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If you’ve been spending more time in the kitchen this year, you’ve probably noticed a few items that need replacing, like grungy baking sheet pans, or maybe you’re finally taking your cooking skills to the next level and have decided to invest in quality tools. Perhaps you'd also like to reduce your environmental impact. In doing so, you’ll want to browse brands that focus on sustainability and longevity.
From eco-friendly cookware sets and compost bins to reusable snack bags and dish soap, here are the best sustainable kitchen products.
Best Cookware Set: Caraway Cookware Set
Retains heat really well
Nonstick without the chemicals
Includes pan rack and lid holder
Comes in five beautiful colors
Need to hand wash
Pricing is on the higher end
Stainless steel handles get hot
This ceramic-coated cookware is nonstick and does not include materials such as PFOA, PTFE, or heavy metals. It works on electric, gas, and induction burners and is oven-safe to 550 degrees. This beautiful, quality bundle comes with a frying pan, saucepan, sauté pan, and Dutch oven with matching lids, making it a fantastic starter set for amateur cooks or a wonderful upgrade for established home chefs. Reviewers love the vibrant colors, such as navy and sage, and how easily this cookware cleans up. Lid and pot storage holders are included, too.
Best Compost Bin: Epica Stainless Steel Compost Bin
Charcoal filter neutralizes odors
Sleek stainless steel design
Needs to be polished
Filter hard to remove
Fruit flies may get in
Give kitchen scraps a second life in your compost pile. Instead of leaving them out in a bowl, use a countertop compost bin, which corrals the scraps, controls odors, and makes it easy to remember to save odds and ends, like eggshells, coffee grounds, and veggie peels. This stainless steel compost bin holds a little more than 1 gallon and includes a replaceable charcoal filter. It’s also reasonably priced and easy to clean because it’s rust-resistant and molded in one piece, so it won't leak.
"I kept the pail fairly front-and-center in my kitchen during the testing period, often didn’t empty it for several days, and never smelled an odor unless I was opening the bin to add more compost." — Justin Park, Product Tester
Best Soda Maker: Drinkmate Home Carbonation System
Carbonates any beverage—not just water
Sleek, compact design
No electricity or batteries needed
Compatible with any CO2 cartridges
Doesn’t include a full-size CO2 canister
Less control over carbonation level
This machine can add carbonation to any beverage—not just H2O. If your family tends to drink a lot of sparkling water or soda, this gadget by Drinkmate can help you cut back on single-use bottles and cans. This particular kit comes with the DrinkMate countertop machine, a reusable BPA-free 1-liter bottle, and a 10-liter CO2 starter cylinder. The machine typically uses standard 60-liter carbon dioxide cylinders, which you have to buy separately. Luckily, not only does the company sell its own CO2, but its machine is compatible with any 60L CO2 cylinders on the market. As the name implies, these allow you to make about 60 liters of bubbly beverages each.
"If you’re looking for a soda maker that can carbonate more than just water, the DrinkMate Home Carbonation System is one of your best choices, and its sleek design and low price point don’t hurt, either." — Meredith Hurd, Product Tester
Best Multipurpose Pan: Lodge Pre-Seasoned Cast Iron Skillet
Lightweight and versatile
Made in USA
Durable enough to last generations
Easy to clean
Only moderately nonstick after seasoning
If you’ve never cooked in cast iron, you don’t know what you’re missing. For starters, nothing sears, crisps, and bakes quite like this material. This pan comes pre-seasoned with vegetable oil, so you can start cooking right away. Even better, the nonstick property increases in quality the more you use it, although it’s not difficult to re-season when necessary. This durable 10.25-inch skillet is the perfect size for everything from upside-down cakes to cornbread to pizzas. Plus, it's practically a steal for a product that will last for generations with proper care.
"Weighing a pound less than competitors puts this Lodge skillet in a class of its own, and we’re more likely to reach for this pan time and again." — Gayle L. Squires, Product Tester
Best Reusable Produce Bags: Earthwise Reusable Mesh Produce Bags
Lightweight but durable
Mesh is transparent for scanning barcodes
Easy to rinse clean
Heavier items may require an additional tie
These lightweight, tear-resistant drawstring sacks keep fruits and veggies together, eliminating the need for plastic bags at the grocery store. Each weighs less than 1/3 ounce, so you won't pay for extra weight on the scale at checkout. Scan barcodes through the transparent mesh, and when you get home, rinse your produce directly in the bags before stashing them in the fridge. For easy cleaning, these sacks can go in the washer on cool but should be air-dried. Reviewers love the versatility and volume, but note that you do need some sort of additional tie to keep these shut if you’re loading them with heavy items, such as bulk beans or potatoes.
