With over 2 billion tons of waste being dumped every year, it’s no wonder that the sustainably-conscious are moving towards a zero-waste lifestyle. Being smarter about our choices and reducing how much we throw away positively affects our planet and the lives of many around the world.
With the amount of trash coming from the kitchen alone (think food scraps, coffee filters, plastic food packaging, and plenty more), targeting your kitchen is a fantastic waste elimination strategy. Thankfully, there’s a growing number of innovative zero-waste products being created all the time. Luckily for you, we’ve searched for the best brands and products to integrate in your home. We’ve also grouped them up so you can easily find what you’re looking for:
- Our top recommendations for waste-free kitchen products
- 10 best zero-waste kitchen tools and utensils for a sustainable home
- 10 best zero-waste products for food storage and organization
- 10 innovative zero-waste kitchen products to make your life easier
To make sure you are at least getting a look at the very best options, we’re starting you off with our top recommendations.
Our top recommendations for waste-free kitchen products
If you only want to get one or two products, we would highly suggest choosing from this list of top five recommendations. Each of these was chosen for their combined ease-of-use, sustainable impact, and ethical production.
- Best zero-waste kitchen composter: Lomi
- Best zero-waste kitchen towel: Swedish Dishcloths
- Best waste-free kitchen cleaner: Dish Soap Block
- Best zero-waste kitchen sponge: Casa Agave Dish Brush
- Best zero-waste food storage: Beeswax Food Wrap
10 best zero-waste kitchen tools and utensils for a sustainable home
Our kitchens are full of products for any and every job. Often, though, these aren’t made to last, or are made of plastic, and will end up littering a landfill in a few years. Instead, these waste-free kitchen tools and utensils focus on being long-lasting and made from sustainable materials – most of which will be compostable once they reach the end of their life.
Image Credit: ChicoBag
Anytime you grab some takeout or go out for fast food, you’re likely to get handed a little package of plastic utensils. All of that disposable cutlery adds up to over 260,000 tons of plastic pollution.
A great way to deal with that is to carry around your own package of reusable utensils. This To-Go Ware set of bamboo utensils is ideal for that. They’re small, lightweight, and include everything you could need.
Next time you go out to eat, turn down those flimsy plastic utensils!
Why you need it: Being made of bamboo, these utensils are completely biodegradable and compostable. As a bonus, the carrying case is made out of recycled plastic bottles!
2. Bamboo straw
Just like with the fast-food cutlery, single-use plastic straws are difficult to recycle and are a major detriment to the environment. The good news is that this is another easy fix on your part – just start carrying around your own reusable straw!
This bamboo straw by Brush With Bamboo is a terrific option. Like the bamboo utensils, this straw is lightweight and easy to carry around with you. Plus, the bamboo will easily biodegrade at the end of its life.
Why you need it: A reusable straw will help keep plastic out of waterways and oceans, which is a big deal to marine life. Plus, you can have a matching set with this straw and the zero-waste utensils above!
If you’ve got your own reusable straw (which you should definitely get), you’ll also need some way to clean your straw. There are plenty of plastic straw brushes available, but that kind of defeats the purpose. Instead, your best option for a straw cleaner is this agave fiber straw cleaner from Brush With Bamboo.
These brush cleaners are made from natural and sustainably sourced agave fibers, which make fantastic bristles for cleaning. The cleaner’s handle is stainless steel, making this a plastic-free product.
Why you need it: Every straw needs cleaner, and this is a durable and eco-friendly alternative to plastic cleaners. The agave fibers also become flexible when wet, making them a great fit for plenty of straw sizes.
If you’re one of the many coffee drinkers among us, this reusable coffee cup from the Zero Waste Store is a must-have. The glass body and upcycled cork band make this an especially sustainable choice of coffee cup.
Whether you’re making coffee to go in the morning or you’re stopping at your favorite coffee shop on the way to work, a reusable travel mug is the way to go!
Price: $27.00 for 12oz or $29.00 for 16oz
Why you need it: While there are lots of plastic travel mugs available, choosing a reusable glass cup is better for two reasons: a glass cup won’t add plastic to a landfill once it reaches its end of life, and (unlike plastic) glass won’t hold onto old flavors and aromas.
