It’s natural to spend more time thinking about the state of the Earth each year when spring rolls around. But appreciating the great outdoors and considering your consumption habits ahead of Earth Day on April 22 can sometimes feel overwhelming. After all, our mother’s got some issues: there are plastics in her rivers and oceans, greenhouse gases continue to contribute to climate change, and things seem to be trending worse, not better.
But did you know that when we all take little actions, they have the potential to add up to something big? Look at the way cloth shopping bags are de rigueur, bamboo straws have caught on, along with kitchen countertop composting bins?
As consumers, we exert lots of power when purchasing kitchen cleaning products and tools. If you, like us, love the environment as much (or even more) as having a tidy kitchen, we’ve created a list of some clever and well-designed products that help you take care of your space and the Earth at the same time.
Studiopatro Flour Sack Towels
Say goodbye to disposable paper cloths with this set of absorbent flour sack-inspired towels from a woman-owned brand in San Francisco. Founder Christina Weber channels her long background with Williams-Sonoma and her classic design aesthetic into her practical and playful kitchen linens. These unbleached cotton towels come in a set of seven so there’s one for every day’s messes. While they’re a good stand in for paper towels, you’ll also appreciate that they dry your glassware without leaving any lint behind.
ECOS Earth Friendly Grapefruit Dish Soap
Chemist Van Vlahakis was a green cleaning pioneer when he started making plant-based cleaning products in his suburban Chicago garage in 1967. It turned into ECOS Earth Friendly Products, which makes a range of home care products, including a coconut based dish soap with uplifting scents like grapefruit. Under his daughter Kelly Vlahakis Hanks, the company is an EPA Safer Choice, they’ve won a slew of sustainability awards for their carbon-neutral, water-neutral, and zero waste manufacturing process. Hanks, who is BIPOC, is also an advocate for access to safe cleaning products as a human right.
Marley’s Monsters Washable Sponges
Does anyone else get tired of sponges that fall apart after a few weeks, and wind up in the garbage too soon after they’ve gone for their first spin around your sink? If that’s you, check out these washable sponges. They’re built to be durable and effective, with terry cloth on one side, and another scrubbing mesh side layered over foam. Wash them with your regular laundry or in the dishwasher, and they’re good for another round. We can’t wait to brighten up the corner of the sink with the floral, plaid, or more muted modern motifs.
Rendall Co. Denim Aprons
Denim is made in a resource-intensive process with lots of washing and indigo dye. And it’s often manufactured outside the US, where ecological standards are lower, and then shipped long distances, which increases its carbon footprint. So the made-in-America denim movement is a big deal. The denim and chambray for Rendall Co. bistro and bib aprons is all made in Los Angeles. And they’re very smart-looking too: Rendall founder Deirdra Jones worked in fashion before deciding to start outfitting cafes, coffee shops, and bakeries.
Good Vibes All-Purpose Cleaner
As a young mother, Ymani Efunyale was cleaning the house, and set down her spray bottle for a moment. She was horrified when her toddler grabbed the bottle and sprayed the product in his mouth. It triggered an asthma attack. After learning about the toxins in conventional cleaning products, she decided to make her own plant-based cleaner. Her Good Vibes All-Purpose Concentrate works on everything from windows to walls, plus it’s in harmony with the Earth. Get it unscented or in lush and unexpected fragrances including nag champa, sandalwood, or frankincense & myrrh. We like the Six Pack Sampler that includes one of every scent so you can create different vibes in your squeaky clean house.
Aunt Fannie’s Ant Remedy
If ants seem to invade your kitchen every summer, you probably know using natural remedies like vinegar, coffee grounds, tea tree oil, and borax soap powder to throw them off the scent. But if you have a stubborn colony and need effective reinforcements, check out Aunt Fannie’s Aunt Remedy, a non-toxic spray powered by cottonseed oil and cloves.
Blueland Dishwasher Tablets
There’s a beautiful simplicity about some of the most genius kitchen solutions. Did you know 287 tons of plastic, including empty cleaning product bottles, ends up in landfills and waterways every minute?? When Sarah Paiji Yolo learned that—while expecting—she decided to do something about it. Blueland takes the cleaning solutions we use daily and dehydrates them into convenient tablets. When you need some, you add a tablet, water and shake it up. The Everyday Clean Set, with hand soap, dish soap, glass cleaner and dishwashing solution tablets and shaker bottles make it easy to shift into the DIY cleaning product mode.
Plastic film is frustrating in so many ways. It’s hard to unroll, clings to itself more enthusiastically than anything you’re trying to wrap. But worst of all, it’s usually made of polyvinylidene chloride (PVDC) and polyvinyl chloride (PVC)– plastics with toxic or ambiguous health effects. And then we put it on our food, where it can release chemicals, especially when heated in the microwave. Our go-to alternative for wrapping food is beeswax coated cotton, a method ancient Egyptians favored. Bees Wrap offers sets of wraps in different sizes, like the Trifecta, and they’re durable and don’t affect your food. Just wipe them off and they’re ready to use again.
Net Zero Cotton Produce Bag Set
You’re probably all set with cloth shopping bags. In fact, you probably have too many stuffed into a cupboard. So now it’s time to up your produce bag game. Net Zero makes it easy with this set of 10 Cotton Mesh Produce Bags. Made from organically grown cotton, they’re lightweight, washable, and come in sizes to accommodate basil to bananas. Just close them off with their colorful wood toggle. Now you can banish all the plastic and paper bag clutter.