#1Thing: Best Reusable Kitchen Products

Reusable grocery bag
Photo credit © Ohpolli - Dreamstime.com
By WCBS Newsradio 880
By Lori Melton

Recycling, conserving water, and limiting energy use are three easy, frequently-practiced eco-conscious efforts that can be done at home. Repurposing and reusing items is also a great way to help the earth by reducing the waste that would add to already overcrowded landfills.

Not sure where to start a reusing spree? The kitchen is widely-considered the heart of many homes. As such, it is filled with all kinds of items which might be tossed out. If you’re looking to head in a more eco-conscious direction, we’ve put together a list of some of the best reusable kitchen products below.

Reusable Paper Towels and Cleaning Rags

Yes, paper towels are great for soaking up spills, wiping down counters, and doing double-duty as a napkin. Eco-friendly alternatives include reusable paper towels (also known as “unpaper towels”), which can be used for cleaning and then washed and dried with the rest of the laundry. Cloth napkins look prettier on your dining table or snack bar than disposable paper napkins and can also be laundered for reuse. Paper towels may seem more convenient, but once you make the switch you’ll see how easy it is.

Furthermore, you can repurpose old t-shirts and bath towels to turn them into handy cleaning rags to wipe counters or dust shelves and furniture all over your home.

Reusable Sponges and Scrubbers

We all know sponges can mildew after time and need to be pitched. However, there are eco-friendly sponges which withstand months of heavy use without falling apart. Some brands are made from wood pulp, which doesn’t retain bad odors. Plus, they can be washed in the dishwasher for easy reuse and they are biodegradable.

Furthermore, cute, handmade nylon pot scrubbers don’t scratch pots and can be easily cleaned for reuse in the dishwasher or regular laundry cycle.

Reusable Food Storage Covers

It may seem tough to consider an alternative for handy plastic wrap to cover leftover food dishes. However, plastic wrap doesn’t break down easily and is bad for the environment. Consider silicone bowl lids which are eco-friendly, come in multiple sizes and are stackable to save space. The lids are microwave, freezer, and oven safe for cooking – up to 450 degrees. Just wash them and they are ready for reuse.

If you like the idea of a wrap, Bee’s wrap is an eco-friendly alternative to plastic wrap. Made from organic cotton, beeswax actually helps them stick via the warmth of your hands as you stretch them to mold and fit over bowls. The sheets are washable, reusable and compostable.

Reusable Food Storage Bags

Plastic baggies are convenient for food storage and sorting all sorts of household items. However, they are usually tossed after one or two uses. Fortunately, there are reusable, eco-friendlier options including ripstop nylon food storage bags in various sizes;  reusable, washable mesh storage bags; and cotton, reusable sandwich and snack bags which are perfect for school and work lunches.

Reusable Straws

Trading disposable, plastic straws for a more eco-friendly, stainless steel or glass alternative is becoming increasingly popular, although it remains to be seen if fast food restaurants are willing or able to make the switch. At home or on-the-go, you can carry a stainless steel straw to use as a plastic alternative. They are washable, reusable, and many brands are plastic and BPA free.