We’ve all heard the phrase, the kitchen is the heart of the home. If you’ve ever hosted a gathering you know this to be true. Guests naturally gather around the kitchen island to stand near the carefully arranged snack trays. Maybe it’s the delicious smells of dinner or the warmth created from cooking, but we spend a lot of time in this one room. A recent study found that Americans spend over 400 hours per year in their kitchen. Most have fond memories of cooking with their families while growing up and want to create them in their own homes.
Your kitchen should create happy memories and be a place of smiles and delicious food. If you find that your kitchen is overrun with clutter and toxic products that are stealing your joy, it’s time to make a change. You can easily make your kitchen cleaner and more environmentally friendly by making some simple swaps in your space. If you’re not sure where to start, take a look at one of the most sustainable resources on the planet, bamboo.
Why Bamboo Is Perfect in the Kitchen
Bamboo is a very versatile plant that’s used across industries. It’s strong enough to replace steel in construction, soft enough for your favorite sheets, and beautiful enough to be used as decor in your home. But my favorite place to use bamboo is in the kitchen. I want my kitchen to feel fresh and clean while also feeling cozy to guests. Bamboo kitchen products keep my home toxin free without adding clutter.
Improve Your Health
The most important impact you’ll have when creating a sustainable kitchen is an improvement in your health. Many popular kitchen products are made with chemicals to make them more durable. While melamine and Teflon pans may seem like they'll make your life easier, they can leech toxic chemicals into your food. They've also been linked to many health problems like endocrine disorders and cancer. Even without the chemicals, plastic cutting boards can harbor dangerous bacteria which is the last thing you want near your food. Bamboo kitchen products don't need all the extra chemicals to work for you. They don't even need chemicals to grow!
Surrounding yourself with bamboo can also improve your emotional well-being. According to a 2017 study from Sichuan Agricultural University, viewing bamboo can help you relax and decrease anxiety and stress. It can also help improve focus, which I definitely need when trying out a new recipe.
Reduce Plastic Waste
The most obvious benefit of switching to bamboo in your kitchen is reduced plastic waste. Plastic waste is the largest environmental pollutant in the world, even if companies claim their items can be recycled. Just because plastic can be recycled doesn’t mean it will be recycled. Only 9% of plastic ever makes it through the recycling center. The rest ends up breaking into microplastics and entering our water, air, and food supplies.
Switching to bamboo means you‘ll be bringing all-natural materials into your kitchen. The majority of bamboo kitchen products are reusable and biodegradable. You can usually compost them at the end of their lifecycle. Instead of adding plastic to the ocean, you can break down your old bamboo spoons if your backyard compost bin!
You may be surprised to hear you can save money by switching to bamboo. Many eco-friendly kitchen products are thought to be more expensive. Bamboo is an incredibly strong and durable material which means it will last for years. You’ll save money by not replacing broken and worn-out utensils or buying wasteful disposables.
Bamboo is a renewable resource that can be harvested many times during its lifetime so it's an inexpensive alternative to plastic. The long-term cost of producing plastic made from oil is much higher than bamboo in both dollars and impact on the planet.
How to Add Bamboo to Your Kitchen
When considering how to bring bamboo into your kitchen, think through how you serve your family or guests. There are perfect bamboo kitchen products to help with prep, cooking, serving, clean up, and storage. Really, what else do you need for an eco-friendly kitchen? I’ve pulled together my top recommendations of where to change to bamboo so you can enjoy clean and green meal times with family and friends.
Food Prep and Cooking
Creating a healthy and eco-friendly kitchen starts well before the meal hits the table. Think about creating an eco-friendly kitchen through the stages of making a meal, beginning with the prep.
Reusable Bamboo Shopping Bags
Start your journey to a more sustainable kitchen before you even walk through your front door. Grab a stack of reusable bamboo shopping bags for buying all those healthy ingredients you keep telling yourself to eat. Sling it over your shoulder and you'll feel like wandering your favorite farmers market instead of grabbing a box of mac and cheese.
To be sure you actually use your bamboo shopping bags, keep them in your car after each use. You’ll no longer need to own a plastic bag filled with plastic bags.
Bamboo Cutting Boards
Now that you’ve successfully bought all that produce, don’t let it die in the back of your fridge. That was the old you. The new you has a clean, healthy space to chop them up for every meal on your stylish bamboo cutting board. While technically grass, bamboo can be formed into a thick sturdy board that’s water and odor resistant. My favorite boards from Royal Craft Wood also have grooves around the edges to catch any juice and keep your countertops clean.
To keep your cutting board in tip-top shape, be sure to treat it with mineral oil every few uses. The food-safe oil will keep the board from drying out and cracking over time.
Whether you consider yourself a Gordon Ramsey in the kitchen or somehow manage to burn water, the right tools will make cooking easier. It's time to say goodbye to those plastic spatulas and spoons that melt into your food and always seem to bend at the worse moment. Swap them out for bamboo utensils for a much less stressful cooking experience.
