Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

     Over the past two years, I have been working diligently to make my kitchen more eco friendly. Some things were easy fixes – like switching from paper towels to reusable cloth rags. Other things I really struggled to find good options for – like dishwasher detergent that actually worked! In these last two years, I have tried a lot of products. I wanted to share with you my absolute favorites – so you can try them too! Here are the Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products I’ve found and come to love!

     One thing I’d like to note: just like transitioning to a plant based diet, or making any major changes, it is best to take gradual steps, and to be patient with yourself. It DOES take a while to get used to giving up convenience items – things like paper towels, napkins, plastic trash bags, and other disposable products make life really easy! Keep this in mind when you are working towards making a more eco friendly kitchen.

**Note that these are not in any particular order of importance.

Top 10 Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products You Need Right Now

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

     I’ve tried a lot of different ‘eco friendly’ sponges, but this one takes the cake. At first, I was trying a lot of grocery store brand sponges. Whatever Giant had that was ‘eco friendly’ would be what I would get. Like, the non-bleached Scotch brand sponges. Or ‘Twist’ brand sponges from Whole Foods (those were horrendous, by the way). Eventually, I realized that these eco friendly sponges were still being thrown out often because they were deteriorating at a really fast rate. I knew I could do better.
     Enter: The Tawashi Brush

     These were recommended to me by someone on Instagram. I can honestly say, I will never go back. In the large photo above, you can see two brand new ones next to one that I’ve been using daily for about, 3 months (it’s also wet, which is why its darker). The only wear I can see is that the bristles have spread out a little bit; but they are just as stiff as the day I started using it. It takes cooked on food in my pots and pans and removes it with ease. It holds soap decently, too.

     You could also easily use a Tawashi around the house for any kind of scrubbing power – the shower or tub, sinks, toilets, whatever. You could even use it as a vegetable scrub brush. They absolutely are amazing! I am betting these will last me years before I need to throw them out. And when I do, I can feel better about it knowing that the bristles are a natural material, and there is just a small amount of wire holding it together.

Keeping it Sanitary

     As for keeping it clean or sanitary – I often throw it in my dishwasher when I run a load. Or, if it is really gross, I will boil it in water & vinegar. My only complaint is that when you scrub dishes with a lot of cooked on food, the food can get caught in the bristles and you have to manually brush it out with your hands. There might be a way around that, but I haven’t found it yet. Usually I rinse it really well, and then hang it to dry on a small hook above my sink. 

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

     I love my dishwasher. I lived without one for a few years and it was not fun – doing dishes is NOT my favorite thing to do. Not to mention that dishwashers (particularly new energy & water efficient ones), are way better at conserving water than a human hand washing dishes!

     Unfortunately, finding an eco friendly dishwashing detergent has been one of the more difficult things to find. We tried many of them, and were always disappointed. I would have to mix them with a detergent that I knew worked well (that usually wasn’t eco friendly), so I didn’t waste what I had already purchased. I tried a few store brands (ones I found at Giant), that didn’t work. Then, I tried a Seventh Generation liquid detergent that worked pretty well, but it came in a plastic container. (I’ve really been trying to cut out buying plastic as much as I can!). So most recently, I’ve been using these

If You Care tabs

that I found at Whole Foods and I love them!

     They work REALLY well. And, they come in a recycled cardboard box, so you aren’t purchasing plastic! Not tested on animals. No phosphates, and no chlorine.

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

     One of the easiest things you can do to cut back on waste in the kitchen is to stop buying disposable cleaning products. This includes paper towels and disinfectant wipes! These can easily be replaced with cotton rags and dish towels with a homemade cleaning solution. These can be found all over the place for next to nothing. You can even retire old bath or beach towels and cut them to a smaller size! I’ve found them several places, including Ikea, Walmart, Target, thrift stores, etc. 

     It takes a little while to get used to not having paper towels around, but you’ll soon realize how much better these work! Typically, I have one ‘clean’ dish towel I use all week on my dishes. I also dirty a few of those cheap thin dish rags in a week. Once they have been used for a few days, I toss them downstairs in the basement and wash them all at the end of the week. You can quickly wipe up messes, then rinse them in the sink and hang to dry. I use lots of them when cleaning!

