When it comes to sustainable and zero-waste living, there are so many incredibly innovative and creative alternatives to the throw-away items of years past. Ethos founders Jackie and Jill are obsessed with these eco kitchen items.
How often does your kitchen trash bin make you wince? If you’re like us, the thought of sending anything to a landfill breaks your heart. It’s understandable—our waste-making habit is a big problem for the planet (you can read more about that here). Fortunately, when it comes to the kitchen especially, there are sustainable and zero-waste alternatives to virtually every product. And they’re often a bona fide upgrade to the originals, too, made from higher quality materials and with designs that match your style and your ethos.
1. Bamboo Compost Bin
As a permanent city dweller, I never thought I would be able to really commit to composting. However, about six years ago I discovered a local organic farm that would pick up my compost scrapes on a weekly basis and cultivate them into organic soil. As a plant-based household, most of our “garbage” was food scraps and I was elated to find somewhere that would take them.
That was until I moved three years ago—and my new city doesn’t have this service. I was devastated until I found home composting kits like this one. I was able to take my composting addiction to the next level and turn my scraps into soil all on my own! This bamboo compost bin is sustainably made and easy for newbies and experts.
2. Glass and Stainless Steel Pour-Over
If you are a coffee addict like me you have probably gone through your fair share of coffee makers. I found that no matter how high-end my electric coffee maker was, without fail it would die after a few years. I was so sick of having to toss out a relatively new appliance, not to mention all that plastic!
After tossing out yet another overpriced coffee maker I switched to a pour-over. Not only was it more sustainably made, with glass and stainless steel versus plastic, it also would last for decades if I took care of it. It also looked so much cuter on my kitchen counter!
Need some fair-trade coffee to go with your new pour-over? Check out our founders’ favorite brands.
3. Silicone Lids
How is it that you can never find a matching container and lid when you need it? My cupboards are pretty organized and I still have issues. That was until I got these silicone lids. They are such a time saver when I am meal prepping or need to save leftovers and the pot lid is nowhere to be found. The variety of sizes are perfect for all your kitchen storage needs. Never use plastic wrap again!
4. Soma Water Filter Pitcher
Growing up in the country I never paid much attention to my water. We had delicious and pretty clean natural spring water at our disposal. When I moved to the city, however, I quickly became aware of what was lurking in the city’s drinking water. I actually had a pretty severe breakout reaction to it, particularly during the winter months when salt was dispersed in generous amounts and therefore easily found its way into the drinking water.
I switched to a water filter that winter and have never looked back. This sustainable pitcher from Soma uses responsible materials to shrink water and chemical usage in their products. The long-lasting filter is made of coconut and charcoal to sustainably clean your water without chemicals.
5. Stasher Reusable Silicone Bags
We’ve come a long way from my elementary school days where lunch came wrapped in plastic film or plastic bags and then stuffed into a paper bag. While the throw-away lunch may have been easier for my parents, it didn’t do the planet any favors.
For my daughter’s lunches, I love the Stasher reusable silicone bags. Not only do they keep unnecessary waste out of landfills, but they are far superior in preventing leaks, too. It keeps food fresh, and they’re so easy to wash and store.
6. ZeroWaste’ly Unpaper Towels
We moved to reusable hand towels and napkins years ago. But there was always a roll of paper towels lingering in the kitchen for what I liked to call “icky” duty. (It’s got an entire chapter in the parenting handbook someone needs to write.) Call it a security blanket of sorts, I always felt like i just couldn’t be paper-towel-free.
ZeroWaste’ly is changing all of that. With the cute and colorful roll of reusable cotton towels, you’ll easily trick yourself into thinking these are the same as those disposable paper towels. Highly absorbant and machine-washable, you’ll master the Art of Ick with ease with towels you can use and re-roll again and again.
7. Aarke Carbonator
Sparkling water is practically a religion in our house. Since my daughter was a toddler, she’s been hooked. It’s a great way to get her to drink more water in general instead of the sweetened stuff. But it produces a lot of waste.
Even if you make every effort to place your cans and bottles into recycling bins, there’s no guarantee they’re going to get properly recycled. So the best option? Stop using them altogether.
We had another, more popular soda-making machine, but it broke after a short period of use and wasn’t easy to clean, either. The Aarke offers a sleek alternative. It’s easy to use, and comes with a safe, nontoxic bottle to make and store your carbonated water in. And while that’s a plastic bottle (PET), it’s not meant as a one-time use. It’ll last years, keeping plastic, glass, or cans out of landfills.