resuable produce bags extend the life of fresh vegetables and fruit. photo courtesy of vejibag

9 eco-friendly products for a greener kitchen

Cutting back on kitchen waste – from spoiled produce to one-use items like plastic wrap – is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint and do something to better our besmirched planet. While the greenest thing you can do is not buy anything and simply reuse and recycle what you already have, these products can help on your journey toward an eco-friendly lifestyle.

1. Final Straw
The insane number of plastic straws used by Americans every day – and how many end up in our oceans – has recently attracted controversy. If you’re on board with saving sea turtles but still long for a tube for sipping on the go, these portable, collapsible straws stand the test of twice-daily use for over 15 years.

2. Urban Vermiculture Mini Bin
At-home composting is more compelling when you consider that landfills are so densely packed that even an apple core could take years to fully break down. If a countertop worm farm sounds off-putting, don’t be alarmed. This kit is ideal for composting newbies and will remain odor-free if used properly. The worms thrive on fruit and veggie scraps, coffee grounds and shredded paper, but certain things (like onion, citrus and spicy foods) cannot be composted, so do your homework before getting started.
$20. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995,

3. One Eye Blind Woodworks utensils
These eco-conscious wooden kitchen utensils are sourced exclusively from foraged wood. Made in Sullivan, each piece is labeled with the type of tree it’s made from. If properly cared for, they’ll last for years.
$18. Larder & Cupboard, 7310 Manchester Road, Maplewood, 314.300.8995,

4. Vejibag
About half of all produce in the U.S. is thrown away, according to a report from The Guardian, often because it spoils before we get around to using it. Humidity and cool temperatures keep veggies vibrant longer, and these storage bags made from organic cotton help extend the life of produce. Simply wet and wring the bags, then place rinsed veggies inside and keep in the fridge.

5. Bee’s Wrap
This durable alternative to foil and plastic wrap is made from organic fabric coated in a mixture of tree resin, beeswax and jojoba oil. With regular use, they last a year or more, then can be cut up and composted or wrapped around kindling to start your next fire. (Learn to make your own.)
Three-pack: $18. Kitchen Conservatory, 8021 Clayton Road, Clayton, 314.862.2665,

6. Kitchen Dynamo e-cloth
Not only are sponges breeding grounds for microscopic bacteria, they’re often laced with bleach and dyes. The extra-long fibers on this sponge alternative make cleaning your kitchen a cinch using only water and a little elbow grease.
$8. Local Harvest Grocery, 3108 Morgan Ford Road, St. Louis, 314.865.5260,

7. “In the Green Kitchen: Techniques to Learn by Heart” by Alice Waters
“This book is full of little ways to change what you’re doing at home to make a difference,” said Larder & Cupboard owner Cindy Higgerson. “It was published almost 10 years ago, so it was a frontrunner for this movement, and it’s still relevant today. Alice Waters is the goddess of slow food – local and sustainable. She’s been doing this her whole life, and she’s a good role model for absolutely everyone.”
E-book: $16; hardcover: $19. Amazon,

8. Simple Ecology deluxe grocery bags
As eco-conscious shoppers embrace the war on plastic bags (which take hundreds of years to degrade), reusable shopping bags are the first line of defense. These heavy-duty organic cotton muslin bags are natural, sustainable and biodegradable, and feature six sleeves to help keep items like bottles and tall veggies upright.
Three-pack: $22. Simple Ecology,

9. Restorium Designs reusable produce bags
Tired of tossing all those paper-thin produce bags? Pick up a few of these made from tight-weave mesh paint strainers (with ponytail holders in lieu of twist ties) next time you’re in The Grove. Weighing in at less than an ounce, they won’t affect produce sold by weight, yet hold up to 15 pounds.
$4. City Greens Market, 4260 Manchester Ave., St. Louis, 314.884.8460,

Lauren Healey is an associate editor at Sauce Magazine. 

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