Photo: Wasara

5 eco-friendly alternatives to your everyday kitchen products

Looking to go green? Swap your regular household and kitchenware for these eco-friendly alternatives

Kaila Imada

Tokyo, along with the rest of Japan, is ramping up efforts to be more environmentally conscious. Sustainability is the focus for new fashion brands, vegan restaurants and more across the city.

But if you're looking for a simpler place to make a change than on your plate or in your wardrobe, the easiest way to get involved is by starting small at home. You can reduce waste and get more sustainable in the kitchen with these inventive and environmentally friendly Japanese products. 

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Green is good

Wasara dishware

Wasara is a range of beautifully designed tableware made from natural, compostable materials. No, it’s not wood, but rather, fast-growing and sustainable bamboo and sugarcane pulp that would otherwise be discarded. The designs reflect the brand’s Japanese sensibility and aesthetics, and there’s a full range to choose from: plates, bowls, tumblers, wine cups and even bamboo utensils.

From ¥550. Available online at Wasara Shop.

Kamenoko tawashi scrubbers

Tawashi are traditional Japanese scrubbing brushes made from palm fibres. They’re generally used for cleaning root vegetables, but their gentle abrasive quality means tawashi can also help clean pots and pans without leaving scratches. In fact, it’s worth keeping two in your kitchen: one for food, and another for dishes.

Just make sure you choose the right kind – coarse bristles are best for veggies, while the softer ones made from hemp palm or sisal fibres are ideal for cleaning delicate fruit and tableware. After using a tawashi, you’ll have a hard time going back to a normal sponge.

From ¥407. Available online at Kamenoko Tawashi.


Wara Tokyo wara straws

These all-natural drinking straws are made from wara (straw) harvested from pesticide-free wheat grown in Hinohara Village in western Tokyo. They are handmade, reusable and biodegradable. What’s more, each set of drinking straws comes with a card detailing the wheat stalks’ provenance and date of harvest and processing.

¥330 for a set of 10 straws. Available online at Wara Straw.

Beeswax wraps

Forget plastic – Minimal Living Tokyo has a better alternative: reusable food wraps made from cotton and organic beeswax. A set of three wraps in different sizes is ideal for covering anything you want to keep fresh, from cut fruit to bowls of leftovers.

Beeswax contains natural antibacterial properties, making these wraps both hygienic and eco-friendly. Each wrap should last about six months to a year, depending on how often you use it. If the material seems a bit stiff at first, just warm it up with your hands and then mold it to fit.

From ¥990. Available online at Minimal Living Tokyo.


Bento Box Coffee bento and tumbler

Pick up one of these sturdy bento boxes or tumblers made from 100-percent plant-based ceramics. The eco-conscious items are crafted from recycled natural materials, such as bamboo powder and coffee grounds, which would otherwise be thrown away. Both the tumbler and lunchbox are dishwasher-safe.

Bento ¥4,345, tumblers from ¥4,070. Available online at Good Good Mart.


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