5 Sustainable Kitchen Swaps

Happy July from Pierogi and Springroll! This month we are participating in Plastic Free July - a world-wide challenge to reduce the plastic consumption in your life. Each week, we'll be sharing different posts that focus on sustainability, reducing, reusing, and recycling. We are not experts in the zero waste or sustainability movement, but recognize that each of us has an impact. Even small changes in our behavior can make a big impact for the world around us. In Seattle, all waste goes to landfills in the region so anything we can avoid throwing out this month (and always) is less waste going directly into the ground. Similarly, our beautiful coastline is home to some amazing biodiversity; plastic, trash, and other waste along our beaches is a major concern for the vitality of these habitats. You can learn more at the resources below and join the Plastic Free July challenge!

To kick off the month, we're sharing five simple ways we reduced waste in our kitchen. We focused on reusing items we already had to limit the new, disposable plastic coming into our home. Check out our 5 sustainable kitchen swaps below!

woman holding a book, next to a coffee mug

1. Rags and Wash Cloths

Ditch the paper towel roll on your counter top - try using washable rags or cloths to clean surfaces and wipe up spills. I love using stained old cotton clothes to make cleaning rags or using my old face cloths in the kitchen. Not only are you giving second life to another household item, but you eliminate the need for paper towels or napkins. Simply throw soiled cloths in the wash and they're good as new!

2. Silicone Sponge

Along the same line as wash clothes for surfaces, try switching to a reusable silicone sponge for washing dishes. I have used the same reusable silicone sponge for over 2 years and have hardly noticed any damage or wear. Not only do these sponges last forever, they are dishwasher safe which makes them easier to sanitize and limits bacteria growth.

3. Cloth Produce Bags

A trip to the grocery store can be filled with a surprising amount of plastic - bags, wrappers, packaging - you name it. I love using reusable cotton and mesh bags to carry loose produce. These bags are much more durable than the thin, disposable plastic produce bags and can be kept in the fridge or countertop and allow the vegetables and fruits to "breath". Simply keep your reusable produce bags with your reusable grocery bags and you are ready to go shopping. If the bags get messy, just throw them in the wash and keep using!

4. Make (or buy) your own Utensil Set

Whether you're headed on a picnic, getting take out, or going to work or school, having a kit of utensils is a great way to avoid disposable plastic cutlery (or eating with your hands). I have a roll kit I made complete with forks, knives, spoons, and chopsticks that I bring with us when we go hiking or camping. When I worked full time in an office, I kept the kit in my bag so that I could be ready for lunch - whether I brought the food myself or got takeout from the food hall.

5. Buy Ingredients from Bulk Bins

Our final tip is one that we used to love until COVID hit: buying dried goods and staples from bulk bins in the grocery store. If your supermarket allows it, bring your own jars or containers to store these items. That way, you will buy only as much as you need, avoid extra packaging, and reuse containers you already have; this is a great way to give that plastic takeout container a second life!

Let's Chat

What are your favorite ways to be sustainable at home? Are you participating in Plastic Free July? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


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