12 Wallet-Friendly Kitchen Finds That Are Made to Last
When it comes to being a better steward of this planet, a lot has been made of swapping from single-use plastic bottles to reusable water bottles, or ditching plastic zip-top bags for reusable silicone ones. Each of these moves really can make a difference, but the truth about being more eco-friendly is that it will save you a great deal of money every year. When you stop spending money on items that immediately go in the trash, you can start investing in items that will last year for years and help you save money over time. And sure, as an added bonus, it'll be great for the Earth, too, cutting down on trash in the garbage cans, landfills, and oceans.
Indeed, putting up a bit of extra money for a one-time purchase can ultimately save you a great deal of money this month, this year, and even this decade. Need an example? A box of 240 dryer sheets will cost you about $9. For the average family, that will last about nine months. On the other hand, you can buy these six reusable wool dryer balls, and you can reuse them indefinitely. Dryer sheets might not be an expensive purchase, but they certainly take up a lot of room in the trash. And $10 saved is $10 toward something else on your wish list.
For more good news, you don't have to spend much more money than the cost of those dryer balls to build up your supply of these reusable kitchen items. Invest in the kitchen products and tools that make the most sense for your lifestyle. As time goes on, you'll find other ways to add to your multi-use kitchen tool collection, and your wallet will grow ever thicker with the savings.
Ball Mason 32-Ounce Wide Mouth Jars With Lids
Mason jars can take the place of any number of one-time use items, from zip-top bags to plastic cups for iced coffee. A few other great uses for mason jars include storing dry ingredients, like flour and sugar, right at the counter for easy access; making kid-friendly snack packs or to-go charcuterie jars; replacing plastic soap dispensers; transporting soup to work or school, canning (of course); or even a holding flowers as an always-stylish vase.
Swedish Sponge Cloths
These Swedish-style dishcloths are made from super-absorbent cellulose and cotton. (They absorb over 20 times their weight.) Though they're stiff and coarse when dry, these cloths turn soft once wet, which makes them safe to use on most dishes and cookware. The natural texture also makes them great at scrubbing. When they're dirty, pop them in the dishwasher or washing machine, and they'll be clean as new. A pack of 10 will last the average household a year, replacing plastic sponges and scrubbers that do not break down easily in the landfill.
Turbo Washable Microfiber Mop Pad Refills
If you're a weekly mopper, you know just how quickly you can go through a box of mopping pads. Save yourself the money and the item on your grocery list with these reusable multi-surface microfiber pads. They'll replace both wet and dry mopping pads and pay for themselves in just a few months, and they can be washed in the washing machine again and again so they're ready to go when it's time to do your chores.
"Cleaned my living, dining and kitchen hardwood floors with just one single pad. WOW!" one reviewer says. "Earlier when I was using the dry swiffer sweep pads; they were constantly falling off and had to keep replacing them multiple times during my cleaning session. But, yesterday that was not the case."
Zip Top Teal Reusable Silicone Containers
You've certainly been told to use silicone zip-top bags in place of the disposable kind to be good to both the Earth and your wallet. Now let me tell you another reason to invest in them: they're easier to use. Not all silicone zip-top bags will do this, but the reusable silicone containers from Zip Top stand up on their own, which makes putting leftovers or meal prep ingredients right into them. That also makes cleaning them easier, and the fewer barriers to use with these money-saving bags, the better. When not in use, the nest for storage, which keeps counters neat and tidy.
Reusable K Cups for Keurig
Keurig, with its single-use, no-scoop, no-mess coffee cups revolutionized brewing coffee. But as used coffee pods filled up waste bins and landfills, budget- and eco-minded shoppers started looking for better alternatives. The reusable K Cup was born. With these BPA-free, dishwasher-safe cups, you can pack your own grinds (or hot cocoa or tea leaves) and brew your own morning Joe while cutting down on the markup of Keurig cups. If you're really industrious, you can even pack a few of these ahead of time and store them in an air-tight container so you don't have to mess with measuring anything while you're uncaffeinated in the wee morning hours. A set of four reusable cups is less than $9, and you can't buy a box of K Cups for less than that these days.
Hydro Flask Stainless Steel Water Bottle
Combine a reusable water bottle with a filtered water pitcher, and you can almost print your own money with the major savings you'll be reaping. Stainless steel, insulated water bottles will keep your water (or tea, sparkling water, soda, or any other icy drinks) cool and sippable hours longer than thin plastic bottles. And while the cost of a single bottle is heftier than the cost of a bottle of water or even a case, you'll quickly make up the price with the savings.
If your cold drinks get their own money-saving bottle, your hot drinks should, too. BrüMate's brand-new Toddy insulated mug is attractive and portable, which means you can brew your coffee under the single-serve coffee maker, add cream or sugar, pop on the top, and sip piping hot java for hours longer than you could with a paper or styrofoam cup. And the leakproof locking lid, a first of its kind technology, will make sure your bag or backpack is safe from spills if you're walking to work or playing block and tackle with toddlers.
Kuhn Rikon Stay Clean 3-in-1 Scrubber Blue
One sponge, countless loads of dirty dishes, and no odors. If a dream sponge existed, it would look a lot like this.
Kuhn Rikon's three-in-one silicone scrubber sponge has soft bristles to wash non-stick cookware and more delicate dishes; then it has a built-in nylon scrubber for any baked-on food or tough spots. It is highly flexible for tight spaces, like wine glasses or small jars, too. One sponge will lost you much longer than a regular sponge, saving you money and reducing waste. Plus, the silicone is non-porous and BPA-free, so you don't have to worry about this sponge absorbing any bacteria or food bites that will begin to stink up your sink.
Bee's Wrap Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps
Before there was cling wrap or plastic wrap, there was beeswax-coated cotton fabric that could be used again and again to keep food tightly wrapped up and safe. And now reusable beeswax wraps are back as both a way to reduce plastic use and a way to save money buying rolls of aluminum and plastic. These food wraps are hand-crafted at a woman-owned company in Vermont that's also a Certified B Corporation. When the wraps need to be washed for their next use, rinse with water and mild soap, let dry, and they'll be ready to go again and again..
Handy Laundry Wool Dryer Balls
Reusable dryer balls take the place of single-use dryer sheets — and they last much, much longer. As mentioned already, a single bag of wool dryer balls costs about the same as a box of dryer sheets, so you'll start saving money as soon as you need a new box. This is also a money saver if you've been using liquid softener to help with static and wrinkling; the dryer balls are a chemical-free way to do all that with your laundry, too. The manufacturer even says the balls will cut drying time by 25 percent, which is another way to put money back in your pocket.
Amazon Basics Silicone Baking Mats
You won't need parchment paper or aluminum foil rolls when you invest in these silicone baking mats. Instead of wrapping your baking sheet in aluminum before roasting beets or potatoes, plop this non-stick mat in the pan, and let the food cook. You'll get the same brilliantly roasted food, but you won't be wasting your money by throwing away the foil or paper immediately after. Just rinse, wash with soap, and dry these mats. They'll be ready to use the very next time you need them.
Hutzler Onion Saver
As great as silicone bags and beeswax wraps are, a few foods need specialty storage to prevent the food from absorbing other odors — and to prevent the food from leaking odors to other foods. Onions are a perfect example. Once sliced, an onion is highly porous and can absorb any other odors floating around your fridge. But with this BPA-free onion saver, you can lock in (and lock out) odors. This also means you can slice onions ahead of time for bagels or burgers, and they'll be ready to use.
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