7 Clever Gifts for the Eco-Conscious Cook

We’ve tested a ton of environmentally friendly kitchen gear. Here are our favorites.

Published Dec. 1, 2022.

We’ve tested tons of eco-conscious kitchen gear and we’ve found that the only products worth buying are those that work either as well or better than what they promise to replace. 

However well-intentioned one might be, if a product isn’t easy to use, no matter how virtuous it may sound, it will still end up in a landfill. For gifting inspiration, here is a list of some of our top-rated environmentally friendly kitchen gear that truly performs. 

Gifts cooks will adore and use forever

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From left: FloWorks Design Plastic Bag and Bottle Dryer, purifyou Reusable Produce Bags, and Abeego Food Wrap

For the Person with Soggy Plastic Bags Draped Everywhere

Our Favorite Bag Drying Rack: FloWorks Design Plastic Bag And Bottle Dryer

Whether you're reusing plastic zipper-lock bags or washing and drying silicone bags, they can be a pain to dry. Our winning bag drying rack makes this chore easy.

With eight long arms and a stable base, this tall wooden rack has the biggest capacity in our lineup and did the best job drying multiple types of items at once. Bonus: It’s made from repurposed wood scraps from furniture making.

For the Environmentally Conscious Shopper

Our Favorite Reusable Produce Bags: purifyou Reusable Produce Bags, Set Of 9

Skip the roll of plastic produce bags at the grocery store and upgrade your shopping game with reusable produce bags. Toting produce (or dry goods from the bulk bins!) has never been greener or more stylish.

Using our winning bag was a cinch (pun intended): The combination of a smooth drawstring and a strong closure bead made filling and closing it simple and convenient. It has a roomy capacity and superfine mesh that even held grits without leaking.

For the Cook Who Wants to Use Less Plastic Wrap

Our Favorite Reusable Food Wraps: Abeego Food Wrap

Plastic wrap is a convenient way to store leftovers and partially used produce (hello, avocado halves). But it's wasteful and can be frustrating to use—if you've ever tried to unstick plastic wrap from itself, you'll know what we mean. We tested reusable food wraps coated with beeswax and other natural ingredients to see if there was an alternative to single-use plastic, and we found a winner.

Beautifully designed and just sticky enough, our winning reusable food wraps keep ingredients fresh and have serious staying power, performing similarly (or better) than plastic wrap in our testing. They were easier to clean than their much stickier counterparts, resisted stains, and held up to washing well.

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LifeFactory Glass Water BottleOXO 5-Piece Reusable Straw Set with Cleaning Brush

Lifefactory 22 Oz Glass Bottle with Classic Cap (left) and OXO Good Grips 5-Piece Reusable Straw Set (right)

For the Person Who Is Serious about Hydration

Our Favorite Glass Water Bottle: Lifefactory 22 Oz Glass Bottle with Classic Cap

If you know someone who always has a water bottle within reach or is refilling their plastic water bottles to give them a second life, help them cut back on plastic with a glass reusable water bottle.

It’s easy to fill and clean and impressively sturdy. The screw-on lid has a wide, arched handle that was easy to grip and turn. It’s dishwasher-safe and had no extra parts to deal with. It was also impressively sturdy for glass, surviving three indoor drops in our testing despite its 2½-pound (filled) weight. 

For the Person Who Thinks It’s Never Too Cold for Iced Coffee

Our Favorite Reusable Straws: OXO Good Grips 5-Piece Reusable Straw Set

Drinking a smoothie or iced coffee without a straw just doesn't feel right. As people have tried to curb their use of single-use plastics, reusable straws have increased in popularity, with more and more models hitting the market.

Our winning reusable straws come in two heights, so they work in a wider variety of containers. They also have soft silicone tips so you don’t clank your teeth. The set comes with an effective cleaning brush with plentiful bristles and a nice grippy handle. These sturdy straws didn’t dent even when we placed a weight on them for an hour and firmly punched through the lid of a plastic to-go cup.

GIR Silicone Container LidOXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin

GIR Silicone Container Lid (left) and OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin (right).

For the Person Who Loves Leftovers (But Hates Single-Use Plastic)

Our Favorite Silicone Food Covers: GIR Silicone Container Lid

Sure, you could always put your leftover pasta in a storage container, but that's a whole other dish to clean. It's much easier to store it directly in the serving bowl. Silicone food covers (often called "silicone lids" or "reusable lids") are heat-resistant, dishwasher-safe, reusable alternatives to plastic wrap and are perfect for keeping leftovers fresh.

Our winning food covers are beautifully designed and incredibly effective. The suction lids form a formidable seal and keep food fresh—color us impressed. They attach with only the slightest effort and resist stains and damage. In our testing, they stored fruit salad as effectively as plastic wrap did and can even be used as a lid for cookware on the stovetop. They’re available in 4-, 6-, 8-, 10-, and 12.5-inch rounds.

For the Composting Curious 

Our Favorite Compost Bin: OXO Good Grips Easy-Clean Compost Bin 

Composting is one of those things that sounds daunting but is actually really easy. It hardly takes any extra effort to recycle; why shouldn't composting be the same? If you know someone who is interested in starting a composting practice, get them the best tool for the job: a compost bin.

Our winning compost bin contains smells so well, you might actually forget to empty it (but make sure you do; you'll want to keep fruit flies at bay). It's capable of holding up to five days worth of peels, coffee grounds, and egg shells from a two-person household. Cleanup is effortless; the body is dishwasher-safe but easily cleaned by hand with soap and water. Another perk is the detachable lid, which stays open when adding scraps and has a collar that secures a bag between the lid and body of the bin.

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