20 Easy Swaps for a Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Kitchen - Republic of Green

20 Easy Swaps for a Plastic-Free, Zero-Waste Kitchen

reusable cloth produce bag

If you’ve been putting off making the switch to a more sustainable lifestyle that’s plastic-free and eco-friendly, now is the best time to start! And having a zero-waste kitchen may just give you the motivation to do the same for the rest of your home.

You’ll love having a sustainable kitchen, so let’s dive right in with some products that will help you transform it.

Plastic and single-use items often end up in landfills. They pollute the ground and groundwater, harm the environment, and are hazardous to animals and people. We tend to think recycling is the key, but so much of what we recycle also ends up at the dump.

Switching to no-plastic, zero-waste, and compostable products is great for the environment and everyone and everything in it. When you do your part to use products that are gentle on the environment, you’ll feel good, and it’s not even hard to do!

Here are some easy ways to get started.

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1. Reusable Storage & Freezer Bags

reusable storage freezer bags

Reusable Storage Bags by KITHELP. BPA-Free. Image via Amazon.

Why end up with a lot of plastic waste when you can use reusable storage and freezer bags instead?

These bags by KITHELP made out of food-grade materials and they’re BPA and PVC-free! You won’t need to worry about any leaking, and cleaning is a breeze. They’re see-through, making it easy to identify what’s inside, and they even work well for storing other items, like jewelry and makeup. They’ll quickly replace plastic and even paper bags in your kitchen.

One Amazon customer says, “I’ve been looking for a way to lower my use of single-use plastics and when I found these I figured it’d be a good way to avoid buying more Ziploc baggies. I’m so happy I did! They work so well, are easy to clean, and come in a variety of convenient sizes. If you’re trying to be a little more environmentally friendly and save some money then I’d definitely recommend these!”

2. Organic Cotton Produce Bags

organic cotton produce bags

Reusable produce bags by Organic Cotton Mart. Image via Amazon

These organic cotton produce bags by Organic Cotton Mart are not only gentle on the planet, but they’re also super cute and trendy!

These bags are made from the finest organic cotton and contain zero fertilizers or pesticides. They’re washable, come in many different sizes, and are a great alternative to plastic bags. And because they’re breathable, your produce will stay fresh longer when you use these bags to store them in your fridge.

Feel free to use these bags for multiple purposes too! They’re great for storing bread and can even be used to strain your coffee or tea.

AnnieK says, “After being stranded at home for the past COVID year, I was frustrated with my beautiful organic vegetables not lasting nearly as long between orders—two to three weeks. Especially all the greens I buy. After doing research, I bought this set of organic cotton bags and I love them. I washed them first then after having my groceries delivered, I washed most veggies and stored them in the new cloth bags, after removing most water from the surface. I then sprayed the outside of the bags with water to keep everything damp—Not Wet! Check every few days. I then placed them in the plastic produce bag and sealed the bag. That way, the veggies stayed fresh 2 to 3 times longer. I was amazed how green and crisp most greens, (Kale, Swiss Chard, Collards, Bok Choy, etc,) were lasting.”

3. Bamboo Dish Scrub Brushes

bamboo scrub brush

Bamboo Dish Scrub Brushes by Subekyu. Image via Amazon.

It can be tricky to find a way to clean dishes without plastic. But these bamboo dish scrub brushes are the perfect solution. Made from 100% natural bamboo with Sisal bristles, the brushes are great for everything from cleaning your cast iron pans to washing your fruits and veggies.

No one likes stubborn stains on their dishes, and these brushes make removing them simple with no concerns about scratching.

LizzeiB says, “I bought these to get rid of the plastic dish brush we used to use because of the growing concern about microplastics that are literally everywhere. I’m still using the first of the three and it’s holding up very well. I keep it in the little white dish that comes with it during the day and hang it over the faucet overnight to let it dry out. The bristles will last longer if it’s allowed to dry out.”

4. Reusable Silicone Straws for Toddlers & Kids

reusable silicone straws

Reusable Silicone Straws for Toddlers & Kids by Veskaoty. Image via Amazon.

If you have kids, you know the best way to keep them from spilling their drinks everywhere is to give them straws. You can leave the world of plastic straws behind when these reusable silicone straws. You and your kids will love the fun colors, and they work with most 6-12oz cups and tumblers.

These straws come in a pack of 16, and you also get 4 cleaning brushes, so cleaning is a snap.

Kevin says, “These straws are the perfect size for my 1 year old. They are shorter than a regular bendy straw which makes them perfect for his little yogurt drinks. Plus, I don’t have to worry about him stabbing the roof of his mouth or gums when he dives for a drink.”

5. Stainless Steel Drinking Straws

stainless steel straws

Reusable Stainless Steel Metal Straws with Silicone Tips by Muttnit. Image via Amazon.

