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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

Published: July 8, 2022 at 6:00 am
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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.

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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

Recycled kitchen

Origin kitchen, from £10,000, Schmidt

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.

Compost bin

Joseph Joseph Stack Food Waste Container in Graphite, £28.79, John Lewis & Partners

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

SodaStream

SodaStream Spirit black kitchen
Image: SodaStream

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.

Second-hand kitchens

Ex-display Ewe kitchen with Neolith worktops and appliances, £3,250, The Used Kitchen Company

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.

Beeswax wraps

National Trust Beeswax Wraps Summer Blooms Hero
Summer Blooms Print Beeswax Wraps, The Beeswax Wrap Co.

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.

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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!

Eco paint

Repainted pre-loved kitchen and appliances, £2,250, Used Kitchen Exchange

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

‘Painted and wooden kitchens can offer a little more flexibility when buying second-hand, as they can be easily repainted and handles replaced to create a new look. Laminate kitchens can also be painted or vinyl-wrapped.’

- Helen Lord, Founder of Used Kitchen Exchange

Reusable containers

Stasher bags decorative display
Stasher Bags, from £10, Amazon

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.

Eco appliances

Philips 5000 Series Eco Conscious toaster, £49.99; kettle, £49.99; coffee maker, £64.99, Currys

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

Recycled appliances

Beko Recycled Tub 8kg/5kg washer dryer, £419, AO.com

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.

‘Shopping for eco-friendly appliances is becoming simpler. At AO.com, you can filter appliances by energy rating and see the annual monthly running cost, comparing the effect different models could have on your pocket.’

- Sophie Beckett Smith, Large Appliance Expert at AO.com

Eco sponges

Swedish cloth

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.

It's estimated that one Swedish cloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towel so this simple swap really does have an impact. Pick up Scandi Swedish Dishcloths at Amazon.

Find more eco-friendly sponges in our list of favourites.

Boiling water tap

Fusion Round boiling water tap in stainless steel, £1,150, Quooker

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.

Shop locally

Britannia double-handled skillet frying pans, from £70 each, Samuel Groves

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

Making espresso in kitchen
Image: Getty Images

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

Dualit Eco Press Aluminium Capsule Recycler, £10, Amazon

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

Bower Collective products
Refillable products from Bower Collective

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

Reusable straws

Sorrento reusable glass straws with cleaning brush, from £12.95, Zwilling

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.

Eco flooring

Coastline Dune rug with Linen Ash border, from £79.90 for 30cm x 100cm, Sisal & Seagrass

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.

Corkboard flooring

Recork Una cork flooring in Pale Sand, £80 per sq m, Quadrant

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.

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Check out more of our favourite corkboard ideas here

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