14 tips for an eco-friendly kitchen

Over the last few years since The Eco Shop began, we've added more and more fantastic eco-friendly kitchen products to the shop, and we've also started working with specialists in the field to create our own product lines, as we can see what a difference they can make to the overall eco-friendliness of a home. The team here are so incredibly satisfied with the positive impact they have made on our own homes, we thought we would share our top 14 tips and products for an eco-friendly kitchen, along with a detailed description about the products we use and why we love them.

Thanks to these products, we are throwing away less food, we are not using wasteful sponges or paper towels, we no longer buy any kitchen cleaning products in plastic bottles, and we're making our own staple foods to minimise packaging in the weekly shop. The difference in how little we are adding to our black waste bins and recycling bins because of all of this is very noticeable. Imagine if every home in the UK adopted a similar approach? We're sure tonnes of rubbish and recycling would be avoided. Making your kitchen more eco-friendly is quite easy, it comes down to learning new habits, and switching less eco-friendly products out for their greener counterparts.  

Here are our top 14 tips and products, including UNPaper towels, washable sponges, reusable produce bags, compostable cloths, plastic-free dish brushes, dishwashing soap bars, cleaning spray cleaning pods and bottles, food wraps, reusable bread bags, stainless steel containers, zero waste food shopping bags, plus 5 ideas from our team for making your own zero waste staple foods.

1. Reusable Produce Bags 

The reusable produce bags from Our Future Is Green are the perfect companion when shopping for fresh vegetables, fruit and dried produce. And they are also fantastic to use at home to store and organise fresh food in your fridge and pantry. They are made from a special fabric made out of recycled plastic bottles, so buying these helps to reduce harmful plastic bottles from heading to landfill - or worse - the ocean!! They are machine washable, and are 100% recyclable. They are also incredibly lightweight so they barely register on the weighing scales in your supermarket or zero waste shop. There are 8 bags in a pack, and they all fit inside a handy carry pouch including a clip, making them super easy to transport and store.


2. UNpaper Towels  

marleys monsters unpaper towels

Marley's Monsters UNpaper Towels have been exceptionally popular since we added them to the shop. They are designed to replace paper towels which are thrown away after being used for a mere few seconds. The creation of these paper towels uses precious trees and water, and they can be entirely avoided by switching to something which can be thrown in the washing machine once used. Marleys Monsters offer a variety of designs and pack sizes, plus an option which includes a handmade wooden towel holder. You can use UNpaper Towels for many things around the house including mopping up spillages, cleaning surfaces, wiping little faces and hands, and as napkins at the dinner table. >>Shop here


3. Cleaning Pods & Bottles 

OceanSaver Dissolvable Cleaning Pods  

OceanSaver Cleaning Pods are designed to make any cleaning spray bottle reusable. Simply add the pod to water and shake it up until it has dissolved, and you have a brand new cleaning spray! We have tried every pod in our homes and we think they're fantastic, they smell lovely and work as well as any other cleaning spray. They are also 100% vegan and cruelty-free, not something many highstreet brands can claim! Pods are available in individual packs, including multi-purpose, kitchen cleaner, bathroom cleaner, glass cleaner, and floor cleaner. Or you can get a handy starter pack of 5 or bottle and pod sets. OceanSaver also provide reusable cleaning spray bottles which are made from strong plastic and are designed to last. And they have just launched a brand new range of plant based formula cleaning pods too! >>Shop here     


4. Dishwashing Soap Bar  

dishwashing soap bar 

The EcoLiving Dishwashing Soap bar acts as a washing-up liquid. You hold the bar under a warm tap and scrub it to create a milky coloured water, then you return the bar to your soap dish and wash your dishes as normal. One bar lasts up to 6 months. The bar creates a milky coloured water, and doesn’t generate a foam that we're used to with standard washing up liquids – but this isnt needed to clean dishes. This bar works just as well as any standard liquid. And it is made from only natural ingredients, meaning no nasty chemicals are making their way into your food or into your skin. One of our team suffers from eczma and has found this soap bar to be a complete game-changer in how her hands feel when washing dishes. EcoLiving have also created a beautiful soap dish – handmade out of leftover olive tree wood. >>Shop here


5. Zero Waste Cookbook 

zero waste cookbook 

The Zero Waste Cookbook is the complete guide to how you can make your food stretch further in order to reduce your waste. From using a husk of corn to make a vegetable stock, to using lemon zest to infuse vodka, or sunflower seeds to add crunch to bread, Giovanna Torrico and Amelia Wasiliev cover over 100 simple and creative recipes that make delicious use of the food that usually goes to waste. With chapters on fruit, vegetables, bread, dairy, meat and fish, this book covers everything you need to know about how to make the most out of your weekly shop. >> Shop here


