It’s easy to regard the things that get used every day, as purely functional, practical and utilitarian.
But first thing in the morning, we instinctively reach for our favourite mug, because there is something about its shape and texture that makes that ritual of tea drinking, all the more comforting.
Perhaps we should give this same consideration to all household items that we come into contact with daily, even those that we use for seemingly mundane tasks such as cleaning, cooking or storing food. ‘Calming’ wire wool probably hasn’t been invented yet, but here’s hoping…
If like me, you only like to be surrounded by things that are both beautiful and useful, kitchen essentials that also happen to ‘spark joy’ equals a win-win. Good quality, beautifully designed, eco-friendly products, made from natural materials not only bring a little extra joy into our everyday routines, they also change our attitude towards their disposability. Ultimately, it’s those products we love that will stand the test of time.
Take some inspiration from our top 20 stylish eco friendly products you’ll use everyday – you’ll never look at your dish cloth in the same way again!
LINEN TEA TOWELS
Linen is a great choice for kitchen textiles, not only because it give a beautiful French farmhouse feel to the home. It’s considered an eco-friendly material because of its durability and because it requires less pesticides and water to grow than cotton. The Italian stripe linen tea-towel* by The Linen Works comes in four colours. Their linens are grown and manufactured in Europe and are largely made from French and Belgian flax.
As something we associate with the earth and ancient crafts, there must be something primitive that draws us to porcelain, stoneware and earthenware objects.
This terracotta mug from the Edge collection is by Danish company Skagerak and designed by Stilleben. The collection is inspired by the pots of Egypt and Greece – the perfect mix of ‘earthiness’ and sleek Scandi design. All of Skagerak’s terracotta is hand thrown in Portugal. Available at Selfridges.
When buying vintage ceramics or pottery, be sure to check what’s contained in the glaze, if planning to eat or drink from them. You’ll find more info about this here.
The mason jar has almost become a symbol of the zero waste lifestyle advocated by Bea Johnson, who managed to cram all her family’s waste for a year into one jar. Unsurprisingly, they’re also perfect for storing your muesli, sugar and loose tea, whilst giving your kitchen cupboards and shelves a comforting, rustic charm.
The Le Parfait canning jar comes in 5 sizes. You’ll find these at Shoreditch store Labour and Wait.
STAINLESS STEEL FOOD CONTAINERS
Switch from plastic tupperware to stainless steel to store leftovers. I really like the simple curvaceous shape of this design by A Slice of Green. They do say however that due to the lack of plastic seal, there can be leakage from liquid foods.
So for liquid foods, I found this leakproof airtight canister with food grade silicon seal, by another UK brand, Elephant Box. There is also a company in the US called Ecolunchbox* who make a wide selection of stainless steel containers.
RECYCLED GLASS CAKE DOME
LSA International’s Mia collection is made from recycled glass and includes carafes, storage jars and this cake dome which has a base made from FSC approved oak. The full collection is available at Amara*.
UPCYCLED GLASS TUMBLERS
Based in Barcelona, Lucia Bruni has been making lighting and homeware from upcycled wine bottles since 2006, when she founded her company Lucirmás. Her latest collection is Frozen – a set of six glass tumblers handmade from sand blasted wine bottles.
HAND CARVED WOODEN SPOONS
The Future Kept is the new home decor and lifestyle store by the very talented Jeska Hearne of Lobster and Swan. With a ‘buy less, buy better philosophy’ in mind, she has built a beautiful collection of carefully curated products by independent designers and makers.
These elegant wooden spoons are handmade in the UK by a company called Forest and Found. The oak cooking spoon is made from sustainably sourced wood from Epping Forest, available in a smooth or textured finish. Also pictured are hand carved coffee scoops made from reclaimed walnut and sweet chestnut. All are treated with food-safe beeswax salve.
Also from The Linen Works* are these beautiful soft linen napkins – a welcome alternative to the disposable paper options. These are £8.50 each and come in white, dove grey, Parisian blue, cassis rose, charcoal and duck egg.
