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 2020 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.
So, without further ado, here are eight simple swaps for a more sustainable kitchen. And if you’re off on a trip, don’t forget to check out our round-up of sustainable travel accessories!
Swap plastic bottles for… 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.
Swap clingfilm for… beeswax wraps
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!
Swap plastic sandwich bags for… Stasher bags
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. This Sandwich and Snack Bag Bundle is ideal for school lunches.
Swap kitchen roll for… 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 these quintessentially Scandi Swedish Dishcloths at Etsy or pop into Anthropologie for this quirky dishcloth set.
Swap plastic cutlery for… a reusable cutlery set
It’s never been easier to be eco-conscious on the go. Say no to plastic cutlery when you’re out and about by keeping your very own travel cutlery set in your bag. This EcoSlurps reusable cutlery set is made from recycled wheat stems – plus, the company has pledged to plant a tree for every purchase!
Swap takeaway coffee for… at home alternatives
A morning caffeine fix is essential for a lot of us, but there’s 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 fora 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.
Swap plastic cleaning bottles for… refillable glass dispensers
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.
Meanwhile, Bower Collective over eco-freidnly cleaning pouches, such as Grapefruit Washing Up Liquid, Lavender Laundry Liquid Refill and All Purpose Sanitiser Spray Refill amongst many others. Simply fold up the pouches after use and send them back in the pre-paid postal return box to be reused.
Swap plastic straws for… metal straws
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. These Colourful Stainless Steel Straws are a fun choice for the kids or for a stylish dinner party option, try these metal straws from Oliver Bonas.