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The Best Eco-Friendly Alternatives to Kitchen Roll

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Looking for eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll? Read on – I’ve got heaps of ideas on how to ditch the single-use kitchen roll.

When it comes to the kitchen I’ve already covered eco-friendly alternatives to cling film. However, what about plastic-free and eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll? 

Whilst kitchen roll may be a staple product that is undeniably very useful, it’s not the greenest option. It’s a single-use and disposable product. Many brands still package their kitchen roll in plastic. Plus, contrary to popular belief, dirty kitchen roll is not recyclable.

You may be wondering what to use instead. Worry not. I’ve got five eco-friendly alternatives that are kind to the planet, yet still pull their weight in the kitchen.

The Eco-Friendly Alternatives To Kitchen Roll To Try

Kitchen roll on a counter with a blue text box that reads sustainable alternatives to kitchen roll to try.

If you’re looking to make the switch away from single-use products, then I’ve got some great zero-waste and eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll up my sleeve for you! 

If you’re not ready, pop back later when you’re ready. There is zero pressure! When it comes to green living my all-time number one tip is to make one small green switch at a time. It’s much less overwhelming. And it’s so much easier to find a starting point to work from, rather than trying to green all the things at the same time:

Opt For Reusable Cloths

basket full of cleaning cloths that are kind to the environment

One of my easiest eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll is to keep a drawer or basket filled with cloths

My working mum’s budget doesn’t stretch to having a basket full of organic cloths. As such, I buy cheap as chips cotton cloths from the supermarket when I find them minimally packaged. Anything that’s not single-use is a big positive in my eyes, so I don’t feel guilty about it. If it’s what you can afford then don’t feel guilty either. 

For an even more frugal and green approach, you can also cut up old clothes or towels that are way past their best, and use them as kitchen roll alternatives too. 

If you’ve got a sewing machine you might want to stitch the edges with a simple and quick running stitch to prevent fraying. If you’re not into sewing then I find old cotton t-shirts don’t tend to fray so much, so don’t need stitching.

To use, I just grab a cloth when I need to wipe a spill. I then pop the dirty cloth in the washing machine when I’m done. Job done.

Make Your Own Kitchen Roll

reusable kitchen roll diy

A random pile of cloths stacked up in your kitchen perhaps doesn’t appeal to your aesthetics. Or perhaps you want an eco-friendly alternative to kitchen roll that still looks like kitchen roll. I understand this. Sometimes it is easier to make the leap to reusables if things look the same.

The good news is that there are heaps of reusable kitchen roll tutorials out there. This handy DIY, from A Beautiful Mess, is pretty comprehensive. 

Buy Reusable Kitchen Roll

Earth Kind's eco friendly alternatives to kitchen roll

If you aren’t particularly crafty or are too time-poor (me, on both counts!), then thankfully you can buy a reusable kitchen roll on Etsy. 

This reusable set, from Earth Kind Creations on Etsy, is pretty and practical. This set costs from £12 for 8 sheets. With average household spending on disposable kitchen rolls coming in at £104 a year, you’ll recoup the upfront cost in no time.

Use A Plate

sandwich sitting on a chopping board

When I was growing up in the 1980s my mum often served us food on a piece of kitchen roll. A sandwich, toasted cheese, or a bit of cake. If it was finger food, it was always served up on a piece of kitchen roll. 

My mum worked full time and didn’t have time to be doing a constant stream of dishes that three kids create. We didn’t have a dishwasher back then. Kitchen roll plates it was. 

So much so, that I honestly thought serving food was the MAIN use of kitchen roll! Therefore, it took me a long time to break this one. Now I always serve food on a plate. We have a dishwasher. It helps immensely.

Opt For Reusable Napkins

slice of cake on an eco-friendly alternative to kitchen roll

This one is another throwback from my childhood. 

When it came to packed lunches, my mum wrapped my sandwiches in kitchen roll. Alternatively, she popped a bit of folded-up kitchen roll in my lunchbox. This was to either mop up any leakages or to act as a napkin. 

I do this for my own kid’s packed lunches now. But with washable napkins instead of disposable kitchen roll. Pro tip: dark-coloured napkins are king at hiding food/grease stains! 

Have you found any other eco-friendly alternatives to kitchen roll? As always do let me know in the comments below!

I’ve also got loads of other eco-friendly kitchen hacks. From plastic-free dishwasher detergent to making your own beeswax wraps, to my guide to natural cleaning products to DIY, and more, have an explore of my archives!

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  1. My biggest issue is using kitchen roll for patting salad dry. That’s where most of our roll usage goes. What would be the best alternative to that please?

  2. I use bamboo washable cloths for wiping surfaces, which was the main use of the kitchen towels before I switched. Plates for serving food and silicone reusable plate covers for left overs…

  3. This post is lovely because sometimes I feel that when we use certain things without thinking, such as kitchen roll, it is a little bit hard to think about alternatives.
    Have a nice day!

  4. You can buy rolls of reusable kitchen towel made from bamboo fabric. The sheets tear off like paper towels, but can then be washed and reused many times.

  5. I have cut up old, past their best t-shirts and put them under the sink as they aren’t aesthetically pleasing 😂 x

  6. For some reason, using kitchen roll is one of the habits I find it most difficult to kick in the kitchen. I’m not sure why but it’s probably just the convenience! I’m trying to keep clean cloths in a basket ready for use. These are great suggestions, I’ll keep them in mind!

    1. It’s been one of our hardest swaps too, Hannah, I think it’s definitely the convenience factor, and it took us a long time to break the habit. A basket, a drawer, a bag, anything that you have will do the job – good luck!

      1. Wendy, am curious as to whether the Wilko cloths you’ve mentioned would be OK to use for washing up as well. Am determined to stop using j-cloths in the kitchen and bathroom so need something that will withstand being regularly put in the washing machine. Thanks!

        1. I just use dishcloths from Wilko which are white, edged with red or blue stitching. Use once for washing up, clean off the worktop, then put in the wash. Ensure you put it onto something plastic to dry out, so you don’t have to replace a wicker washing basket…

      2. I’m trying to replace my usual go to wet wipes in the house, for kids faces at meal times, and to replace my quick anti bac wipes in each of the bathrooms. I had started to use kitchen towel, but that’s just as bad general waste as wet wipes (and bigger!). I really don’t want a basket of flannels in the kitchen and I’d be loathe to use the washable bamboo ones on kids faces, can anyone recommend a kitchen towel brand that uses recycled paper and is biodegradable so I can compost after use?