Metal drinking straws are the perfect alternative to the plastic variety. These 20 stainless steel straws come in two different sizes some are even curved for more comfort. You’ll get 5 straw cleaning brushes along with a handy travel case just in case you want to take them with you on vacation – and why wouldn’t you?

You can wash your metal straws right in the dishwasher if you choose, and each one comes with a silicone tip to protect your teeth from the metal when you use them. Note: These are best for adults and older children to avoid injury for young children who might run and fall with a straw in their mouths.

Michael G says, “So I got these in an effort to help save the planet but also to make sure I had durable straws that would last awhile. I used plastic straws and I just always ended up with a collection of straws that I was throwing out all the time. Got sick of wasting money just to throw them out. I love these straws and it gets you the cleaning tool with it. Simple to use and clean. Love that it gives you different sizes and that it comings with the rubber tips. I will most likely purchase again.”

6. Pour-Over Coffee Maker with Glass Coffee Pot

pour over coffee pot

Pour Over Glass Pot Coffee Dripper & Brewer with Stainless Steel Filter by COSORI. Image via Amazon.

Good news! You can enjoy a delicious cup of coffee (or four) in the morning without involving any plastic!

The COSORI Pour Over Coffee Maker may soon become your favorite part of your kitchen. It comes with a double-layer, stainless steel filter that will infuse tons of flavor into your favorite morning beverage. The 34-ounce decanter is perfect for heavy coffee drinkers and for entertaining guests. To wash, simply put everything in your dishwasher.

One Amazon customer says, “I love using this, it’s so easy and makes a quick, delicious pot of coffee. I like that you’re not being wasteful by using paper filters. I appreciate that you can set it on the stove burner to reheat in the glass itself. It’s easy to clean, I just use a silicone bottle brush I have for water bottles. Only bummed I didn’t buy one sooner.”

7. Stainless Steel K-Cup Filters for Keurig

stainless steel k-cup filter for keurig

Reusable Universal K Cups Coffee Pod Filters for single cup coffee makers by Ruoying. Image via Amazon.

As long as we’re on the subject of coffee, if you’re someone who enjoys your Keurig, you’ll love it even more with these stainless steel filters. These universal refillable k-cups for work with Keurig as well as single cup coffee makers by other brands. The 100% Food Grade Stainless Steel Interior is free from BPA, Lead, and DEHP. You can use these with paper liners as well.

Chris says, “I’m trying to avoid plastics in regards to food and anything heated. I was very pleased to find this all metal reusable k-cup. It is a very simple little product but the quality is excellent and it is easier to clean that the plastic and mesh type I’ve tried before. ”

8. Paper K-Cup Filter Liners

paper filters for keurig k cups

Paper Coffee Filters for Single-Use Coffee Makers, Keurig 1.0 & 2.0 by Party Bargains. Image via Amazon.

These paper coffee filter liners can be used along with your stainless steel reusable K-cup filters to make sure no itty bits of grinds get into your coffee. These filters are made of high-quality paper, won’t tear easily, and work with all Keurig machines.

You get 600 filters in one order, and every single use guarantees a great cup of coffee.

OnlineShopperAdvocate says, “There is nothing I DO NOT LIKE about this product. If you are a Keurig fan, you can save a lot by buying reusable cups and liners like this one! Easy to use and does not take any flavor away from your coffee.”

9. Refillable Amber Glass Spray Bottles

glass spray bottles

Refillable Glass Spray Bottles by Sally Organics. Image via Amazon.

Plastic containers – like the ones we buy cleaning supplies in – are quickly filling up landfills. If you’ve decided to start making your own cleaning solutions, you’ll love storing them in these refillable amber glass spray bottles.

Your order comes with 2 16oz bottles, and they’re just the right size. You can safely use your essential oils in them because they’re made of glass, and they work great for everything from cleaning to hair care.

Amazon customer lunarennui says, “They’re very good for home use, and don’t clog up with essential oils. The glass is sturdy. I keep one bottle for cleaning the floors, and another for cleaning the shower. The pumps are solid, which is a difficult quality to satisfy.”

10. Swedish Dishcloths

Swedish dish cloths

Reusable Swedish Dish Cloths by Swedish Wholesale. Image via Amazon.

For an eco-friendly kitchen, say “goodbye” to paper towels for good and say “hello” to reusable Swedish dishcloths.

These cotton cloths are a great alternative to dish towels, cloths, and even paper towels. Each one is made with long-lasting cotton and cellulose, and they can withstand up to 200 washes. They’re highly absorbent, and you can even wash them in the dishwasher if you choose. They work great for mopping up spills, and each pack of 10 cloths comes in an array of colors, so they’ll look great in your kitchen too!

