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5 Easy and Affordable Zero Waste Upgrades For Your Kitchen

Making eco-friendly changes for our homes is easiest when we invest our time and money in increments. Try these five easy changes as small steps to a more environmentally-friendly kitchen collection. 

We might be becoming “the party house,” at least if M has anything to say about it (and of course he does). Now that we are settling into our new home, we’ve started having more people over. We keep our fridge stocked with fun drinks (alcoholic and non-alcoholic), recently invested in new patio furniture, and are building up our collection of party games. Foosball anyone?

When we have people over, I like to make food for the group. Sometimes it’s just snacks and other times we plan full-fledged meals. While I appreciate open space and a clutter-free kitchen, I’m also coming to realize how nice it can be to have the right tools on hand to make a certain kitchen job easier or more efficient.

With a bit more space than we had in our downtown Chicago apartment, I’ve been able to invest in a handful of upgraded and eco-friendly kitchen supplies (very exciting!).

5 Easy and Affordable Zero Waste Upgrades For Your Kitchen

1. Silicon Baking Mats ~ These replace parchment paper when baking cookies and certain other things on baking sheets in the oven. I still have parchment paper for certain tasks, but the silicon baking mats mean less waste when I bake. They also seem to bake more evenly. I recommend these for anyone who likes to bake a cookie or two on occasion.

Have you tried these Nutella chocolate chip cookies or these pumpkin chocolate chip gems?! If not, there’s no better time than now. My sister loves the pumpkin chocolate chip cookies so much, she served them at her wedding!

2. Compostable Plates & Dishes ~Typically, I serve food on our regular everyday dishes. Not only do I like avoiding disposable products in general, but disposable plates and utensils never seem to work as well.

However, there’s a time and place for single use products and plates or bowls that don’t break in little hands. We keep a small stash of compostable plates, bowls and cups in our cabinet which we use instead of regular paper or plastic when it really is the best alternative.

3. Glass Water-Serving Bottles ~ We stepped up our game and serve water to our guests restaurant style. We have a half dozen bottles so we can keep them full and refill them when we have parties. I refuse to buy loads of plastic water bottles. They’re expensive relative to the free water from my faucet or fridge, are ugly, and encourage so much unnecessary waste. Aren’t these glass water bottles so much prettier than plastic bottles?!

4. Bamboo or Wood Cutting Boards ~ Swapping in bamboo (the best option) or wood (an acceptable option) for plastic relies on more renewable resources. I haven’t thrown out the plastic cutting boards we received years ago as weddng gifts or bought for our first apartments. Throwing them out now doesn’t help anything. Going forward, however, we avoid the plastic options. Not only are bamboo boards better for the environment, but they also are so much prettier and can be used as serving pieces.

5. Glass and Silicon Storage Materials ~ We cook a lot of food in advance and often end up with leftovers. We have tried a host of sustainable storage materials, and I’ve found a few favorites. I like Pyrex and Lys glass containers because they last long and can go from oven to fridge to freezer. For containers without special tops, I like these silicon covers that stretch out to cover all sorts of containers.

These have all been affordable and easy-to-implement swaps we made in our kitchen that I think would work for a lot of other families. Do you have any other suggestions of great, eco-friendly supplies or gadgets you use in your kitchen? I’d love to hear them in the comments.

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