Want to reduce plastic use in your cookspace? Here are 24 genius swaps to make it happen.

By Lauren Phillips
November 06, 2019
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Maybe you’re going zero waste; maybe you’re trying to reduce the single-use items in your life, or you’re concerned about the potentially harmful chemicals in plastics. Whatever your motivation, there are plenty of reasons to seek out more plastic alternatives, especially in the kitchen, where food waste and single-use food packaging—plus all the cleaning supplies, takeout containers, disposable dishware and utensils, and more—take a heavy toll on the environment. (Every little bit adds up, remember.)

Whether you’re just learning how to recycle or you’re discovering what zero waste is, cutting back on plastic use in your cookspace can help reduce your negative impact on the environment, save you money, and even protect your health (especially if you’re constantly concerned about if you can microwave plastic).

These no-plastic alternatives for plastic bags, plastic wrap, food storage containers, and more offer reusable, long-lasting options that can mean less spending and fewer trips to take out the trash. Going plastic-free has never been so easy.

Plastic wrap alternatives

  • Chef’n’s Universal Cover set works for stovetop cooking, microwaving, and storage alike. Use on top of bowls, dishes, and pots to keep food preserved and fresh, then toss in the dishwasher and use again later.
  • Five Two Airtight Silicone Lids form an airtight seal with any container with a smooth rim, so salads, fruits, veggies, meats, and more can be stored safely. The lids—each set includes five sizes—are dishwasher-safe and stack together for easy storage. 
  • OXO Good Grips 3 Piece Reusable Silicone Lid and Splatter Guard Set works on plastic, ceramic, steel, or glass bowls and containers and creates a seal on placement to keep food fresh. The lids are also sturdy enough to bear weight, so you can stack covered containers in the fridge.
  • Farberware Food Huggers come in a variety of sizes (and colors) of BPA-free silicone to cover cut-open fruits and vegetables—think half of a lemon, or the remainder of an onion when you only need half—without plastic.
  • Farberware Butter and Cheese Huggers cover the ends of cheese blocks and butter sticks, keeping the cut end fresh and putting the original wrapper or packaging to work to keep the rest preserved until needed.
  • Etee Organic Reusable Beeswax Food Wraps form a protective, breathable seal around produce and food and over dishes to keep food fresh. Each cotton and beeswax piece is good for at least 120 uses; simply rinse and reuse.
  • Bee’s Wrap is reusable sheets of organic cotton muslin that are infused with beeswax. Use the heat of your hands to mold around the top of a bowl, sandwiches, cheese, or a loaf of bread. Each sheet lasts for a year, and they come in a variety of beautiful, vibrant patterns.
  • GIR Silicone Lids come in a variety of sizes, shapes, and colors, and suction onto every sort of bowl and casserole dish to keep food fresh.

Sealable plastic bag alternatives

Plastic storage container alternatives

  • S’well eats containers have two parts—an inner prep bowl and a vacuum-insulated exterior bowl—for transporting and storing snacks, granola, yogurt, or smoothie bowls, soups, salads, and more. Try S’ip by S’well containers for a more playful, kid-friendly option.
  • OXO Good Grips Storage Containers come in nine sizes of borosilicate glass containers with leakproof lids.
  • Essos Glass Jars are airtight and have wood lids for stackable, plastic-free storage. Use for dry goods such as pastas, dried beans, and the like.
  • Pyrex Easy Grab Glass Bakeware and Food Storage Set includes nonporous glass containers and bakeware with BPA-free lids, so food can be cooked and safely stored in the same containers.
  • Weck jars or mason jars.

RELATED: These Are the 9 Best Glass Food Storage Containers, According to Thousands of Reviews

Ice pack alternative

  • Onyx Stainless Steel Ice Packs are about the size of an iPhone, and can slip directly next to your food. Filled with distilled water, they freeze solid in about two hours and will keep lunch cool for four to six hours.

Plastic water bottle alternatives

Sippy cup alternatives

  • Pura Kiki Toddler Bottle, made from stainless steel with a silicone spout and travel cap, is totally plastic-free. Internal volume markings make measuring beverages a breeze.
  • Green Sprouts Glass Sip & Straw Cup holds liquid in a glass insert that’s covered with a plastic shield for protection (which never comes in contact with the beverage). This is a great option if you’re looking for a transparent sippy cup.
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