WASHABLE KITCHEN CLOTHS
Who’d have thought that a dish cloth could be sexy? The Organic Company is a Danish design company founded in 2007 and manufactures beautiful home textiles which are certified with the GOTS (Global Organic Textiles Standard) label. This kitchen and wash cloth comes in two shades of grey – a massive improvement on the J-cloth! Available at Wayfair*.
RECYCLED TEXTILE APRON
Nkuku are an ethical and eco friendly brand with products made using traditional techniques by artisans around the world. Feel free to get messy in the kitchen with their Artisan aprons* which are handmade from recycled canvas tents with leather ties. Each one is dipped and boiler dyed in a light indigo blue which fades and ages over time. Two styles are available.
BEESWAX FOOD WRAP
A great alternative to single-use cling film and foil for keeping food fresh is reusable beeswax wrap. Abeego makes theirs from sustainable hemp and certified organic cotton with a tree resin, jojoba oil and beeswax coating.
The breathable material is designed to let gases out of the food so that condensation doesn’t form and make the food soggy. Heat from your hands moulds it into shape. It just needs to be kept away from high heat. Washing it in cold water will make it last at least a year.
Swap your plastic brushes for wooden ones and you might actually start to enjoy doing the washing up. These are wooden pot and grill brushes from Willow and Stone and will come in handy for cleaning the barbecue this summer.
German company Redecker have been around since 1935 and do a huge array of wooden dish brushes including bottle brushes and dish brushes with removable heads. Purchase from Amazon or US readers can shop from Life Without Plastic.
Castile soap is one of those magic products that basically does everything. It can be used for washing your hands, body, hair, dishes, floor, pets and more. Dr Bronner’s products are made from natural, pure and certified organic ingredients and come in a range of scents including rose, eucalyptus, peppermint, citrus and almond. Available from The Ethical Superstore*.
RECYCLED METAL DISH RACK
Materials used in Nkuku’s products include hemp, jute and cotton from discarded t-shirts, as well as recycled glass and saris. Their Tilmo dish rack* is made from a mix of recycled light metals, giving it a unique industrial feel.
MANGO WOOD CHOPPING BOARD
Useful for chopping and serving, these sustainable Lengi mango wood boards* by Nkuku come in 3 sizes. The mango trees are initially grown for their fruit but when they stop producing, farmers cut them down to grown new ones. The wood can then be used to make products.
Composting can be a serious business. Once you get a system that works, what could be more satisfying than seeing all that waste turn into nutritious compost?
If outdoor space is non-existent and composting indoors is your only option, you might wish to keep your bin small, so that the contents can be removed every few days. Choose a sleek and simple design like this one by Eddingtons. It contains carbon filters for odour control and is also dish washer safe. For similar in the US, Amazon’s top rated bin is this one by Epica.
ORGANIC COTTON OVEN GLOVES
Jazz up your oven door with a another stylish Scandi piece from The Organic Company*. Their oven gloves made from textured 100% certified GOTS organic cotton and come in two shades of grey.
HEMP DENIM BOWL
This Hemp Denim bowl by Bambu* could be useful in any room of the house. In the kitchen, it can be used to store fruit, vegetables or bread, in the bathroom – toiletries and hair accessories, in the bedroom – jewellery etc. The material is a blend of hemp and organic cotton and its ‘collar’ can be worn up or down.
RECLAIMED WALNUT BOWL
Another gem from Forest and Found is their hand-turned bowl made from reclaimed walnut. The bowls are made in London and the wood sourced from a local cabinet maker. £29 from The Future Kept.
STAINLESS STEEL STRAWS
Single use plastic straws are one of the worst offenders for polluting the planet, littering our oceans by the thousands. If those summer cocktails just aren’t complete without a drinking straw, go for a stainless steel variety that comes with a cleaning brush. Eco Straws also sells straws made from wheat, glass and bamboo. Image via Amazon US.
Got any suggestions for eco kitchen essentials? Let us know!
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