10 Easy Zero-Waste Kitchen Swaps for Storing Food + How to Use Them - Zero Waste Outlet

10 Easy Zero-Waste Kitchen Swaps for Storing Food + How to Use Them

Posted by Ken Lewis on

Zero-waste products are becoming more popular across the globe. This is incredible, but we still have a lot of work to do for our environment. This guide will show you ten simple zero-waste kitchen products you can swap as you work towards a plastic-free kitchen.



  1. Silicone Ziplock Bags Over Single-Use Plastics

Food-grade silicone has made a massive dent in the volume of single-use plastics. It’s helped reduce plastic pollution, primarily through zero-waste kitchen products

Not surprisingly, silicone ziplock bags are more durable than traditional plastic bags. 

Put your silicone storage bags to the test: 

✔ Dishwasher safe (it’s often true, but double-check the instructions)

✔ High heat tolerance (sometimes even in the oven up to certain temps) 

✔ Easily handles fluctuating changes in temperatures (unlike cracking glass or melting plastic)

The reason silicone bags are a must-have for a zero-waste kitchen? 

If it eventually ends up in waterways, it won’t break down into microplastics causing plastic pollution in the ocean.

To care for your silicone ziplock bags: Wash them in the dishwasher. If any soap residue remains, you can scrub the bag with a sponge or brush. You can also boil most silicone bags to sanitize them. Silicone bags are tough but treat them with care, so they don’t rip.

Shop our silicone ziplock bags.


  1. Mesh Bags for Produce Over Disposable Plastic Bags 

Reusable mesh produce bags can save so much plastic.

Did you know that Americans throw away 100 billion plastic bags every year? What’s even worse is that only 0.6 percent are recycled.

Another study in 2015 showed more than 87% of plastic bag items were never recycled, winding up in landfills and the ocean.

That’s why we’re huge advocates of a reusable mesh produce bag.

Plus, mesh is breathable – plastic is not. Your food stays fresher and lasts longer vs. being trapped in the perfect environment for mold. 

Mesh produce bags can also be used for virtually anything, not just produce! 

To care for your mesh produce bag: Wash with your laundry as normal. While practicing green laundry room habits of course!

Shop our reusable produce bags.



  1. Beeswax Food Wrap Over Plastic Bags, Plastic Wrap, or Aluminum Foil.

This is one of the most unique zero-waste products! A clever invention that utilizes one of nature’s best resources – beeswax.

Beeswax acts as a natural preservative to protect your food and keep it fresh. The waxy layer sticks to itself for a variety of uses:

  • Wrap sandwiches
  • Cover containers
  • Preserve fruits or veggies

Beeswax food wraps come in many different colors and patterns. You can have fun choosing a selection to fit the theme of your kitchen or your mood – we won’t judge you for stocking up.

To care for your reusable beeswax food wrap: Wash with cold water only + biodegradable soap. Don’t use hot water – the wax will melt!

Shop our beeswax food wraps.


  1. Cotton Veggie Saver Bag Over Plastic Disposable Food Saver Bags

It’s estimated that 100,000 marine animals are killed each year due to plastic bags and plastic pollution in the ocean.

A veggie saver produce bag in place of plastic will preserve your produce for 2 weeks or more! It goes without saying: this only supports your zero-waste lifestyle and zero-waste kitchen positively.

Bonus – this bag is biodegradable at the end of its life.

A veggie saver produce bag means less food to throw out and less waste in your kitchen! 

If you do find that some of your foods reach the end of their life before you can eat them, don’t worry. It happens to the best of us. Throw it in a backyard compost bin.

To care for your veggie saver produce bag: Throw it in the wash every few weeks on a cold cycle. Spritz with vinegar for extra cleaning power – plus an extra cycle rinse. 

Shop our veggie saver produce bag.


  1. Silicone Stretch Lids Over Plastic Cling Wrap

If you read about silicone’s durability with silicone ziplock bags, we don’t need to go over the power of silicone again. Silicone is incredibly helpful in reducing plastic waste, especially when you’re aiming for a zero-waste kitchen. 

