18 eco kitchen ideas to make your home more sustainable
Reduce, reuse, and recycle your way to an eco-friendly kitchen with long-lasting style
When it comes to adopting a more sustainable lifestyle, the small changes you make at home really do count. It might surprise you to know that a large proportion of household waste stems from the kitchen, but think about it: kitchen roll, plastic sandwich bags and bottles, cleaning products, lashings of cling-filmed leftovers... it all adds up.
The good news is that in 2022 there’s a sustainable alternative for pretty much every household item one could need. It might take a little research and some rooting around for stockists, but the benefits of these sustainable swaps are twofold - not only are you putting less strain on the environment, but investing in reusable products will also save you money in the long run.
How to make your kitchen more eco friendly
If you're renovating a kitchen and want to renovate sustainably, search for ex-display or pre-loved designs rather than something brand new. Or, give existing cabinets a new lease of life with a lick of planet-friendly paint or a set of sparkling handles.
Swap energy-guzzling appliances for the latest eco-friendly models, like an energy-efficient air fryer and an eco kettle. Or, you could replace the kettle with an instant boiling water tap. Set a greener routine with eco-friendly materials, refillable cleaning products and repurposed containers, too.
Here are 18 eco ideas for a more sustainable kitchen.
Off on a trip? Don't forget to check out our round-up of sustainable travel accessories!
Eco kitchen ideas
We all try to make healthy choices at lunchtime, but what about healthy choices for our planet? Plastic sandwich bags might be convenient but they're often not recycled and therefore contribute to the single-use plastic problem. Stasher offers functional alternatives to plastic bags that are also rather stylish (and of course, reusable).
The self-sealing silicone storage bags come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and a percentage of each sale goes to ocean conservation nonprofits.
These reusable bags are also dishwasher, freezer and microwave friendly, making them a practical kitchen accessory.
Marry old and new by using recycled materials that have been given a current twist. This design has recycled wood carcasses and front panels with wooden and metallic effects for an industrial, modern look.
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Reduce the food waste sent to landfills with a kitchen waste caddy – compost it in your garden (your veg plot will love the mulch) or pop it out if you have kerbside food waste collections.
Check out our pick of the best compost bins here, or and see our favourite kitchen waste caddies here
Sparkling water lovers, don't worry. You can still get your sparkling water fix, minus the plastic bottles, thanks to SodaStream. Its range of Sparkling Water Makers offers that desirable fizz at the touch of a button, and you can sip in peace knowing that each purchase saves 1300 single-use plastic bottles from landfill.
You'll get up to 60 litres of bubbles with each gas cylinder so a little goes a long way. If you run out, just pop to Sainsbury's as gas exchange is now available in 580 stores.
Pick out a second-hand or ex-display kitchen from the comfort of your sofa by browsing online. If your choice is a current style, there may also be extra units that can be ordered, if needed.
It's estimated that 1.2 billion metres of clingfilm is used by households across Britain every year. Cut back on your unnecessary plastic consumption by switching from clingfilm to beeswax wrap. With more and more people realising the value of an easy-to-use and eco-friendly alternative, there's now a multitude of options on the market.
For pretty floral designs, look no further than the collaboration between the National Trust and The Beeswax Wrap Co. These Summer Blooms Print Beeswax Wraps, which celebrate the beauty of our natural world, are our favourite. They're also completely biodegradable!
Repainted pre-loved kitchen and appliances, £2,250, Used Kitchen ExchangeCustomise a pre-loved kitchen with paint. Search for a used kitchen, then sand the units and paint them in a shade that matches your home. Get them professionally sprayed if your budget allows.
Find out where to buy eco paints here
- Helen Lord, Founder of Used Kitchen Exchange
Revamp breakfast with a kettle, toaster and coffee maker made from plant-oil-based plastic – the mottled finish of this Eco Conscious range from Philips makes it look like stone.
Read our full review of the Philips Eco Conscious Kettle here
Opt for electrical appliances made from recycled materials. This washer-dryer features a drum tub made from recycled plastic and can be controlled from your smartphone via Bluetooth, plus it has a special allergy setting for sensitive skin.
- Sophie Beckett Smith, Large Appliance Expert at AO.com
Boiling water tap
Save water and time when boiling water for drinks and cooking with an instant hot water tap. You’ll have 100°C water when you need it and it’ll free up space on your worktop.
Reduce air miles with products made in the UK, such as this cast-iron cookware from Samuel Groves that's also made with 70% recycled waste.
At-home coffee station
A morning caffeine fix is essential for a lot of us, but there are definitely more sustainable (and cheaper) options than a daily takeaway coffee from your favourite cafe. If you're willing to spend in order to save in the long run, opt for a coffee machine which provides barista-quality coffee at home - here's our round-up of the best coffee machines to buy in the UK.
If you do insist on that daily treat from a coffee shop, why not take your own refillable coffee cup? You usually get a small discount too! A KeepCup is a design-led and practical option, while the bioGO cup is made entirely from discarded rice husks.
And if you're feeling more ambitious, check out our step-by-step guide to creating your own at-home coffee station.
Coffee capsule recycling
If you have a pod coffee machine, you'll know first-hand how much waste can occur from the daily pile-up of aluminium capsules. This clever handheld EcoPress from Dualit removes the grounds from coffee capsules, letting you easily tip the grounds into your compost bin and pop the aluminium pods into your recycling.
Refillable cleaning products
Reuse and refill schemes have exploded onto the market in recent years. Increasing numbers of people are conscious of how wasteful regular household cleaning products are. You can buy refillable glass dispensers for hand gel and lotion at high street outlets including Dunelm.
Check out our favourite refillable cleaning products here
An estimated 4.7 billion plastic straws are used in England annually. Luckily for our planet, a plastic straw ban is soon to come into force. If you can't seem to sip a drink without one, get your hands on a metal straw alternative that you can wash and reuse over and over.
Swedish cloth really is an all-rounder. From cleaning up spills to polishing windows, it's an impressive upgrade from regular paper towels. The cloth can absorb 20x its weight in water and dries quickly to be reused over and over. Perfect for breakfast spillages, surface top cleaning and tap polishing!
It's estimated that one Swedish cloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towel so this simple swap really does have an impact.
You can find lots of colourful options - including pink, yellow and blue - on Amazon.
Find more eco-friendly sponges in our list of favourites.
Warm up timber or stone flooring with a stylish rug crafted from ethically sourced threads. Check out the Sisal & Seagrass' online Rug Creator tool to make your own bespoke version.
Increase the heat and sound insulation of your kitchen with cork flooring. Made from a combination of harvested, recycled and waste cork, it’s also naturally antimicrobial and hypoallergenic.