    I usually dislike microfiber cloths for a number of reasons. I find that a lot of them pill up, stick to things, pick up lint from other sources, and even stick to themselves. This particular brand however, I really love for scrubbing/cleaning counters, appliances, and my stove. They have a really great scrubbing power! They also work well for dusting. Additionally, they are small, so they’re easy to get wet in the sink, ring out, and hang to dry. And they are 100% lint free. I never worry about lint from other rags or towels sticking to them out of the wash. 

 

     The one downside to these, is that they are not the best quality. I had a few of the sewn in loops for hanging dry unravel in the wash. I just tied them in a knot and cut them off. However, that loop binding is much less important to me than the texture of the cloth! And like I said, these are incredible and are actually lint free, unlike most other microfiber cloths. And they’ve held up well for the last 8 months I’ve had them otherwise!

     Norwex cloths are essentially very good antimicrobial & antibacterial cleaning cloths. They have a silver weave that keeps them from mildewing and smelling awful. This means that you can use them over and over, and as long as you dry them properly, they won’t stink! Norwex has a plethora of different types for different jobs. My personal favorite is the vegetable scrub cloth (pictured below on the left). I use this to clean all of my fruits and veggies! But they also have ones for general cleaning, too.

     The Veggie & Fruit Scrub cloth works really well for cleaning produce. You don’t even have to peel carrots or potatoes. By applying varying amounts of pressure you can just clean the dirt off, or even scrub off the skin if needed. My friend (who got me the veggie cloth) swears by all of her Norwex cleaning cloths.

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

    I looked for a LONG time to find the right compostable bag that would fit a standard trash can and let me tell you – it wasn’t easy! But we’ve been using these for over a year now and we absolutely love them. This is one of my favorite eco friendly kitchen products we use.

    What’s so great about them? 

     So here’s the deal with compostable bags – they are more expensive than your average plastic garbage bag, and they don’t hold up as well. However – you can rest assured knowing you aren’t putting more plastic into the waste stream. These bags will degrade relatively quickly once they hit the landfill.
     These particular bags are BPI-certified (not all compostable bags are). The Biodegradable Products Institute awards its leaf & tree symbol only to items that meet stringent scientific standards, and to those which will biodegrade quickly and safely in landfills. This means that no lead or other toxins will leach into the water table, and they will not create more environmental harm when broken down!

 How well do compostable Trash bags Actually work?

     With all of that being said, we did have to change the way we did our garbage. Now that we also have a compost service and a garbage disposal, this is less of a problem. But, you can’t just throw any kind of liquid food item in here – especially not if its at the bottom of a fresh bag that is about to sit in the can for a week. It will cause the bag to begin to break down. So, you might need to put something else in first and layer it, or just in general, be more aware of what you are throwing out. However, as long as your trash is relatively dry, and you take it out every few days or no longer than once a week, you should have no problems!

     These are much better than other brands we have tried, and are less expensive (about .35 cents per bag).

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

     The reusable eco friendly kitchen product for people who use a lot of parchment paper and tin foil: The Silpat. The Silpat is a silicone baking mat for sheet pans. (They also make different sizes for different pan types). Typically, these are used for baking. However, I have been using mine for roasting veggies & chick peas and it has worked REALLY well!

     People say not to use oil on them, and that they are solely for baking, but I haven’t had an issue with that so far. I just scrub them really well with dish soap and hot water with the Tawashi (both sides), and then let air dry. If I don’t clean it well enough, it does still feel greasy. One thing you do not want to do, however, is cut on these! Also, make sure to measure your pan before purchasing – I didn’t and mine is just a little too big for my pan! I was sure to purchase a Silpat and not an off brand mat, because I wanted to be sure the mat would withstand high temperatures up to 450° when roasting or broiling.
     You know how plastic Tupperware gets really gross over time with that white stuff on the sides? Or how it gets stained by sauces? That doesn’t happen with glass! Plus, you don’t have to worry about plastic leeching into your food when you heat it up. And, if you don’t use a microwave, it makes for a much easier storage > reheating > eating process with fewer dishes (can’t put plastic in the oven)!

     I also do my best to save as many glass jars and bottles as possible to reuse. I’ve ended up getting great 32oz water bottles this way, and some great jars for beans, nuts, or even drinking smoothies out of! Glass isn’t always the easiest to recycle (some counties don’t even recycle it) so reusing as much as possible is always preferred! 

