KITCHEN

Our home is the first place where we can make some changes, both large and small, to help in the fight against climate change, and to create and preserve a more sustainable world. Saving the planet begins in the kitchen with our choice to replace single-use paper products with greener alternatives; reducing energy usage with smart appliances; avoiding harmful chemicals in kitchen cleaning products; and our attempts to reduce food waste by adopting new habits.

Today, forward-thinking companies are aware that conscious consumers want products from renewable resources that won’t harm the environment; products made from materials that will do the job well, and will ultimately biodegrade or be composted and return to the earth. We can support these enterprises by purchasing their products and giving them a try. It is surprising how easy it is to make the switch to a green home, one bamboo paper towel at a time…

BAMBOOEE TOWELS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: AMAZON

In 2011. founders Noam and Irene Krasniansky set out to create a product that would both replace disposable paper towels and be made from a sustainable and renewable resource. They also decided to plant trees to help reverse the damage from deforestation, with a goal of planting 1,000,000 trees. So far they have planted 200,000 trees.

Bambooee is rayon made from an organic bamboo source. The bamboo is harvested using sustainable and green practices. Once the bamboo is harvested, it regrows new sprouts every year. The harvesting techniques assure that the bamboo forests where Bambooee comes from continues to grow and yield the same amount of bamboo yearly.

Bambooee is durable, super absorbent, and machine washable up to 100 times, and easy to rinse out and quick to dry.
For every roll of Bambooee sold, they will plant a tree!

DID YOU KNOW

13 billion pounds of paper towels are thrown into landfills each year—this equates to 45 pounds of paper towels a year per person.

5 Cow Farm Boards

IMAGE COURTESY OF: 5 Cow Farm

Local artisans are a treasure worth supporting. And choosing to buy locally and sustainably, and purchase items directly from them will help keep them creating fine things, plus will put money directly back into your community.

If you are lucky enough to live in Eastern Maryland, there is a place called 5 Cow Farm, a 100-acre farm where artisan woodworker Deirdre Smith makes one of a kind boards, spoons, and bowls, all handcrafted and each one unique. 5 Cow Farm has been permanently preserved from development and has been in her family for four generations.

With a dedication to sustainability and minimizing waste, Deirdre sources her wood primarily from fallen trees from the farm. Each piece is as unique as each tree from which it came; the species, age, shape, color, grain, size, even the texture. All these natural elements inform the final product: shapes might be irregular with natural curves, offset handles, holes and knots; all with an eye toward minimizing waste while creating a strong, pleasing and useful form. Each one is hand-crafted to highlight the beauty and integrity inherent in the wood.

Deirdre will also refinish your board to make it like new. She believes her boards should last a lifetime or two if treated well.

Through 5 Cow Farm Boards, Deirdre sells her boards, spoons, knives and small bowls at local businesses such as Found Studio and Star Bright Farms. She also attends many artisan fairs and markets. You can find an up to date calendar of events here. Follow her on INSTAGRAM and FACEBOOK @5cowfarmboards.

From the 5 Cow Farm web site:

Inspiration. To be inspired is one of life’s greatest gifts. I find inspiration in the simplicity and beauty of the natural world of 5 Cow Farm, a farm that has been permanently preserved from development and has been in the family for four generations. It’s a place where nothing changes but everything is always changing; growing, dying, responding to forces outside the farm. I am inspired by design and collaboration. I am inspired by elements of wabi-sabi : the beauty of things imperfect, modest, humble, unconventional. And Hygge: gratitude, shelter and comfort.

DID YOU KNOW

Fallen and dead trees play an important role in forest ecosystems.  They are a place to nest for many species, and can provide a place to hide or hibernate for others. Moss and fungi grow on dead wood, breaking it down and returning important nutrients to the soil. 45% of all bird species depend on dead trees for some important part of their life cycle.

Food Huggers®

IMAGE COURTESY OF: FOOD HUGGERS

Did you ever want to give your onion a hug? Probably not, but Food Huggers® love onions and they are ready to hug them anytime. In fact, they will hug lemons, apples, eggplants, bananas, tomatoes, and an endless list of needy fruits and vegetables. These colorful reusable silicone wraps can help preserve fruits and vegetables without using plastic wrap, plastic bags, or aluminum foil, thereby keeping them out of landfills.

Food Huggers® were invented by Michelle Ivankovic and Adrienne McNicholas, foodies at heart, whose inspiration was fresh food and whose goal was to help people reduce waste at home.  Oprah magazine called Food Huggers® “equal parts clever and cute.”

From the web site:

“Zero waste starts with little changes. Each new habit we adopt helps us all move closer to a more sustainable world and a healthier environment. Food waste contributes up to 30% of garbage in American landfills. And single-use plastic and foil threaten the environment. Food Huggers dramatically reduce your trash footprint while also saving your food from premature spoiling.”

