, and it does a great job at not holding to odor from the things it holds.
Another factor to look for is finding bags that, ideally, come in a set with varying sizes and even shapes. This goes along with needing to find products that are actually enjoyable to use - even the slightest annoyance will make us want to go back to what we know works well (plastic). So, we need small-sized bags for snacks, medium sizes for cut fruit and vegetables, and large sizes for things like sandwiches. Check out this set of six various silicone reusable bags on Amazon as a good option.
Glass containers are essential for every green kitchen. They’re practically a prerequisite.
Glass containers are great for storage of meal prepping, anything that needs to be refrigerated or frozen, and dry goods. Here’s the thing, many of the glass container sets available still use plastic for the lid. This might be a deal-breaker for you, but it shouldn’t be. These containers will last much longer than any plastic alternative and are a much healthier alternative for storing food. With a plastic lid, just remember to remove it before popping the container in the microwave or oven.
Glass containers - usually square or rectangular shaped - can also function as serving dishes when you’re in a pinch. Being glass and safe to be heated, they can be helpful as an intermediate tray for heating other foods. Or, they can simply be used as side dishes at the dining room table. Check out this set of rectangular glass storage containers with bamboo lids on Amazon.
Glass jars are another cool thing we’re starting to see more of, and we love it just as much. People are using glass jars to store dry foods like pasta, nuts, cookies, and other cooking ingredients, but the possibilities are endless, really. It turns out food in glass jars also doubles as pleasant aesthetic decor, too.
Sound like something worth trying yourself? Check out these glass jars with bamboo lids on Amazon.
Plastic Wrap Alternative
Plastic wrap has so many uses in the kitchen - wrapping up some leftover sandwich, covering up the other half of a lemon, sealing over a leftover bowl of salad, etc. - we knew we needed a greener alternative. When a glass container isn’t quite what we need, a wrap alternative usually does the trick. We needed to find a plastic wrap alternative.
It turns out bee’s wrap is an excellent choice. Bee’s wrap is a natural storage alternative made from organic cotton infused with sustainably harvested beeswax, jojoba oil, and tree resin. These wraps are hand washable, reusable, and fully biodegradable - they’re exactly what every green kitchen needs.
Even better, this set of bee’s wraps on Amazon is ethically sourced and locally made right here in the United States by a certified B corporation. They’re offered in a set of three sizes, perfect for small fruits (7” x 8”), medium-size sandwiches (10” x 11”), and large bread loaves (13” x 14”). Remember to only wash with cool water and gentle soap before air drying and then reusing, again and again.
Soda makers had their time in the spotlight a few years ago, but we think it’s time for a comeback. And with summer right around the corner? This may be your new best friend.
We know drinking straight water is always the best option for our bodies, but we also know it’s important to live a little, and sometimes, life is better with a bit of flavor. Plastic water bottles and aluminum cans add up quickly, and that’s where a soda maker comes in. You can make sparkling water in your very own kitchen using nothing but tap water, a BPA-free bottle, some simple syrups, and your new soda maker. It’s a world of possibilities (and the best sidekick for cocktail recipes).
It’s time to free up some space in your recycling bin and remove exposure to BPA and other plastic toxins that can build up in our bloodstream. Soda makers are surprisingly affordable, and there’s a wonderful array of flavor syrups (healthy ones, too) to choose from. This soda maker on Amazon is also energy efficient, powered by a Co2 cylinder carbonating up to 60 liters of water. Going green doesn’t have to be boring; it can be raspberry, lime, and blackberry!
Keep a Compost Bin
We’re not talking about the gross, stinky, and stained compost bin that everyone has outside in their alleyway - oh no. We’re talking about a quaint, stainless-steel kitchen composting bin.
Why bother to compost? We’re so glad you asked. Recall that composting is the natural decomposition of organics, such as fruits, vegetables, grass, paper, and more. After decaying in an enclosed environment over time, organics transform and become a powerful source of nutrients for soil. Simply pitch banana peels, apple cores, vegetable scraps, coffee grounds, and more into your kitchen compost bin and a few days later (or a few weeks), transfer the contents to your garden soil.
Natural compost like this is full of potassium, nitrogen, and phosphorus and naturally fertilizes and nourishes your soil. Composting also enriches your soil’s ability to absorb water, meaning your garden becomes more water-efficient and better at holding onto nutrients. This system replaces the need for synthetic chemicals, meaning no run-off of chemicals ending up in our oceans or water supply.
Even better, you’ll be saving energy by needing fewer trips to the garden center, fewer trips to the dump, and less water for your garden. Check out this stainless steel kitchen compost bin on Amazon. Compost bins are designed to sit happily on countertops, but we know most of us would rather not have our compost right out in the open (even if it’s guaranteed to be odor-proof). So feel free to pop your new compost bin under the sink and know that your hidden treasure is helping the planet.
Isn’t this exciting!? From storage bags to Sauté Pans, there are so many fresh, new, and fun ideas for going green in the kitchen, you’ll wonder why you didn’t make the switch to a sustainable kitchen sooner.
Besides eco-friendly products, you can also work towards adopting greener practices in day-to-day kitchen life like buying in bulk, buying from local sources, meal prepping, and by recycling. Visit our site and check out our recycling program, which connects you to donation centers in your area to conserve resources and help others along the way.
It feels good knowing we’re doing good, so let’s do more of that.
From our green kitchen to yours, happy earth-saving!
Nonstick Cookware Safety Facts - Is Nonstick Cookware Safe | Good Housekeeping
Per and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) | FDA
The ‘forever chemicals’ fueling a public health crisis in drinking water | The Guardian