Best Eco Friendly Kitchen Products | Home with Willow | Katie Emmitt

9. Berkey Water Purification System

     Now, my thoughts on the Berkey water filter I have could fill an entire other blog post, so I will try to keep it brief. In short, I LOVE this filter!
     For years I was using a Brita filter. They’re seemingly inexpensive, easy to buy, and do an okay job. Over time, however, I began to realize just how many filters I was buying, and how every time I bought a new one, my old plastic one was going right in the trash. Plus, my water was sitting in plastic all day and all night, and it had to be refilled constantly. And lets be real – I probably wasn’t changing the filter as often as I needed to.

Here’s where the Berkey comes in to play

     Someone on Instagram suggested this to me, so I started looking into it. Let me tell you, these systems are seriously amazing.

     Here’s the deal: Two Berkey Filters (costs about $107) will filter 99.99% of pathogens in 6,000 gallons of water! That’s roughly 2 cents per gallon of the best water you will ever drink.

     By comparison, a standard Brita filter costs about $4 (depending where you buy,) and filters 40 gallons. That comes out to be 10 cents per gallon of water. A standard Brita filter only claims to filter out chlorine taste & smell, mercury, cadmium, copper, and zinc. There are dozens of heavy metals and contaminants that a Brita filter does not filter out! AND IT COSTS MORE! AND you’re putting more plastic into the waste stream.

     You can see why I am so passionate about this Berkey filter! It works so well, you could even bring it camping and filter stream water. Or in an emergency, filter pool water, and it would be good enough to drink. It is my all time favorite eco friendly kitchen product I have because I won’t have to replace the filters for about 8 years (with just the two of us in the house). Plus, its good for you!

     Its not hard to see why the Keurig coffee machine disposable pods are not environmentally friendly. In 2016, they sold more than 9 million non-recyclable disposable K-Cups. Those all went into landfills. 

     Its true, they are now making recyclable pods, and pods that are multi use (multiple cups of coffee), but they are hardly eco friendly. And many people find peeling off the foil and dumping the grounds to be a hassle.

     I personally don’t drink coffee (and if I do, it is French pressed and added to my Dairy Free Frosty), but Colin has begun to drink it after he got a free Keurig from a friend. The first thing we did was order one of these reusable cups! If you are a coffee drinker, addicted to these Keurig machines (or have one at work) – I highly recommend getting a reusable K-Cup! This is a very easy eco friendly kitchen product – and a great way to cut back on waste!

Did you enjoy this review page? Have other suggestions for us? Show us on Instagram #homewithwillow, comment below, or join our Facebook group!

Eco Friendly Kitchen Products – Product Reviews

4 thoughts on “BEST ECO FRIENDLY KITCHEN PRODUCTS

  1. Caren Pita says:

    Hi Katie! I think this is the first time I’ve read your blog and it’s really great! Awesome work, lady!

    I wanted to add something I have learned about using glass jars for food storage (which I do a LOT). Freezing in glass is usually a no-no, but it can be done if you do two things: 1. leave adequate headspace and 2. use ONLY STRAIGHT SIDES JARS. For freezing broth or other liquid things, I leave 3/4-1″ space at the top of a small jar. Quart jars (even the wide mouth ones) have “shoulders” and so aren’t great for freezing (although you could if you left an inch of space clear below the shoulders, but it’s still a chore to get anything out past the shoulders, so I don’t bother). Smaller jars are usually straight sided, and work nicely for freezing. To get the frozen contents out, place jar under a gentle stream of COLD water. Putting the jar in hot water or putting the frozen jar into the microwave with probably break the jar and get glass in your broth.

    If you find good labels for glass jars that won’t come off in the freezer or fridge but will come off when you want, please share! I haven’t solved that problem yet. Maybe gaffer tape? You know I have tons of that stuff!

    <3 Caren

    • Katie Emmitt says:

      Thanks Caren! I don’t do a lot of freezing but those are all AWESOME points!!
      I haven’t seen any, I know my grandma used to use masking tape if I remember correctly? Have you ever tried that before? Gaffer might work, might leave a bit of a residue though!

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