From late 2016 into 2017 I got serious about the safety and sustainability of things I use everyday. I buy organic because I don't want toxins in my foods, so why would I be okay with toxins in everything else? The more I know about toxicity and the environment, it tends to drive me a little crazy. I can't un-know these things! And frankly ignorance was bliss. There are so many toxins in the things we use everyday and it's tough to get rid of even a fraction of them.
Plastics are everywhere, especially single-use ones. Companies are getting rid of the harmful BPA compound in their products and sneakily replacing them with BPS (a modified, but just as toxic compound). Pots and pans are coated with toxic products of Teflon, polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE) and perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA). Funny story, my grandfather was the chemist who invented Teflon so hopefully he wouldn't mind me going back to cast iron.
There's no escape from toxins in our world, but there are smarter choices to reduce your exposure.
Here's my list of sustainable + non-toxic replacements for conventional kitchen products. In regard to self-care + beauty, there's a post for that here! And one on ethical fashion and home goods is to come sometime in 2018.
Stasher Bags are made of silica and oxygen instead of petroleum-based plastic. No harmful chemicals, and they seal like a dream. Dishwasher safe, too.
Bee's Wrap uses the heat of your hands to mold the material around whatever you're trying to cover. Even works well on avocado to keep exposed flesh from turning brown.
Parchement + Wax Paper
If You Care is an unbleached brand made with the highest standards for minimal environment impact. Their products are made without toxic chemicals and it's a relatively ubiquitous brand nowadays found at grocery stores.
There's no reasonable alternative to this one and I suggest eliminating it. This has been a tough product for me to eliminate in the kitchen, but I'm learning to cook using alternative methods that avoid it like baking with lids or using parchment paper instead.
Ecover is the ultimate brand of dish soap and dishwasher detergent. You need so little of the dish soap to wash a whole sink. Their dishwasher detergent works just as well as the fancy toxic brands promising superb power and shiny dishes.
Stainless Steel Baking Sheets are the move to avoid the aluminum coating on most conventional baking sheets. Always use parchment paper to cover the baking sheet if you do have sheets with an aluminum coating.
Pots + Pans
Look for compostable bags like these from If You Care instead of biodegradable ones, their breakdown efficiency and the environment science isn't solid for most on the market.