Stewart Lallman says, “LOVE LOVE these dish cloths. They’re hard when dry (they do dry quickly so no musty smell) and VERY soft and absorbent when wet. They don’t leave a trail of water or streaks, work great on appliances and are the perfect size, even for my large hands. Use a stainless steel scrubber for stuck on food in pans (like you do while owning dish cloths). Threw away all my old dish cloths, could NOT be happier with these and plan to order another set – maybe the colorful ones.”

11. Compostable Plant-Based Garbage Bags

compostable trash bags

Compostable Handle Tie Garbage Bags 2.6 Gallon by SUPERBIO. Image via Amazon.

Like most people, you might think you’re stuck lining your smaller garbage cans with plastic bags. Think again!

These 2.6-gallon compostable garbage bags are the perfect size. They’re made from plant-based materials and they degrade within 180 days when you put them in your compost pile. They have a reinforced bottom, so even when you fill them completely full of food waste, they won’t tear.

Each order comes with 100 bags and the box is the perfect size to store right under your kitchen sink.

Amazon customer J. Kern says, “Other brands seemed to leak, or tear, or were difficult to tie off. The loops make these a cinch to close, and after a couple of months I’ve yet to see the smallest leak. These are keepers, as far as I’m concerned.”

12. Stainless Steel Countertop Water Filter

kitchen water filter

Stainless Steel Countertop Faucet Water Filter System by Waterdrop. Image via Amazon.

Who doesn’t love a delicious glass of filtered water? The problem is that most water filters contain plastic, which doesn’t help your quest for a zero-waste kitchen. Why not invest in a stainless steel countertop water filter system like this one from Waterdrop instead?

This filter system attaches is small enough that it won’t take up much space on your counter, but it’s powerful enough to remove common water impurities and up to 99% of chlorine. It’s easy to install and will provide you with up to 8,000 gallons of filtered water.

Amar R says, “Great Product in countertop category. I got this product because water was smelling like a chemical. After installing this the smell is no longer present. Most importantly this product is very easy to install and it looks better than those plastic ones in the market.”

13. Silicone Baking Mats

silicone baking mats

Food Safe, Non-Stick Silicone Baking Mat by Amazon Basics. Image via Amazon.

Get ready to ditch the foil and cooking spray because you won’t need them once you give these silicone baking mats a try. Your cookies will never taste better when you line your sheet pans with one of these mats. They’re also great for catching spills when you’re making a roast or casserole.

Silicone baking mats are oven-safe up to 480 degrees, and the 3-pack comes in assorted sizes. Best of all, you can wash them in the top rack of your dishwasher.

J. Crook says, “WHY have I never bought these before??? WHYYY??? These immediately became one of the best purchases of my life. Throw away foil and/or cooking spray. Treat yourselves to these and save a fortune by ridding yourself of multiple future purchases of spray and foil. Clean up in seconds!! Not kidding. If my OCD loves these they are winners. Recently purchased some USA pans (do it! You’ll congratulate yourself for the rest of your life) and these to go in them. I’VE BEEN WASTING AN ENTIRE LIFE MAKING MY LIFE HARDER. No more. Note: do not trim these. Find your needed size as they do have microfilaments of fibers inside that could get into your food if you cut them.

14. Silicone Ice Cube Trays

silicone ice cube trays

Silicone Ice Cube Trays by DOQAUS. Image via Amazon.

Some beverages are just better with ice, and if you don’t have an automatic ice dispenser, these silicone ice cube trays are perfect for a plastic-free kitchen. These trays pass food-grade LFGB certification with flying colors. They’re BPA-free and they won’t break in your freezer, even with super low temperatures.

And why limit yourself to just making ice? You can fill your trays with fruit juice, soda, or even wine! They even come with lids for easy stacking in your freezer. They also make for fun baby food compartments.

Marart 55 says, “Trays are narrow enough to save space in the freezer, but they make larger ice cubes. The water freezes quickly, and you get ice in a hurry. The lids allow you to stack the trays even when none of them are frozen yet. You pop the cubes out from the bottom, so the trays don’t crack and leak all over the freezer. My new favorite ice cube trays!”

15. Wooden Cooking Utensils

wooden kitchen utensils spoons

Set of Teak Wooden Spoons, Spatula, Utensils by ADT. Image via Amazon.

You’ll love your new wooden spoons and cooking utensils. Not only are they functional, but they look great on display in glass jars in your kitchen to boot – it’s a win/win!

These utensils come in a pack of ten and have easy-to-grip handles. They’re made of natural teak wood, and you get several types of utensils. They won’t crack, so they’re durable and great to use with your nonstick cookware. The manufacturer recommends handwashing them to keep the wood from warping.

Lyn S. says, “I needed something for non-stick cookware & these fit the bill perfectly. They don’t scratch & clean up great.”

16. 100% Cotton Cloth Napkins

cloth dinner napkins

100% Cotton Dinner Napkins by Urban Villa. Image via Amazon.

