Waste happens: Ingredients wilt, we forget to make that recipe we dog-eared in Tuesday Nights or we fly through rolls of paper towels as we spring clean our pantries. This Earth Day, we’re thinking about the simple switches we can make in the kitchen to avoid needless waste and make our ingredients last longer. We’ve rounded up some of our picks for sustainable storage and equipment that reduce waste in the kitchen without sacrificing our wallets.
Greener On-the-Go Essentials
Although plastic baggies or single-use containers are convenient, they often leave your lunch soggy or spilled and inevitably end up in a landfill. We prefer these sustainable ways to wrap, pack and travel with your food.
Never fret throwing a bag away again with these sustainable and sealable sandwich bag options from Lunchskins. Available in dishwasher-safe fabric, recyclable glassine and compostable wax paper, you can store and seal food while reducing your carbon footprint. Plus, all versions come in fun prints and colors.
These chic double-walled food containers are perfect for picnics or bringing your leftovers to the office. Each is made from two layers of 18/8 food-grade stainless steel around a copper-coated vacuum layer and is coated with a special BPA-free powder to minimize condensation. The triple insulation provides up to 12 hours of temperature control for hot or cold foods.
Sustainable Storage Ideas
These storage solutions are a two-for-one: Not only do they make food last longer, they can each be reused multiple times.
Started in 2013 as a Kickstarter campaign, Food Huggers intends to make plastic wrap obsolete. The flexible silicone lids made by this women-run company fold around—that is, hug—fruits and vegetables to create a tight seal that is more effective than single-use plastic.
These organic cotton mesh bags, an alternative to plastic produce bags, are reusable and machine-washable. The bags have reinforced double stitching for longer durability and an easy-to-use drawstring. Our favorite feature? The tare weight on their labels, which make it easier to accurately weigh produce at the grocery store.
These washable, compostable sheets of waxed cotton make single-use plastic wrap a thing of the past. All-natural Bee’s Wrap seals containers and food tightly and can be reused numerous times. This variety pack comes with seven pieces in a range of sizes, and each size has a unique pattern so you can quickly identify which you need.
More durable and eco-friendly than plastic bags, these French terrycloth bags are designed to prolong the life of stored produce. The fabric holds just enough moisture to maintain an ideal humidity for leafy greens, carrots, green beans—you name it. These machine-washable bags will last for years, and you’ll discard less wilted produce.
Upcycled Kitchen Essentials
Upcycled items, whether they’re for food prep or the table, transform used everyday materials—like wine bottles, bicycle tires or extra pieces of wood—into brand new products.
Colorado-based company Wine Punts makes these unique measuring cups out of recycled wine bottles. Artisans saw off the neck of the bottles then fire-polish every Wine Punts piece to ensure a seamless, smooth rim. Made with sturdy non-porous glass, these beaker-like measuring cups have a 2-cup capacity and show cup and ounce equivalents.
Each cutting board from Paguro is made with reclaimed hardwoods from Indonesia: Paguro’s artisans fit food-safe offcuts from local furniture factories together into striking inlaid patterns. Paguro’s boards are sealed with bio wax, a sustainable swap for petroleum-based or synthetic seals; they stand up beautifully to regular use as chopping or charcuterie boards.
Better Single-Use Products
Upgrade your typical single-use items—the things we typically throw away after one use—with compostable or reusable alternatives. These items just perform better: no odors sneak through this plant-based cling wrap, and the dishcloths we prefer are extra absorbent.
This game-changing cling wrap is made from plant-based plastic and is 100 percent compostable. The wrap sticks strongly to metal, glass, plastic or your ingredients themselves, stretching without tearing and protecting from odors. Each roll comes with pre-perforated sheets: no serrated metal cutting edge means you can toss the box in the recycling.
Reusable and compostable, Wet-It Dishcloths are an amazing alternative to both paper towels and sponges. Made only with cellulose pulp and cotton, the thick sheets are stiff when dry, then soften into cloths that can absorb up to 16 times their weight in liquid. Unlike paper towels, Wet-It Dishcloths can be washed and reused (about 6 months with regular use).
These reusable, machine-washable UNpaper Towels are made from 100% cotton. We like that the cloth is soft, with an absorbent felt-like texture that helps the cloths cling to each other for more compact storage—the towels can even be wrapped around a paper towel roll.