Helping, once again, to make life a little less waste-y, we’ve gathered a fabulous group of eco friendly products. Maybe I’ve been spending too much time in the kitchen lately but this month, we focus mainly on kitchen items. Storing, preserving and cleaning are just a few ways to cut back on waste and reduce all the crud we pour down the drain. Be prepared to never buy another Ziploc bag again.
ReZip Reusable Storage Bags
This might seem like a bit of an exaggeration but, once you get your hands on these, you’ll never store anything the same again. From Blue Avocado, ReZip Reusable Storage Bags will literally replace every dumb plastic food storage bag you’ve ever used.
You will suddenly realize how many one-use bags you have used in the past. You will start to envision the pile of plastic bags you’ve gone through. You may huddle in a corner for a few minutes thinking about it.
But it’s OK, I’m here to tell you that everything will be OK.
Available in numerous shapes and sizes, ReZip bags are made of durable, washable, PVC-free recycled plastic. These eco friendly products can be used for anything disposable plastic bags were once used for and will even be BETTER. They won’t tear, won’t made your food smell and will zipper tightly shut. An initial buy-in may cost you about $20 or so. But, factor in the numerous boxes of storage bags you’ve previously bought, and the cost is worth it. I have been using mine for years. Take these bags to the grocery store for produce or bulk items (they barely weigh a thing). Use them for liquids in a carry-on bag. Store small camping gear, pantry items, odds and ends, hair accessories…you get the idea.
The FoodSaver FM1510 Fresh Food Preservation System
I worried that I was getting too old when I started to consider a vacuum sealer. Luckily, the FoodSaver FM1510 exists to make it a much more sustainable decision. I’ve never been very fond of products that force you to have to buy more of the product just to use it. Most food preservation systems do just this. You have to buy rolls of plastic bags that, ultimately, just become more plastic waste. While you may save money by buying food in bulk and not letting it go to waste, the amount of plastic waste generated is a huge downside. No, thank you.
Fortunately, this Food Saver is a system that can be used with reusable BPA-free containers and reusable bags. While these aren’t promoted specifically as being eco friendly products, they certainly operate that way. The containers come in several sizes and are very sturdy and easy to store. The bags can be washed by hand or in the top rack of a dishwasher (although I recommend washing by hand). The vacuum-sealer part of the operation takes up very little counter space and has a movable top to adjust for different-sized containers. Aside from my four-year old complaining that it’s “too loud,” it works amazingly-well. Just be sure the lid and inner cap are all in place.
Baking Soda (yes, baking soda)
As I have shared with many people on separate occasions, I can’t think of a more versatile, wondrous, yet simple product than baking soda. Putting other eco friendly products to shame, baking soda is not only simple and basically harmless, it’s also insanely inexpensive. Most of the baking soda we use is also mined here in the US (specifically Wyoming) with a fairly light footprint. Compared to many other mining practices, baking soda’s process seems almost elegant. Yes, it is mined and yes, it is a natural resource. But, it is a multi-use product that replace many harmful products on the market.
I won’t bore you with all the typical uses people employ baking soda for. Some of the more unexpected uses include: deodorant (for you, not your refrigerator), to remove styling product residue from your hair, to polish (real silver) silverware, boost your laundry detergent or serve as a light fabric softener, and deodorize your sink drains. If you still are amazed (like me) by the combination of vinegar and baking soda, you can throw a few scoopfuls down your drain, then pour a few cups of vinegar after it. It will deodorize and help de-grease your drain (it doesn’t hurt to pour some boiling water after it, too).
Eco friendly Products for a Cleaner, more Store-able Future
Now get ready to get storing. Between ReZip, the Food Saver and Baking Soda, you will have one of those well-organized and clean-looking kitchens we typically only see in Container Store catalogs.