Another issue related to coffee is the amount of disposable coffee filters that get thrown out. Choosing to keep a reusable coffee filter over disposable ones is a smart decision. This stainless steel coffee filter from the Zero Waste Club is the most sustainable option due to its versatile design and long lifespan.
Why you need it: Although you might worry about cleaning a fine mesh filter every day, this coffee filter is dishwasher safe, making it easy to take care of. Buying one of these filters also means you’ll be giving to the earth, as Zero Waste Club plants a tree for everything you purchase!
Image Credit: Khala & Co.
If a stainless steel coffee filter isn’t what you’re looking for, you’re still in luck. You could, instead, opt for these organic cotton coffee filters. These durable waste-free coffee filters come in a variety of sizes for different needs, and they’re all made right in Colorado.
Get ready to enjoy your coffee guilt-free!
Why you need it: With each organic cotton filter lasting for a year, you’re going to be saving lots of money on coffee filters. After that year has passed, these filters are fully compostable.
We all need various cleaners for different jobs: dish soap, dishwasher soap, multi-purpose cleaner, and possibly even more. The standard way to go about this is to buy a bunch of separate cleaners (in plastic containers) and continuously replace them as they run out.
The better way to go about this is to stock up on reusable spray bottles and use plastic-free refills to fill your bottles. You can also easily fill your own glass spray bottles with DIY cleaners.
Why you need it: This glass spray bottle from Saged Home comes with a DIY cleaner recipe right on the label! You won’t even have to look for the recipe again when the cleaner is gone.
Funnels are great for a number of reasons. When it comes to zero waste, they are a wonderful tool for avoiding unnecessary messes that would result in waste. They’re also extremely helpful for transferring cleaners into reusable spray bottles.
Why you need it: Even better than a standard funnel is a collapsible one. These silicone funnels take up very little storage space, and they’re even plastic-free!
Standard water filters are commonly made from plastic, which means they’ll inevitably end up in a landfill somewhere. The Kishu charcoal water filter is the perfect zero-waste kitchen swap in this case.
All you need to do is put this stick of charcoal in your water pitcher and will start purifying right away. Each stick will last about 4 months before needing to be replaced.
Why you need it: Once this water filter has reached its end of life, it can be used again as a deodorizer for the refrigerator. Also, since it’s literally just charcoal, it is easily compostable.
The moso bamboo soap shelf by No Tox Life is an attractive addition to any zero-waste kitchen. The bamboo material makes it compostable, and it facilitates the use of soap bars rather than bottles of soap (which tend to be plastic).
Why you need it: This soap shelf is raised with slats to ensure there’s no messy water buildup. These shelves are also quite large and should give you plenty of space for your soap and dish brushes.
10 best zero-waste products for food storage and organization
Everybody needs to eat, which means everybody needs somewhere to put their food. Sustainable products to store and organize our food are the real zero-waste kitchen essentials. Here are the products we’d suggest adding to your home:
11. Mason jars
Image Credit: Ella Olsson
Mason jars are all around some of the most versatile and sustainable supplies you can add to your kitchen. They’re ideal for food storage, are easy to clean, and can even be used for pickling your vegetables.
However, our favorite use for these glass jars is to go grocery shopping with them. Instead of buying food in plastic packaging, you can go to the bulk section of your grocery store and put whatever you need straight into your jars. Just be sure to ask an employee about your store’s policies regarding using your own containers.
Category: Storage and Organization
Why you need it: Mason jars are the right solution for a variety of situations. Add being durable and plastic-free to that and they’re ideal in just about every household.
12. Glass spice jars
A cupboard full of spices isn’t uncommon for those who like to cook at home. When bought at grocery stores, though, spices generally come in plastic bags and plastic bottles. Just like with mason jars, the best way to deal with that is to bring your own little spice jars to the bulk section and fill them directly. Of course, if you want enough of a single spice, you can fill up a whole mason jar instead.
Category: Storage and Organization
Why you need it: An organized cupboard of labeled glass spice jars is a beautiful sight to behold, and one that helps save the planet!
13. Canvas tote bags
These gorgeous canvas tote bags are available in a variety of prints. Their durability and supportive shoulder straps also make them ideal for grocery shopping. You can easily reduce the amount of single-use plastic waste by using eco-friendly alternatives such as these tote bags.
Category: Storage and Organization
Why you need it: These tote bags are made from organic and compostable materials, and can be machine-washed for easy care. Net Zero Co. will also plant a tree when you buy one of their totes.