Since their Kickstarter launch in 2013, they have expanded their line to include Avocado Huggers® and soon, Food Hugger Lids. Their products are sold around the world, helping people develop healthier, sustainable habits in their homes.

Food Huggers® help retain 23% more moisture than food stored in plastic baggies or plastic containers. Keeping this moisture in and keeping bacteria out help extend the time you have to enjoy all the flavor and nutrition that your fruits and veggies can offer. The Huggers are dishwasher, microwave, and freezer safe. They’re made with food-grade silicone and are 100% BPA- and phthalate-free.

Food Huggers. Saving the world’s fruits and vegetables, one half at a time.

DID YOU KNOW

Americans waste about a pound of food per person each day, with people who have healthier diets rich in fruit and vegetables the most wasteful, research has found. About 150,000 tons of food is tossed out in US households each day, equivalent to about a third of the daily calories that each American consumes.

Acorn Wood Shop Hand-carved Spoons

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IMAGE COURTESY OF: Acorn Wood Shop

Each spoon that Julia Swyers creates has a personality all its own. Her love for wood is present in the organic shapes and elegant simplicity of each piece. Each object she makes comes from wood that she has diverted from the waste stream. As she puts it, “When I hear chainsaws and wood chippers, my ears perk up.”

Julia is an artisan wood carver located in the Hudson Valley, and part of a network of woodworkers who all share wood and have relationships with local tree service companies. They often get logs delivered to their driveways and can share them with the group. “I have found some great cherry and yew logs on the side of the road, set out for yard waste,” she says. Some of the wood she uses comes from discarded pieces from the furniture making process. It would otherwise be thrown out, but she has found a way to give it a second life.

Julia carves the spoons while the wood is still wet. In the case of the bowls and other items, she uses a lathe. In her Etsy store, Acorn Wood Store, she sells one-of-a-kind spoons, bowls, vases, honey-dippers, and the occasional magic wand.

Purchasing items made of reclaimed wood is a good way to help prevent climate change.

 

DID YOU KNOW

While we often read about recycling wood, it can mean turning it into chips and burning it at power stations. This can involve the waste timber being processed and shipped long distances. Much of our waste wood is reusable, high-quality wood that shouldn’t be thrown away. Community Wood Recycling diverts as much wood as possible from the waste stream to reusable projects.

Recycled Glassware

IMAGE COURTESY OF: LSA

Canopy is a collection of sustainably manufactured products produced by LSA International. Each planter, vase or drinkware item is handmade from 100% recycled soda-lime glass and is boxed in recycled, recyclable packaging printed with organic vegetable inks to further minimise the impact on the environment. This eco-conscious collection has won a prestigious iF Design Award 2019.

This glassware collection has a slightly green tint and a subtly domed base, inspired by the biomes at Cornwall’s Eden Project—home of the world’s largest indoor rain forest.

DID YOU KNOW

Glass is 100% recyclable and can be recycled endlessly without loss in quality or purity.

MRS. MEYER’S CLEAN DAY

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Mrs. Meyers

This line of cleaning products was inspired by Mrs. Thelma Meyer, an Iowa homemaker and mother of nine. As she says, “I have cleaned my own home for more than 40 years and believe me, after raising nine children I know a little something about cleaning.” The company was started by her daughter, Monica, to honor her “good old-fashioned values.”

Their collection of household products are made with essential oils from flowers and herbs, with scents like lavender, lemon verbena, and geranium. Unlike the cleaning products on the market today, these contain no chlorine bleach, ammonia, petroleum distillates, parabens, phosphates or phthalates. And they are not tested on animals.

Third party tests confirm that Mrs. Meyer’s products are on par with (and often better than) national brands.  As they say, “Cleans like the dickens!”

DID YOU KNOW

Around 2200 BC, the ancient Babylonians found a way to improve water’s cleaning power, and like so many great discoveries, it was by accident. Water had been used to clean cooking utensils that were covered in animal fat and wood ash. By combining the three substances, they inadvertently created the world’s first soap.

REUSABLE GROCERY BAGS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: AMAZON

These reusable grocery bags are made from superior quality, all-natural materials guaranteed to last for many shopping sessions. They contain no plastic, polyester, nylon, and other fabrics that contain harmful microfibers. They are 100% biodegradable, hand washable, and eco-friendly.

DID YOU KNOW

Plastic bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, but a single plastic bag has a life expectancy of up to 1,000 years.

HOMELUX THEORY SILICONE FOOD STORAGE BAGS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Homelux

A great alternative to plastic zip lock bags, these non-toxic storage bags are made of food-grade silicone and contain no BPA or GMOs. They are heat- and cold-resistant down to -76 degrees F and up to 428 degrees F, so can move from the freezer to the oven to the microwave.