If your family goes through paper napkins the way mine does, you know them as just another source of kitchen waste. Why not invest in these cloth napkins instead for a more eco friendly kitchen?

These napkins are made from 100% cotton, and they measure 18 inches x 18 inches. They’re not only durable, but they’re hotel quality, making them perfect for fancy dinners and for everyday use. The basic pack has 12 napkins (and no plastic packaging), and they come in multiple colors and patterns.

Amazon customer, CJL says, “It can be hard to find decent cloth napkins. Not polyester, but nice cotton napkins. These are terrific! Really good value for the price.”

17. Beeswax Food Wraps

bees wax wrap

Beeswax reusable wraps by Bee’s Wrap. Image via Amazon.

Plastic wrap has no place among your kitchen items. These beeswax wraps are incredible, and they’re great for keeping your food fresh.

Bee’s Wrap reusable food wraps are great for prepping meals, storing your leftovers, and even packing your kids’ lunches. They’re plastic-free and each pack comes with three differently sized wraps – small, medium, and large. You won’t find any toxic chemicals that will seep into your food because they’re made with responsibly sourced beeswax, certified organic cotton, tree resin, and organic plant oils.

Alex B. says, “Just what I wanted. I needed to further reduce plastic in the kitchen. I have used the larger size for watermelon and other items in place of plastic wrap. The other two sizes mostly for cheese instead of reusing storage bags. I have used them all about a dozen times and it seems like they should last a year or more.”

18. Clear Glass Bottles with Lids

glass drinking bottles

Clear Glass Bottles with Lids by Epica. Image via Amazon.

Tired of plastic bottles littering your kitchen and other parts of your house? Then these clear glass bottles with lids make a great, zero-waste alternative.

These bottles hold 18 ounces of liquid. They work great for bottled water, but you can also use them for juice and smoothies. The lids close air-tight, so you’ll have no trouble filling them ahead of time and storing them in your fridge. They have wide mouths, so they clean up great whether you’re hand washing them or washing them in your dishwasher.

Amazon customer, MaiaM says, “These wonderful bottles are gorgeous, sturdy and multifunctional. They look fabulous in the kitchen and even the bathroom. They are well made and came well packaged.”

19. Nonstick Skillet & Frying Pan (PFOA free)

non stick pan PFOA free

9.5 Inch Nonstick Skillet Frying Pan PFOA & PTFEs Free by ESLITE LIFE. Image via Amazon.

Whether you’re making dinner for your entire family, or you’re cooking for a party of 1, what you make your food in matters. Check out this eco-friendly, PFOA-free and PTFE-free 9.5-inch nonstick skillet and frying pan!

Made by ESLITE LIFE, this frying pan is coated with a nonstick granite coating. You won’t need much oil with this pan, which you’ll appreciate if you’re trying to cut back on unhealthy fat in your food. The pan is made from heavy-duty cast aluminum, and it won’t warp with continued use. Your food will be heated evenly because of the magnetized base, and it works great with any stovetop.

Della Street says, “I purchased this pan to replace an an 8 inch sauté pan that would not sit flat on my electric stoves flat burners. It never distributed the heat evenly which created problems when cooking in that pan so I just stopped using it and decided to purchase this pan to replace it. I loved it so much that I have purchased the entire set. This pan distributes heat evenly, is a breeze to clean and does not stick! I love this set and highly recommend it.”

20. Silicone Lids for Bowls & Pots

silicone lids

Silicone Lids for Bowls, Pots, Cups by Perfect and Simple. Image via Amazon.

Do you have bowls or pots in your kitchen without lids? Who doesn’t, right? These reusable silicone bowl lids with suction seal covers might be just what you’re looking for.

Stretchy lids often don’t cut it, especially if you need lids with multiple uses. These silicone bowl lids come in a variety of colors, and they’re interlocking, so storing them away is easy. You can use these lids in the microwave, on the stove, in the oven, or in your fridge. Need to take something delicious to a party? Simply use one of these lids on your favorite bowl and your dish won’t spill. They can even be washed in your dishwasher.

J. Thomas Wolfe Jr. says, “Very versatile set for my kitchen. I use them all the time for covering food in the microwave as well as storing food in the fridge! They clean up very easily and can stand stove top temperatures to cover up food as it’s cooling down ( do not let them contact flame directly)
I will be back for another set.”

What are Your Favorite Sustainable Kitchen Products?

Is there something you love that isn’t listed here? We’d love to learn about it. Please share what you like about it in the comments below!

Republic of Green

Republic of Green is all about promoting a more eco-friendly, sustainable, healthy life! Check out the News Section for more articles and product reviews on topics like Green Home, Clean Beauty & Personal Care Products, Sustainable Fashion, and Natural Health. You can also find local and online environmentally-friendly businesses in the Republic of Green Business Directory.





Nicole Colwell

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