Another easy way to save on waste when grocery shopping is by bringing some reusable produce bags with you. The organic cotton mesh produce bags by Colony Co. come in different sizes, and even have their tare weight stitched on their labels to make checkout even quicker.
Price: $20.00 for assorted 6-pack
Category: Storage and Organization
Why you need it: Having the right reusable bag for every situation will mean you won’t need to rely on plastic bags. Having compostable bags, like these organic cotton ones, is even better.
15. Linen bread bags
Image Credit: Lakeshore Linen
Yet another bag on our list, but we promise it’s worth it! Once again, this can reduce plastic waste from shopping by getting bread straight from the bakery instead of the grocery shelves. It will also help keep your bread nice and fresh at home.
Category: Storage and Organization
Why you need it: The linen bags are sturdy and will prevent your bread from going stale. They can also be machine washed, and will be compostable at the end of its life.
16. Food Huggers
Food Huggers are an innovative waste-free kitchen product that is ideal for people often cooking with only part of a fruit or vegetable. These silicone covers are designed to hug the open end of cut vegetables, and come in many shapes and sizes to do so.
Food Huggers are perfect for reducing waste and keeping your fruits and veggies fresh for longer. There’s a variety of available bundles, so you’re sure to find one that’s right for you.
Why you need it: You won’t need to worry anymore about finding a container small enough for your bell pepper half, and you definitely won’t need to throw it in a disposable sandwich bag when you give up looking.
Food Huggers has also designed flexible silicone and glass bowl lids that will fit what you already own. No need to transfer that bowl of food to a container, just grab one of your Food Huggers bowl lids. And don’t worry – while the silicone portion creates a flexible fit, the tempered glass is plenty durable.
Why you need it: Only buying covers instead of full container sets means you’ll be reducing waste simply by owning fewer supplies. These flexible bowl lids are highly useful, easy to clean, and sustainable.
For a one-size-fits-all solution, you may want to check out this beeswax food wrap by Beeswrap. These wraps are made from organic cotton cloth, beeswax (or plant-based wax), plant oil, and tree resin. Those all come together to create a wrap that can easily mold around whatever you want it to, and one that will keep your food fresh!
With a few of these in your kitchen, you can easily eliminate the need to use single-use plastics like plastic wrap.
Why you need it: Beeswax wraps can be molded to fit whatever you need them for, making them the ideal zero-waste household product.
Sandwich bags are perfect for packing work and school lunches. However, the amount of plastic waste from disposable sandwich bags is less than perfect. Reusable silicone sandwich bags solve that issue while also looking far more fun than a plastic bag.
Why you need it: These Stasher bags are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer friendly, making them the ultimate storage solution. Get a different style bag for each member of the family.
Sometimes bags and wraps just won’t cut it and you need a sturdy container. Brush With Bamboo’s stainless steel lunch boxes are the long-lasting and environmentally friendly containers you’re looking for. The lunch boxes are easy to clean, as well as toxin and BPA-free.
Why you need it: These compact and stackable lunch boxes are easy to store and carry around, and their strong material makes them resistant to bumps and scratches from transport. These sustainable lunch boxes will last you a long time, reducing the number of containers you’d need to purchase over the years.
10 innovative zero-waste kitchen products to make your life easier
These final zero-waste kitchen supplies are all fantastic additions and swaps that will make taking care of your kitchen a breeze.
Lomi is an innovative kitchen appliance designed to hasten the decomposition of organic waste and return their nutrients to nature.
This unique device will break down your kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich dirt that can be used for your own house plants or gardens. Don’t have a garden? The dirt can also be dumped into your home compost, green bins, or garbage.
Category: Kitchen composter
Why you need it: By creating dirt out of the organic waste you put into it, Lomi reduces GHG emissions in the atmosphere, contributing to a healthier environment. You can also use that dirt to enhance your home-grown fruits and vegetables.
No matter how much we work to reduce the waste we produce, we will inevitably create some garbage. Of course, standard garbage bags are also disposable plastic, which worsens the impact of our waste.
A better idea would be to use these reusable trash bags, which can be cleaned between uses. These plastic-free kitchen bags are also waterproof and designed to prevent wicking and leaking, so you’re less likely to get a mess.