DID YOU KNOW

The average family in the U.S. uses 500 Ziploc bags each year, and these bags often end up in the ocean.

REUSABLE BEES WAX FOOD WRAPS BY ETEE

IMAGE COURTESY OF: ETEE

Etee Wraps form a protective, breathable seal that lets food breathe so it can stay fresh longer. Made with Certified Organic cotton fabric infused with USDA Certified Organic Beeswax, coniferous tree resins, a touch of non-gmo soy wax, organic jojoba oil, organic cinnamon essential oil, and organic clove essential oil, they can be reused up to 150 times and are biodegradable. Simply warm them in your hands and wrap them around produce, bowls, sandwiches, nuts, snacks, cheese and cooked / smoked meats – virtually any perishable. The wraps stick to themselves and provide a clean and protective seal. After use, simply rinse in cool water – hot water will reduce the wax coating – and wash with a mild soap (avoid alcohol based soaps) and a soft sponge, just like you would a plate or bowl. Once clean you can either hang to dry or use a towel and reuse immediately.

DID YOU KNOW

Each year, Americans buy enough plastic film to shrink-wrap Texas.

SWEDISH DISHCLOTHS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: AMAZON

A perfect replacement for both paper towels and sponges, one Swedish Dishcloth replaces 17 rolls of paper towels, and can absorb 20x its weight! These versatile towels can be washed up to 200 times and are dishwasher, washing machine and microwave safe. Made from biodegradable cellulose and all-natural cotton materials (80% Cellulose / 20% Cotton).  Swedish Dishcloths are considered the “premium standard” in Scandinavia.

DID YOU KNOW

Unlike common plastic sponges, Swedish dishcloths are compostable and biodegradable.

TWIST SPONGES

IMAGE COURTESY OF: TWIST

Dyes and glues in traditional cellulose sponges can be harmful to our environment and polyester scrubbers never disappear from landfills. Twist wanted to provide consumers with a better option. The company cares about a clean world, and that means more than shiny countertops. It means “paying attention to what goes into our products (and what happens to them after we throw them away).”

Twist uses 100% plant based materials in the manufacturing of their residential cleaning tools.  The wood pulp for their cellulose is from FSC Certified sources, and all of the scrubbers are hand sewn onto their cellulose bases.

Twist sponges are made with all-natural fibers from hemp, agave and cotton. The dye free cellulose sponges used in all TWIST products is certified Biodegradable under ASTM D 6868 when disposed of properly. 

DID YOU KNOW

Cellulose sponges are made from wood fibers, and although man-made, they’re far more “green” than plastic ones since they biodegrade in landfills and go through a far less toxic manufacturing process.

Three Bluebirds Dishcloths

IMAGE COURTESY OF: THREE BLUEBIRDS

Three Bluebirds was founded by Lynda and Lasse Baldauf, in Old Greenwich, Connecticut.

Having grown up in Finland, Lasse remarks, “It was completely natural to reuse dish towels. In Europe, we never used paper towels. We’d wash and recycle naturally.”

According to the eco-conscious couple, one of their FSC-certified wood cellulose and cotton dishtowels does the work of 17 rolls of paper towels. It’s more durable and hygienic than a slow-to-dry, bacteria-ridden sponge, and can be thrown in the dishwasher or washing machine for over 200 cycles.  And when time to replace them, since they’ve been printed with water-based inks, the dishcloths can be composted.

The couple launched Three Bluebirds in 2013. “In Native American symbolism, ‘bluebirds’ are considered a sign of love and joy,” says Lynda. “I loved the imagery.”

The owners feel good to be able to share something that can help the environment. Lynda says, “I love the idea, ‘whatever blesses one, blesses all.’”

DID YOU KNOW

The Swedish dishcloth was invented in 1949 by the Swedish engineer Curt Lindquist. He discovered that a mixture of natural cellulose and cotton can absorb an incredible 15 times its own weight.

AIRTIGHT LIDS

IMAGE COURTESY OF: Charles Viancin

Airtight lids designed by Charles Viancin come in a variety of sizes and designs. They replace plastic wrap and tin foil, and add beauty to your kitchen. The silicone makes a strong seal on a variety of shapes, sizes and materials, including stainless steel, glass, plastic, ceramic, and even wood. The silicone lid acts like a large suction cup, creating an airtight seal that works to insulate both hot and cold foods and preserve freshness.

These lids are incredibly durable. Made from BPA-free silicone, they are able to withstand extreme temperatures ranging from 220 degrees C / 428 degrees F to -40 degrees C / -40 degrees F.

DID YOU KNOW

Silicone is durable, and more ocean-friendly than plastic. It lasts longer, and stands up better against heat and cold than plastics. It’s safer for your family, too, with no estrogen-mimicking toxins like BPA to worry about.