When it comes to zero-waste food storage, this item is a no-brainer. You’re not just limited to bowls with these lids. Use them on fruits, veggies, pots, and pans – anything is fair game!

To care for your silicone bowl cover: Handwash the lids with warm soap and water. If you have a silverware tray to lay the lids flat, you might be able to put them in the dishwasher, but this may serve more as sanitation than actual cleaning.

Shop our silicone bowl covers.


  1. Reusable Cups Over Disposable Plastic Containers

When it comes to liquids, many people argue that most containers just aren’t designed to be leak-proof or durable enough. 

Have you considered using a reusable cup with a lid instead? Cups are designed to hold liquids without spilling. It may feel a little unconventional, but just think of how many plastic and disposable bowls you could save!

Use for leftovers, liquid recipes, fresh-squeezed juice, or soup. 

To care for your reusable cups: Depending on the material of your cups, you may or may not be able to wash them in the dishwasher. Glass and metal are always a safe bet, but some plastics or woods are sensitive and should only be hand-washed.

Shop our reusable mason jar lids.

  1. Silicone Canned Food Cover Over Plastic Wrap

Yep, silicone is back again on our list for zero-waste kitchen must-have products. 

If you’re a lover of convenience, you probably keep a supply of canned foods on hand. Cans are recyclable and eco-friendly, of course, but what about when you’ve only used up part of a can of beans and want to save half? You inevitably end up using a container or plastic wrap. 

While these silicone stretch lids fit perfectly over a can, the options don't stop there. Use them for any small container, soda cans, or fruits and veggies. 

Having silicone covers for cans makes your life easier and your zero-waste kitchen more efficient by creating fewer chances of plastic use and fewer containers to clean!

To care for your stretch silicone lids: Handwash the lids with warm soap and water. If you have a silverware tray to lay the lids flat, you might be able to put them in the dishwasher, but this may serve more as sanitation than actual cleaning.

Shop our small stretch silicone lids.


  1. Zero-Waste Metal Lunchboxes Over Brown Bags and Plastic Containers

Who said they don’t make a metal lunchbox for adults?! We love this zero-waste product.

We promise lunchboxes aren’t just for kids. 

You’ll be kicking yourself because you didn’t invest in one of these earlier. You’ll save so much money over the years by packing a lunch. And you’re guaranteed to create less waste!

To care for your metal lunchbox: Wash the metal tin in the dishwasher. Remove the bamboo top and the silicone grip and hand-wash. 

Bonus tip: Want a little extra protection? Check out our leak-proof lunchbox if you’re big on sauces, pasta, or soupy meals.

Shop our metal lunchbox.

  1. Rubber Bands and Clips Over Single-Use Plastic Baggies

This might seem overly simple, but it’s worth noting! 

Even better than reusable silicone bags – using the original bag the food came in. 

Eliminating an additional bag or container saves waste and water. This may seem like a tiny thing to pay attention to, but little actions add up over time.

Keep a supply of strong rubber bands and metal clips with a wide opening that can be used again and again. Keep some in your car, too – for road trip snacks!


  1. BPA-Free Reusable Water Bottle Over Plastic Water Bottles 

Reusable water bottles are some of the most popular zero-waste products out there. 

We’re a big advocate for zero-waste water bottles. 

They provide you with all the comfort of a normal water bottle, NONE of the pollution, and NONE of the chemicals. And obviously, they save Mother Earth from plastic pollution!

If your bottle’s insulated, the uses are endless. It might feel odd, but you can even throw a tomato soup or hot chocolate on the go into your reusable water bottle. Just trust us.

To care for your reusable water bottle: Depending on the material of your water bottle, you may need to hand wash it, or you might be able to just throw it in the dishwasher.

Tip: Look for a bottle with a protective bumper for added durability.

Shop our reusable water bottles and accessories.

How to Keep Building Your Zero-Waste Lifestyle

Creating a zero-waste kitchen is just the starting point. We have to keep eliminating plastic waste in every area of our lives. It’s a work in progress for all of us, but we’re in it together. 

What change or simple zero-waste product swap can you commit to today to create change?

One choice at a time – it really is that simple!

Check out our blog for more ideas + tips.

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