From mini herb gardens to bulk buys: 5 sustainable swaps you can make in the kitchen.

I can’t always get the kids to eat their greens. 

We’re making slow progress, but every sampled veggie is a step in the right direction – a lifetime of enjoying (and benefiting from) leafy vegetables.

It’s a similar situation in the home, where we’ve made small, steady improvements to the products we use in our kitchen. It’s a move to be more sustainable, easing the pressure on the environment.

Watch: Emma Watson shows that sustainable is stylish. Post continues below.

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Today, World Environment Day, is the perfect day to make some changes.

We’re only one family, but one of millions in Australia alone, so every eco-swap has the potential to make a big difference in years to come. 

I will disagree with Kermit the Frog though and say it’s quite easy being green. We’re wasting less but doing more for the earth and it feels good! 

I have five simple ways to be less wasteful in the kitchen, ways I know many others will be able to replicate with ease.

1. Windowsill herb garden.

Picture this: the sun is streaming through the window and you snip some parsley from your mini herb garden for your breakfast eggs. You have a variety of micro herbs and tasty toppings for your cooking and it’s all right at your fingertips. No more buying plastic punnets (that aren’t cheap) and wastefully throwing out the unused portion.


Image: Supplied.

No need for a lot of space either, you can do this in a house of any size.

Mint is a good one to grow (hello, Friday night mojitos), parsley is the perfect all-rounder and you really must try some basil chopped up in a cheese and tomato toastie.


2. Cleaner and greener.

If you’re using regular cleaning products, it’s time to change your habits. Chemicals from the sprays we use are washed into waterways and linger, eventually causing soil pollution and entering the food chain. Blergh.

I’ll bet the cleaning spray bottle you use is discarded once you reach the end and you just buy a new one next time you’re shopping. Right? We need to snap out of this thinking!

I now use a spray bottle that I can re-use, filling it up with a dissolvable cleaning tablet and water, which brings my kitchen bench and stovetop back to its shiny best.

Once I got my head around thinking of bottles for refills and not landfill, there was no excuse. I use the Eco Turtles range from Urban Ethos because they're made from durable PET plastic that can be used repeatedly and don’t leak.

3. Wipes and brushes.

We tear our way through a roll of paper towel without a second thought. Try not to shudder when thinking about all the water, energy, transport and plastic wrap it takes just for that quick paper towel mop-up.

Instead, fabric cloths or sustainable sponges will last through multiple washes and clean-ups.

Coconut fibre scrubbing sponges do the trick on pots and pans and compostable cloths return to the earth after their (long) life. I even managed to find a dishwashing brush with plant fibre bristles and replacement brush heads, so we don’t unnecessarily replace the handle as well. 


4. Bulk buys.

We repurpose glass jars and buy our dry staples at bulk food stores, which reduces so much waste, promotes sustainable living and saves a heap of money.

Naked food bulk stores do without unnecessary packaging and help the kids join the zero-waste movement. Bringing our own bags to shop and containers to refill connects the kids with a new way of shopping and encourages good habits that will become their way of life – meaning we leave a much lighter environmental footprint. 


5. Wasteful wrap.

Aussies throw away tonnes of plastic wrap each year. It’s a scary thought. One-use plastics, including cling wrap, sandwich bags and rubbish bags, take energy, water and other natural resources to produce, then the waste it creates pollutes our air, water and soil.

We use reusable, washable zip-lock sandwich bags for school lunches. Bonus, they are light and compact for packing into lunchboxes or in my bag for lunch on the go.

Image: Supplied.


Swap out regular plastic wrap for plant-based cling wraps, like ones made from sugarcane, corn starch or beeswax. We have a collection of beeswax wraps in the top drawer at home in a variety of sizes that do the trick for any food that needs covering and we simply wash and reuse. We might even try making our own...

What do you do to be more sustainable at home? Let us know in the comments.

Feature Image: Supplied.

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