6. Compostable brushes and scourers 

Eco Friendly Dishwashing Brushes

EcoCoconut & EcoLiving offer great plastic-free dishwashing utensils, including dishwashing brushes, scourers, and bottle brushes. They do contain metal clips in some of them which can be popped into kerbside recycling. The bristles and wood are made from sustainable natural materials and can be added to the compost bin. These products work so well, better than many high street plastic-based products, and are good for those with sensitive skin as the time spend with hands in the water is limited.  >>Shop here


7. Compostable Cloths

Compostable Cleaning Cloths

EcoLiving compostable cleaning cloths are plastic-free and are made from natural, sustainable, plant-based materials including cotton, wood pulp & flax. They are super absorbent, durable and reusable and are great for cleaning kitchens, bathrooms and all around the house. When ready to be replaced the sponge can be popped into your compost bin at home and it will safely biodegrade without releasing any micro-fibres or micro-plastic into the environment. >> Shop here 


8. Washable Sponges 

washable reusable none sponge

The washable sponges by Marley's Monsters and Tabitha Eve are made of natural ingredients, and they are designed to be used over and over again. When they get to the end of their use, they can either be kept as an old cleaning sponge or thrown into the compost bin.  Use these sponges instead of plastic-based dishwashing sponges. You may also need to get a scourer to fight super tough dirt (see below coconut-based scourers as a great natural option), but for every day washing up they are superb. We have a variety of designs and pack sizes available here.  >>Buy here


9. Vegan Food Wraps 

Vegan Food Wraps

These fantastic‚ Vegan food wraps are handmade using organic cotton, and are a natural, zero-waste and plastic-free way to transport and store food at the same time as protecting it and keeping it fresh. The base for the wax is vegan, not beeswax as many alternatives are, and they work just as well. Use your hands to warm the wraps and then mould to whatever shape you need – around food, over bowels, around your fruit, etc. The wraps are reusable and last for around 12 months, when they're ready to be disposed of, simply add to your compost bin. >> Shop here 


10. Bulk Food Bags

The Bulk Food Bags from Onya are exactly what you need if you're striving for a more packaging-free pantry, without carrying lots of jars and containers on your grocery shops. Use them to transport packaging-free groceries from zero waste food shops back to your home - such as rice, cereals, dried produce, and nuts. The bags are very lightweight so barely register on the scales, and they feature a window so you can see what is inside each one. Shop here >> 


11. Reusable Bread Bags 

Reusable bread bags

The Reusable Bread Bags from Onya are very popular at The Eco Shop. Use them to buy and store fresh baked goods. The bags can be frozen, and washed in the washing machine. They come with a handy clip which creates a handle when fastened. >>Shop here


12. Stainless Steel Containers 

Reusable steel containers

Stainless steel containers are BPA-free, so you can store your food safe in the knowlegde that it wont come close to nasty toxins. Use them for storing lunches, snacks and leftovers. Or for organising your pantry. >> Shop here


13. Plastic-Free Scrubbing Brush

The plastic-free scrubbing brush from EcoLiving is handmade using renewable materials, including sustainably sourced wood and plant-based bristles. This brush is superb for all of your tough scrubbing needs around the kitchen and home. You can scrub safe in the knowledge that no harmful micro plastics will shed into the waterways from this brush! 


14. Plastic-Free Scrubbing Pad 

The Safix Scrub Pad is a natural scouring pad made from 100% coconut fibre. It is compostable, plastic-free and biodegradable, and it does not release harmful micro plastics into our environment. The pad is super useful in the kitchen and around the home, as it easily removes stubborn foods and other substances safely without scratching cooking surfaces.   


Eco Tips: Make Your Own Staple Foods

Another great way of reducing the amount of wasteful packaging that passes through your kitchen is by making your own foods. We did a whip around the office and pulled together our top 5 foods that The Eco Shop team make week in, week out, in a bid to ensure we're only eating fresh foods and that we're reducing packaging in our homes Batch cooking and freezing lots of portions helps it become an even easier task as you only have to cook once every 4 -6 weeks then. All of the ingredients can be purchased at whole food / zero waste shops and supermarkets in the loose veg section so you can avoid packaging entirely.

  • Tomato pasta sauce - Slow cook tomatoes with herbs, garlic, onion and then blending into a lovely fresh sauce. Replaces jars of sauce and tins of tomatoes.
  • Hummus -  Boil chickpeas until cooked, blend with tahini, lime juice, cayenne pepper, cumin, paprika, and crushed garlic.
  • Bread - Buy bread mixes or create your own using a variety of bread flours and ingredients. Use a bread maker for the really easy version - it takes about 3 minutes to put the mix into a machine with any other things you want and to add water and oil. Super easy, super tasty, and who doesn't love the aroma of fresh bread? 
  • Beetroot relish - Add to any lunch or dinner as a tasty condiment. Bake beetroot, blend cooked beetroot with yoghurt (/vegan yoghurt), chilli, crushed garlic, and a splash of lemon juice. 
  • Soup - Soups are so easy and can be so delicious. Add leftover veg and all of your favourite spices to a slow cooker with vegetable stock. Slow cook for 6 hours. Blend.