If you want to green up your home, the kitchen’s probably the easiest place to start. You can make so many small changes in your kitchen that significantly impact your food waste, energy bills, and ecological footprint. Here are seven simple ways to an eco-friendly kitchen. How many can you make happen?
Stop washing your dishes by hand
Let’s start in a fun way: use a dishwasher. Many people think it’s eco-friendly to wash dishes by hand, but science proofs otherwise. Machines use less water and soap. Especially rinsing with hot water takes a lot of water and gas for heating. A dishwasher is more energy-efficient than you are. If you need to buy (a new) one, get the most energy-efficient one available. It will save you money in the long run on energy and water bills.
Be a better meal planner
Waste less food. Take time today to plan your dinners for a week. What do you want to eat, and what ingredients do you need for your meals? Check what you still have and only buy what you need. If you have leftovers, check what you can put in your freezer for a ‘lazy’ day. Or have leftover dinner: put all bits from yesterday and the day before on the table, maybe add some rice, pasta, or bread to complete your meal.
Bring your own bags
Stop using paper bags or disposable plastic bags to bring your groceries home. Buy a big shopper or make one out of old clothes (or a few, depending on your family’s size and your frequency of shopping). Think about how many disposable bags you usually use when you shop for groceries. How many a year do you think you’ll save when using big shoppers? That’s a lot less waste from you!
Ditch the toxic cleaning products
Start using non-toxic cleaning products. If easy to use, good smelling, eco-friendly brands are too expensive, try the old fashion way. White vinegar (bacteria-, mildew killer), baking soda (against odors), and lemon juice (great smell) are 3 great ingredients for cleaning products. You can use them to clean your kitchen and the appliances in it. You can even use them to do laundry. Find recipes online on how to mix them for the best cleaning results.
Cut the single-use plastics
Replace the single-use plastics and disposable material with reusable items. Stop using plastic plates or cutlery. If you don’t want to do dishes after a big party, use recycled paper plates instead. But preferably swap from disposables to bamboo plates, mugs, and cutlery. Bamboo is an eco-friendly, fast-growing plant. Bamboo products are durable, pretty, and easy to clean. Another bonus: they are lightweight too, so great for pick nicks.
Swap paper towels for reusable wipes
Give up on paper towels. Swap them for reusable fabric cloths, like organic cotton or bamboo. You’ll need quite a few cloth wipes to have for grabs every time someone spills something. If you can’t spend much, buy one at a time and work your way up to a big, soft pile of cloth. Or cut up some old towels and make them yourself. You can easily wash and reuse them over and over. In a small basket, they even look cute on the countertop.
Only buy energy-efficient appliances
This is a big one that requires a more significant investment than the other tips. If you want to upgrade your kitchen to eco-friendly, you need to look at your appliances. The biggest energy slurping ones are those that cool things and heat things: your fridge, your freezer, and your oven. When you are ready for new equipment, buy the most energy-efficient ones on the market, if you can. They are usually more expensive. But they’ll pay themselves back in just a few years because your energy bills will become a lot smaller. Also, check for things you could swap for unplugged versions, like your hand mixer.
Just a few tips for building on
These are just a few simple steps to take when you want to green up your home, but they are a great way to start. How do you make your kitchen fit your eco-friendly lifestyle? Leave your personal tips in the comments below.
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