Why you need it: Swap single-use plastic bags for these reusable bags to reduce your waste even more and create a sustainable kitchen. Once the bag is full, just empty its contents straight into your outdoor bin and give the bag a wash!
Dish soap tends to come in disposable plastic bottles that we replace when the soap runs out. With No Tox Life’s dish washing block, there’s no plastic involved. Instead, you get a concentrated block of soap made from biodegradable and vegan ingredients.
Why you need it: This sustainable soap can be used to clean more than just your dishes! Test it out on your sink and stove as well.
Image Credit: Dropps
Dishwashers are great for saving both time and water, but unfortunately, plenty of dishwasher detergent pods are packaged in single-use plastic. Dropps fixes that problem by wrapping their pods in completely compostable packaging. On top of that, their pods are free of both dyes and harsh chemicals.
Price: $18.75 subscription or $25.00 single purchase
Why you need it: Get clean dishes on your first run with this strong dishwashing detergent. You also don’t need to worry about ordering these, as Dropps ensures carbon neutral shipping.
If you prefer liquid dishwashing detergent over pods, then this dishwashing liquid concentrate from Ethique is a terrific waste-free choice. Ethique swaps out the standard plastic bottle for compostable cardboard packaging instead.
The soap itself is made of ethically sourced and sustainable ingredients that are rough on oil and grease, but are gentle on your skin.
Why you need it: This sweet orange soap is a sustainable option that will leave your dishes sparkling clean and smelling delicious. All you need is some boiling water and a reusable bottle to put it in.
Ethique has also developed a multi-purpose kitchen spray concentrate with the same great smell and sustainably-sourced ingredients as their dishwashing liquid. Swap the usual random bottle of multi-purpose cleaner you’d get at the store, and pick up this waste-free cleaner instead.
Why you need it: Zero-waste kitchen cleaning is easy with Ethique’s ethical and sustainable products. They’ll also plant a tree for every order you make.
Image Credit: No Tox Life
Conventional sponges and dish brushes are made with plastics. These rub off during washing, sending microplastics into waterways.
Sustainable materials make the CASA AGAVE dish brushes from No Tox Life a much better choice. They’re also long-lasting and can be used for up to 3 months. The brushes are made from sustainably harvested bamboo and palmyra plant fibers, which make excellent bristles.
Why you need it: These high-quality brushes make pot scrubbing easy, but they can also be used for vegetable cleaning and general cleaning in the bathroom.
Good scrub pads are always a necessity in the kitchen to get at that really baked-on food. Thankfully, these EcoCoconut scrub pads are both efficient and eco-friendly.
Made with coconut coir and organic tree rubber latex, these scrub pads are 100% biodegradable.
Why you need it: All packaging and shipping of this product are plastic-free. Not only are these scrub pads waste-free, but they’re also non-scratch and safe to use on non-stick pots and pans.
29. Notpaper towels
Messes happen, but we don’t need to create waste when cleaning them up. Paper towels can be useful, but they’re also wasteful. Well Earth Goods’ notpaper towels efficiently clean up towels without creating unnecessary waste.
These reusable towels are hand-made in Oregon from 100% cotton flannel. They’re large, making them comfortable to use, and they are, importantly, very absorbent.
Price: $29.50 for a 12-pack
Why you need it: Notpaper towels are easy to use, easy to clean, and completely compostable at the end of their life. With a few of these in your kitchen, you definitely won’t need paper towel anymore.
Image Credit: Three Bluebirds
Swedish dishcloths are beautifully designed paper towel replacements. A single dishcloth can replace up to 17 paper towel rolls.
Being made from organic cotton and 100% compostable, these dishcloths are on par with the notpaper towels above. Choose whichever fits your preference!
Why you need it: Any reusable towel is better than paper towels, and these are gorgeous high-quality dishcloths. To top it off, Three Bluebirds contributes to Earth’s water restoration with each dishcloth purchase.
Now that you know about all these high-quality zero-waste kitchen products, it’s time to get your kitchen ready for your waste-free lifestyle. You can also take a look at our blog to learn all about reducing waste, and even how you can use food waste to your benefit. With a Lomi, not only would you be able to reduce GHG emissions from your organic waste, but you can turn that waste into nutrient-rich dirt to benefit your home garden. Make a difference in the environment and your life with the right waste reduction products!
Written by: Sereana Simpson