Best Beeswax Wrap: Bee's Wrap Assorted Set, Three Sizes
Wraps don't adhere well
Can't use with hot food
Ditch disposable plastics like cling wrap and instead use beeswax wrap to cover food. These reusable wraps come in a variety of pretty prints made in Vermont from organic cotton, sustainably harvested beeswax, organic jojoba oil, and tree resin. Pre-cut sizes range from small to extra-large, which fits a loaf of bread. The company is a certified Green America company and supports many conservancies and environmental stewardship organizations. Reviewers adore the pleasant scent and say this brand is better than any other that they've tried.
"Washing the wrap is as easy as rinsing it in the sink with cool water and dish soap." — Katie Begley, Product Tester
Best Reusable Grocery Bags: BeeGreen Reusable Grocery Bags
Long handles and large capacity
Folds up for compact storage
Uncomfortable to carry long distances when overloaded
These bags are generously sized at approximately 15 x 15 inches and hold up to 50 pounds of groceries. The long handles allow you to carry them over your shoulder for smaller loads, and they fold into a square to tuck neatly into your pocket or purse, so you’ll never forget bags again. They come in a number of solid colors and fun patterns—all of which are machine washable (although they should be air-dried). These bags are roomy and sturdy, but if you overload them, they’re not comfortable to carry for long distances, say, if you’re walking home from the store or up several flights of stairs.
Best Reusable Snack Bag: Stasher Silicone Reusable Storage Snack Bag
Safe for microwave, dishwasher, and freezer use
Secure pinch and lock seal
Stylish design and color varieties
If you’re looking to reduce your reliance on single-use plastic bags, Stasher Snack Bags are a sensible alternative. They’re made from flexible silicone and contain no plastic or BPA. The top pinches together for a tight seal, and you can use them in the dishwasher, microwave, freezer, and oven up to 400 degrees. These approximately 5 x 7-inch bags accommodate single-serve portions of pretzels or carrots, but they also come in other sizes for storing all types of foods.
Best Sheet Pans: Nordic Ware Naturals Aluminum Baker's Half Sheet
Versatile for a range of uses
Sturdy aluminum won't warp
Hand wash only
Every kitchen needs sturdy sheet pans for everything from roasting squash to one-pan suppers. These uncoated aluminum pans come in a variety of sizes, but the two-pack quarter sheet set, which measures roughly 13 x 10 inches per pan, is versatile for a number of kitchen tasks. They won’t warp and have a lifetime warranty. Just make sure to wash these by hand. The dishwasher will cause them to discolor, though it won't affect performance.
Best Reusable Dish Cloths: Wettex Swedish Dishcloths, 10-Pack
Can't choose colors
These cloths combine 70 percent cellulose and 30 percent cotton to create super-absorbent towels for wiping spills, clean dishes, and counters. They soak up to 15 times their weight, are machine washable, and can be composted after they begin to break down, so you don't have to worry about adding anything to the landfill. With proper care, these cloths can last for years and reduce your use of paper towels. Better yet, they won't leave streaks on glass and mirrors.
Best Dish Soap: Ecos Dishmate Dish Liquid
Dye-, paraben-, phosphate-, and phthalate-free formula
May not be sudsy enough for everyone
If you’re looking for a plant-based dish or hand soap, this one is both, and it's made without dyes, parabens, phosphates, or phthalates. It's also biodegradable and made in U.S. carbon-neutral facilities that are zero waste-certified. The formula is low-sudsing, which some people prefer and others dislike, and the various scents are gentle, which may be a plus if you’re sensitive to fragrance.
Best Reusable Straws: ALINK Stainless Steel Straws
Variety of straight and bent styles
Includes removable silicone tips and cleaning brush
May give off metallic taste
If you’re trying to reduce the number of single-use straws you use, this budget-friendly pack of eight will accommodate the whole family. The reusable set comes with four straight and four bent food-grade stainless steel straws, plus a long brush to clean them. The removable, soft silicone tips make them more pleasant to drink from, whether you plan on enjoying hot or cold drinks.
