reusable containers and bags

5 small investments for a more eco-friendly kitchen

These small eco investments will help you on your thrifty journey while reducing your carbon footprint

reusable containers and bags

Let’s face it, being eco and sustainable can be pricey. Being eco-friendly, going to zero-waste shops and buying eco-substitutes to everything you might need can burn a hole in your wallet if you don’t do it carefully. 

More often than not, this can put people off the idea of making sustainable swaps. A recent survey showed that 65% of consumers now are asking for brands to embrace sustainability and would like to see more eco-friendly products on the shelves. However, only 26% actually proceed to buy sustainable brands due to inaccessible prices. 

But don’t get disheartened just yet. This guide to small eco investments for your kitchen will make you proud of living a more sustainable life while saving you some money, too.

1. Reusable produce bags

A study by the Centre of Biological Diversity shows that only 1% of plastic bags are recycled, be it shopping bags or small sandwich bags. Investing in reusable bags can be a great solution to start your journey to a more sustainable life. We all know that supermarkets can offer disposable plastic bags for a much cheaper price. However, a good deal is not only about the up-front cost; it’s also about the long-term that really makes the difference.

Cost: Reusable bags are more expensive and can cost up to £2.00 each, with most brands selling a set of five bags for around £10.00 However, these are bags that can last for a really long time and even forever if kept with care. Single-use plastic bags can cost up to £2.00 a bundle, which in a year can amount to as much as £12.00 on top of the environmental impact that these have. 

Materials: The most sustainable and the most common material used for reusable produce bags is organic cotton, which is a renewable and biodegradable natural fibre. However, other materials such as PEVA (polyethylene vinyl acetate), a sustainable and biodegradable synthetic plastic, and silicone are also a much more sustainable option than normal plastic bags thanks to their durability and the fact that they can be recycled easily. 

2. Reusable baking paper

This is one of the easiest swaps. Aluminium foil and baking paper are some of the most wasteful products on the market. Aluminium foil also requires a lot of greenhouse gases to be produced and the recycling process can be quite difficult. Instead, reusable baking paper is durable, easy to use and easy to wash.

Cost: You can find reusable baking paper for pretty much the same price as aluminium foil, around £4.00. However, reusable baking paper is part of those eco-investments that will save you money and time when you run out. Reusable baking paper can last up to two years if used a lot, or even longer if only occasionally used. 

Material: Most reusable baking paper is made of silicone, which is the better evil in this case. Of course, you could go without using paper altogether, if you wash your baking trays carefully, but this is a great small investment if you’d like to use baking paper.

3. Reusable kitchen roll

Did you know that dirty kitchen rolls can’t be recycled? No? Well, you’re not the only one. A study by the British Science Association showed that kitchen roll is commonly mistaken as recyclable. Kitchen rolls are often made from already recycled paper and that means that the fibres are already too short to go through the process of recycling again. However, fear not, because bamboo has got your back! You can now find reusable kitchen roll made of bamboo paper which works in the same way as normal kitchen roll but can go straight into the washing machine with your clothes. One roll can last up to the equivalent of 65 single-use kitchen rolls.

Cost: Online, you can find reusable kitchen roll for around £8.00, which seems like a lot for one roll, but how much would 65 rolls cost? Tesco sells two reusable kitchen rolls for £5.00, which, after some simple calculations, amounts up to £325.00, mad right? 

Material: Bamboo is a really popular material among zero-wasters because it requires no fertilisers to grow and it even self-regenerates from its own roots, making it a very sustainable crop. 

4. Stainless containers and glass containers

Stainless containers are great to keep food cold

Using reusable containers is the basics. However, reusable plastic Tupperware, despite being better than single-use plastic, is still the enemy. The environmental impact of the production of plastic Tupperware is still really high. Glass and stainless steel containers are the best swaps to make for both the environment, your health, and your pocket. 

Cost: Price and durability are tricky subjects when it comes to Tupperware because reusable plastic containers are quite durable and are almost unbeatable in price. However, there are options to buy stainless steel and glass Tupperware and be thrifty. For example, IKEA’s glass containers, which can be used as an oven pan as well, are being sold at very reasonable prices, some starting from £2.00.

Material: Metal containers are great for packed meals and freezing food, while glass Tupperware works best as storage containers for dried fruit, nuts and pasta.

5. Food huggers

Statistics by Wrap, the waste advisory organisation, show that the average British family wastes £700.00 worth of food each year, most of this due to vegetables and other food going bad in the fridge. Despite the silly name, food huggers could be the eco-investment that many need to reduce the amount of food that goes bad in the wait to be eaten. They are reusable silicone covers that help preserve the freshness of leftover fruits and vegetables which can be wrapped around products and help keep it fresh and at the same time, avoid the spread of bacteria. 

Cost: You can find pretty food huggers for about £5.00 for a set of five which will also help you reduce your usage of cling film and aluminium foil.

Material: There are plenty of options out there, but some of the most common food huggers are made from silicone.

BONUS: Pasta straw

This little trick will save a lot of turtles and some pennies as well. When you next buy bucatini pasta for your carbonara, set a few bucatini aside to use as free straw with your drinks.

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