by Texas Homesteader ~
Did you ever wonder how you could take steps to eliminate single-use waste in your kitchen? Thankfully it’s easy to find simple zero-waste kitchen swaps.
Following is a list of single-use items I no longer buy. Using reusable counterparts I’ve been able to reduce or even eliminate completely these disposable items and save money too.
(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)
Setting An Eco example For Others To See
Recently while entertaining family members for supper, my sister saw me incorporating several zero-waste efforts as I prepared the meal. She exclaimed “Oh wow, I would have never thought to do that!”
It got me thinking, maybe I should share the various ways I’m able to reduce (or even eliminate) those single-use items in my kitchen.
Now I know not all of these zero-waste swaps will be new to you. And depending upon the circumstances in your home, not all will even be feasible.
But I’ve learned that since we are all on different places in this simple-life path – there’s bound to be something for everyone in this list.
No More Paper Towels
I haven’t bought paper towels (with their disposable plastic encasements) in well over 10 years now.
Here’s what we use instead. Old clean, soft cotton t-shirts cut to size.
Cut Old T-Shirt Into Paper Towel Sized Squares.
Cotton T-Shirt Material Doesn’t unravel Or Have To Be Hemmed.
Lightweight and Reusable. For YEARS!
No Paper Towel Purchases (Or The Plastic It’s Sold In)
Paper Napkins For Cloth Napkins
Speaking of paper, since we went paperless in our kitchen we’ve been using solely cloth napkins for several decades now.
Cloth Napkins Replace Disposable Paper Napkins.
Can Be Purchased Cheaply At Thrift Stores/Garage Sales.
No Extra Laundry – Can Be Washed With Regular Laundry.
Cloth Napkins Last For Years. Some of ours for 20 years and counting!
Can Make Cloth Napkins Yourself (My red/white gingham napkins from a $1 thrifted tablecloth.)
No More Buying And Throwing Away Disposable Napkins Over & Over Again.
When Visitors Need A Paper Napkin In A Paperless Kitchen
Occasionally a visitor asks wide-eyed “you don’t have ANY paper napkins??” LOL.
So I save that one or two wayward extra unused paper napkins that would have been thrown away when we occasionally stop for a quick burger.
Then I bring them home & tuck them into a container in my cabinets.
That way when someone asks to wrap something in a paper napkin to take home with them for instance, I can offer one to them.
Eco-Friendly Choice: No More Paper Plates
Now don’t get me wrong, there are times that paper plates might make sense for you. No judgement here!
But our meals are always served on honest-to-goodness real plates, glasses and flatware. Even when we have a large family gathering I’m pulling out the real stuff.
Real Dishes Make Simple Meals Feel More Fancy.
Basic White Dishes Go With Any Décor & Can Be Dressed Up Too.
Reusable Dinnerware More Sturdy Than Flimsy Disposable Paper/Styrofoam Plates.
Ease In Cleaning Real Plates
I realize every household has their own limitations with time, money, etc,. Not everyone has a dishwasher, and not everyone likes to do dishes. Believe me, I get it.
But we have a dishwasher and we put it to use. So cleaning those plates & dinnerware is as easy as scrape-load-push a button and walk away.
Substitutes For Aluminum Foil
I still have an older box of aluminum foil stored away in the kitchen cabinet for use when necessary. But it will last me several years because I very seldom use it.
Disposable Plastic Wrap Swaps
Occasionally I’ll store the rest of our leftover supper in the microwave safe glass bowl I’d served it in. But I don’t need plastic wrap to cover it.
There’s no telling how much single-use plastic wrap I’ve eliminated over the years. There are several zero-waste ways to cover food:
Beeswax Wrap Note: Now wax melts with heat. So I’m careful not to wrap my beeswax wraps around anything that would require scrubbing with hot water (such as raw meats or greasy items.)
But for wrapping up a leftover bowl of corn or green beans, a block of cheese, handful of raw carrots, etc. it’s awesome!
Eliminate Plastic Water Bottles
Single-Use disposable water bottles are a large part of overall plastic waste. But RancherMan & I have heavily *insulated tumblers that we use for hydration when out & about.
We’ll fill it with ice and then add filtered water in the morning. Then we take it with us when we’re out running errands.
Sometimes that tumbler of water sits in the hot car while we’re inside shopping. But there’s still ice in it when we get back to the car. Even in the Texas summer heat!
There’s no need for us to stop & buy cold water in a disposable plastic bottle. Saves money AND the environment.
Other Easy Zero-Waste Kitchen Swaps:
No Styrofoam Egg Cartons
I’ve always hated the Styrofoam egg cartons. But when people pass them on to me I’ll reuse them to sell our free range chicken’s eggs.
My family often saves cardboard egg cartons for me for reuse too. I use them to make Fire Starters for RancherMan.
But when my chickens are laying, this wire basket in the fridge is really the only thing I need.
Eliminating Items Purchased In Plastic Tubs – Yogurt
Making yogurt was the very first eco step I took when I started my simple-life journey. I hated all those disposable plastic tubs in which my beloved yogurt was sold.
I started making Homemade Stove-Top Yogurt every week or so since then (and it’s been decades).
Then I discovered the even easier Instant Pot Yogurt method. Now it’s even easier to keep our fridge stocked with homemade yogurt. And there are no plastic tubs to throw away since I put them in single-serve reusable mason jars.
Don’t Expect Perfection
OK, you do your best but still need to use something disposable sometimes, right? There’s no need in beating yourself up over it.
But here’s the thing – oftentimes it’s easy eliminate the disposable plastic for a reusable glass counterpart. Or repurpose something for an entirely different (but equally convenient) substitution.
I’m hoping to inspire you to eliminate single use waste in your home with some of these zero-waste kitchen swaps. But baby steps are good too. What are your favorite was to reduce waste in your own kitchen?
Links in this post
- Using Glass in my Refrigerator
- How I Got Cute Red/White Gingham Napkins For $1
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Glass Dishes With Lids
- Beeswax Wraps To Reduce Or Eliminate Plastic Wrap
- Homemade Stove-Top Yogurt
- Easier Instant Pot Yogurt
- Cheesecake Made In An Instant Pot
- Instant Pot Eggs w/o Shell
- *Insulated Tumblers Help Eliminate Water Bottles
- *Mrs Wages Dill Pickle Seasoning
- MYO Fire Starters With Repurposed Materials
Other Posts About Reducing Household Waste
- How We Reduced Household Trash
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junk Mail
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
Health & Beauty
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- 5 Handy Repurpose Ideas From An Old Sock
…and Many More
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