Go Green: Kitchen Edition

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As a mama I often find myself thinking about the inheritance I’ll be leaving my children. Not the financial one, but the earth itself. How much of the ocean will be polluted by the time my daughter is old enough to swim on her own? Will the air she breathes make her sick? And where is all this trash going that we dutifully cart to the curb once a week? These questions honestly keep me up at night and they make me feel helpless and weary a lot of the time. But there’s more we can do than we realize and even though it may feel inconsequential, every piece of trash not thrown away is one less piece of a methane-producing landfill.

I’m also a realist. I recognize that life with kids is messy and hard and sometimes you just have to use the plastic straw while you’re out, you forgot the reusable bags, or your baby’s nose is a faucet and you have to use 1,000 tissues in a sitting. Sometimes these types of lists make me feel badly. Like I’m not trying hard enough or I’m not martyring myself enough to the cause. This is not meant to evoke those types of feelings. In these posts, we are simply suggesting simple swaps that may or may not work for your lifestyle. The idea is finding ways to introduce environmentally-friendly products or concepts in your life that stick. For our family, reusable straws make total sense but reusable baggies haven’t so far. Find what works and don’t beat yourself up! The fact that your consciousness is raised, that you are aware and that you are trying is hugely important.

We have personally tried all nine of these products in our home. They are all wonderful, designed well and will reduce your carbon footprint. They are also all available on Amazon (insert praise hands emoji)!

1. Reusable Silicone Straws: Straws are an awesome way to reduce your carbon foot print. I’m sure you’ve read about how straws fall through recycling sorting machines and often end up in the ocean killing wildlife. Tossing these in your bag or using the smoothie size ones when sipping at home is an easy switch with a big impact.

2. Cotton Produce Bags: These nifty bags are perfect for throwing in your reusable grocery bags when heading to the store. They’re machine washable and the weight is listed on the side so cashiers can easily deduct it. An added bonus is they look pretty cute filled with all your produce in the fridge!

3. Reusable Utensils with Case: These bamboo utensils are easy to toss in your purse or diaper bag for eating out. I haven’t mastered remembering to pack them with the millions of items I’m usually tossing in to the diaper bag but I’m working on it!

4. Reusable Bamboo Towels: One roll of these washable, reusable paper towels replaces six months of paper towels! We use a ton of paper towels in our house (hello, feeding a one year old) so this is a huge way to reduce our use!

5. Reusable Zip-Up Bags: The first brand we tried was a bit cumbersome but these open and close much more easily. Washing them is a breeze but making sure they get dry requires a bit more effort (tenting them on our dish rack works.)

6. Reusable Food Wrap: I really love these! They have an old fashioned feel and I find that they preserve food really well. They have a light, pleasant beeswax smell and texture.

7. Reusable Lids: Another alternative to plastic wrap that makes post-meal clean up a bit more eco-friendly and makes for a pretty, organized fridge.

8. Reusable Shopping Bags: I keep a couple of these in my diaper bag and in the car for small shops so I never end up having to use the plastic bags from the store. They’re also useful for storage around the house!

9. Linen Bread Bags: Besides making me feel very European, these bags keep moisture levels balanced and preserve freshness really well. We used to put all our bread in baggies and now we can just toss it in these and put them in a basket on the counter.

LivingNatalie Ehrlich