Best Travel Mug: Contigo Autoseal West Loop Vacuum Insulated Travel Mug
Effective autolock and anti-spill lid
Can be locked and unlocked with one hand
Keeps drinks hot/cold for hours
A little wide for smaller hands
Bottle isn’t dishwasher safe (the lid is, though)
Keeping your coffee or water at the appropriate temperature during commutes or long days at your desk is a must. This travel mug keeps drinks hot for up to five hours and cold for up to 12 hours. It comes in an array of sizes (16, 20, or 24 ounces) and colors, so every family member can have their own. The lid is leak-proof, opens with the push of a button for one-handed drinking, and is top-rack dishwasher safe. The body, on the other hand, must be washed by hand.
"The Contigo performed even better than promised. When filled with hot coffee, the mug maintained high heat for roughly three hours. Though the coffee slightly cooled after that, it was still warm enough to drink for another three to four hours." — Suzie Dundas, Product Tester
Best Reusable Water Bottle: Hydro Flask Standard-Mouth Vacuum Water Bottle with Flex Cap
Double-wall construction insulates hot and cold drinks
Powder coating is easy to grip
Available in different sizes and mouth widths
Standard mouth size is harder to clean and fit ice
A reusable water bottle is invaluable, whether you’re trying to drink more water, working out, or want to reduce waste. The double-wall construction of this stainless steel bottle keeps drinks cold for up to 24 hours and hot up to 12 hours. It comes in 18-, 21-, and 24-ounce sizes in both standard- and wide-mouth designs with an optional sports cap for one-handed drinking (if you’re biking, for example). The powder coat on the outside makes it easier to grip when you’re sweaty or on the go. As an added bonus, it fits well in most car cup holders and doesn’t leak.
Best Glass Food Storage Containers: Pyrex Simply Store Glass Bakeware Set, 14-Piece
Stain and odor resistant
Durable, high-quality tempered glass
Dishwasher, freezer, microwave, and oven safe
Lids are not microwave-safe
Containers get very hot in the microwave
If you’re looking for sturdy glass storage containers, Pyrex is a perennial favorite. This set comes in a variety of sizes ranging from 1 to 4 cups—perfect for portion control and leftovers—and the glass won’t stain or retain odors as plastic does. You also can buy individual sizes separately if you find that you’re using one size more than others. Best of all, they’re safe for use in the dishwasher, microwave, and freezer. With proper care, they can last for years.
"The 4-cup container traveled well and didn’t leak in our backpack on the way to work." — Tierney McAfee, Product Tester
What to Look for in Sustainable Kitchen Products
Opt for products that come with warranties or that reviews say are long-lasting. Some items, such as cast iron, can last a lifetime with proper care.
Look for products that do not include BPA, PFOA, or PTFE and items that are made of recycled materials or are recyclable, biodegradable, or compostable at home. Some companies partner with organizations such as TerraCycle so you can return products past their useful lifespan in a postage-free mailer for recycling.
Although it can be difficult to tell how much or what kind of packaging is used if you’re purchasing items online, many manufacturers will call out their specific sustainable packaging practices, such the use of brown paper, recyclable cardboard or corrugated paper, and no bubble wrap or single-use plastics.
Choose manufacturers that focus on environmental stewardship such as the use of clean energy or who have invested in manufacturing equipment that reduces pollution and hazardous waste. In addition, consider companies that make products in the U.S., thus providing jobs to the local community and reducing the impact of transportation costs. Also, read about what charitable endeavors or organizations a manufacturer supports (usually found in the “About Us” section); examples may include partnering with conservation groups, community programs, or local charities.
Certifications and Programs
Learn what a company does to support ethical and responsible business practices itself or among its manufacturing partners, such as:
- BSCI, BV, or SMETA: Voluntary auditing or certification systems that help companies assess the health and safety of workers, the environment, and business ethics of the members in their supply chain
- B Corporation: Certification that a company balances profit and purpose, offers public transparency, and meets rigorous standards for its impact on workers, customers, community, and the environment.
- 1% for the Planet: Certification that a company donates at least 1 percent of its annual sales through monetary, volunteer, and in-kind support to non-profit environmental causes.
- Global Organic Textile Standard: Certification that textile products, including final products, yarns, and fabrics throughout the supply chain, are ethically sourced for both ecological and labor conditions.
- TRUE Zero Waste Facility Certification: Certification that a company diverts at least 90 percent of its waste from landfill, incinerating, and the environment to be reused, recycled, composted, or recovered for productive use in nature or the economy.
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Arricca SanSone is a health and lifestyle writer specializing in home, shelter, and gardening. She’s lived and traveled in Asia and Europe, but her favorite place to be is gardening in her own backyard or baking in her kitchen with eco-friendly products.