Bamboo utensils are all natural so they won’t leech any dangerous chemicals into your food. They’re also more durable than plastic. You can whip your meringue until you see those perfect peaks (or scrap your half-burnt filet off the pan) without having to worry about breakage. Plus, you can store them all in a decorative bamboo holder to add function and style.
Next up is how you can serve your meals in a healthy and environmentally friendly way. Bamboo can be used for everything from plates to spoons and every type of serve ware between.
Bamboo Serving Boards
You don’t need a four-course home-cooked meal to create a memorable dinner party. Pick one or two details to wow your guests starting with a delicious, seasonal charcuterie board. Pile up sliced meats and cheese along with fruits, nuts, and crackers for a pre-dinner mini feast served up on a bamboo serving board. I love that these boards are nontoxic and are easily washed with warm water. Many have drawers for cheese knives so you’ll have everything you need for a night of book club or Netflix.
Pro tip: Add a generous handful of dark chocolate squares to your bamboo serving board to impress even the pickiest guest.
There’s something about eating a green salad out of a bamboo bowl that makes it feel ten times healthier. And really, it kind of is! Unlike plastic bowls, bamboo bowls are made from natural materials so they won’t leech dangerous chemicals into your greens. They’re much more durable than porcelain and a lot lighter too! This comes in handy if you want your kids or clumsy roommate to wash more dishes.
If you like a bit of color, you might like bamboo fiber bowls to brighten up your kitchen. They’re still biodegradable and can be used for cooking or serving!
Another perfect sustainable kitchen product is bamboo flatware. These perfect little forks and spoons are often overlooked, but can have a huge impact on the environment – in a good way! Swapping out disposable plastic ware can save 100 million plastic utensils from hitting the landfill each day. Even if you’re using reusable metal flatware, there’s still an environmental impact during production.
Bamboo doesn’t rely on chemicals during growth or production and will break down in your compost bin when you’re done with it.
Make Your Clean-Up Extra Green
After the meal may be one of the best times to make your kitchen more sustainable. Food waste, plastic, and paper can take over our clean-up routines, but bamboo can help you change that.
Bamboo Compost Bin
Reducing food waste is easily the number one thing you can do to create a more sustainable kitchen. Americans toss out over 80 billion pounds of food. And 43% of that comes from households like yours and mine. After your meal, don’t toss those food scraps in the trash. Step closer to a zero-waste kitchen with a countertop bamboo compost bin. Simply scrape peels, shells, and other leftover bits into the biodegradable bag. After a few weeks, you can take your new organic soil right out to your garden. You won’t have to worry about the smell either if you use one of the included charcoal filters to absorb the earthy aroma of fresh compost.
Bamboo Dishrack and Dish Brush
When the meal is done and the guests have gone, don’t leave those dishes sitting overnight. We all know they don’t need to soak no matter what you tell yourself. Grab your bamboo dish brush and scrub them up in no time. The bamboo brush head with plant-based bristles is replaceable. So after you’ve scrubbed too many pots, you can add it to your compost bin and snap on a fresh one.
Cooking can be exhausting so leave those sparkling dishes to dry on your bamboo dish rack while you enjoy your last sips of wine.
Bamboo Paper Towels
We all have those messy spills that are just too greasy and grimy to ruin even our worst cloth towels. Bamboo paper towels are biodegradable so you don’t have to choose between the planet and figuring out how to get grease stains out of fabric. Bamboo grows up to 7 times more quickly than trees so you won’t be throwing a 40-year-old tree into the garbage can. Even better, bamboo is grown without pesticides so you can toss your bamboo paper towels in your countertop composter.
Maximize Your Storage
Before I made sustainable changes to my kitchen I could get the dishes washed in about 10 minutes, but putting them away takes 3-5 business days. My cabinets were cluttered and overflowing with cheap plasticware and freebie cups. I’d rather not be lost to an avalanche of melamine and polypropylene so I made some simple storage changes to get those dishes organized.
Bamboo Drawer Organizers
There’s something magical about having a proper place for all your utensils. A bamboo drawer organizer makes even the oldest silverware look fancy. Most bamboo drawer organizers fit right in your space. They come as a set of rectangular modules or adjustable lengths to create sections within any size drawer. I love that they’re lightweight so drawers are easy to open and fully organized.
If you’re not living with enough cabinets to store your food and dishes, you’ll want to invest in some bamboo shelves. Taking this out of the living room and using it to hold your small appliances and glassware will give you a hip foodie kitchen even if you’re not a great cook.
My best-kept secret for storage in my kitchen is bamboo trays. I use them to corral my soaps, towels, and seasonings that would otherwise be taking over my counters. The trick is to find the right size for your space and create a little home base for your items.
If you love the look of a bamboo tray, but really only need it for serving, hang it on the wall for an easy-to-reach piece of functional decor.
Make Every Meal Healthier With a Sustainable Kitchen
Even if it’s just you, your cat, and a bowl of noodles for the evening, there’s no reason to sacrifice your health by using cheap plastic. Investing in bamboo products for an eco-friendly kitchen will save money, reduce your impact on the planet, and improve your health! Let us know what your favorite bamboo product swap it to create a sustainable kitchen!