Zero Waste Kitchen Hack: Reusable Aluminum Can Lids

Zero Waste Kitchen Hack: Reusable Aluminum Can Lids

*This post contains affiliate, but not sponsored, links. This means it's a real product I've discovered and used and loved on my own, but if you click through and give it a whirl, they give me a tiny monetary high five for sharing the good news.

You open a can of olives, and if you're anyone other than my olive-crazed boyfriend, you don't use the entire can in one salad.

Do you A) grab a piece of environmentally costly aluminum foil and scrunch it around the can top like a savage raised by frat boys or do you B) do the environmentally smarter and civilized thing and seal it with a reusable can top?

IF YOU'RE STILL DOING OPTION A, AND THAT'S SERIOUSLY NOT A VIABLE OPTION, I'M REALLY GLAD YOU'RE HERE. (I did do that myself until recently. So take my judgy humor with a grain of - sustainable - salt.)

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For a long time, I honestly didn't realize there even WAS a better way. And then one day I thought to myself, if they can create tiny eavesdropping terminators that will blast 90s one-hit wonders on command - I'm looking at you, Alexa, you crazy glitch - they MUST have come up with a can top solution that's better and more effective than wads of foil. 

Spoiler alert: they did. And they're awesome. 

This is one of the easiest, most flawless environmental shifts I've made. It's cheap. It saves me money. It requires zero changes in my routine, and if anything saves me trips to the store. 

Why is aluminum foil bad?

Producing ONE TON of aluminum ingots requires 170 MILLION British thermal units of energy and spits out about 12 TONS of carbon dioxide-equivalent. That is an incredibly heavy carbon footprint.

Before you reach for the plastic wrap instead, remember that aluminum can be recycled virtually endlessly without quality degradation. The same cannot be said for plastic.

So should you not use aluminum foil? No. I'm not saying that. I'm just saying we shouldn't treat ANY high-cost materials as disposable. Reduce your impact by buying aluminum foil with at least partly recycled aluminum, and use it where you need it... which is not scrunched up on top of half a can of tomato sauce.

Why are these reusable can tops so good?

Not all reusable can lids are created equal. I had previously used some that were regular plastic, and the quickly warped and cracked in the dishwasher, and then lost their seal. I still use them in a pinch, but these are WAY BETTER

  • They're silicone
  • They're FDA approved, contain no Phthalates or BPA, which are found in many plastic lids
  • They will  not crack, melt, or warp and can withstand high temperatures
  • They fit two sizes of cans - think chicken broth and also tuna
  • They have a good airtight seal, leaving your food fresher, longer

This tiny, easy change has reduced the amount of trash and unnecessary recycled waste coming out of my kitchen significantly, particularly when I'm cooking for one person. It takes virtually no effort, and if anything eliminates last minute trips to the store for foil. 

And best of all, they'll keep your fridge from looking like it's been infiltrated by frat boys, next time your mother comes to visit.

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