Sustainable living is the best way to repair the damage done to the environment and ensure a healthier planet for future generations. You can make a difference by implementing a few small changes around your home, starting with your kitchen. Here are 12 simple and affordable ways to make your kitchen eco-friendlier.
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1. Cleaning Products
Most commercial cleaning products contain chemicals that are not only harmful to bacteria and viruses but also your health. Other cleaning products such as detergents can upset the delicate ecology of your local waterways, so always be mindful of the cleaning products you use in your kitchen.
Make your kitchen cleaning products using affordable household items that are just as effective for cleaning and sanitizing as commercial products. Fashioning your own cleaning products also enables you to recycle some non-compostable food scraps like citrus peels.
2. Smart Home Appliances
Kitchen appliances can account for a significant part of your daily energy consumption since equipment like the fridge and freezer are always running. Smart home appliances with an energy star rating can reduce your carbon footprint by minimizing energy and water consumption and are a step toward a greener future.
3. Reduce Food Wastage
According to the USDA, food waste makes up 40% of the overall food supply, 30% of which is wasted by consumers. This equates to over 130 billion pounds of food wasted per year that ends up in landfills across the country. Make some simple changes in your kitchen to reduce your impact on food waste. For example, menu planning and meal prepping can be a great way to reduce the amount of food you buy, and vegetable scraps and leftover bones can be used to make stock for other recipes.
4. Food Storage
Plastic containers and wraps are created using toxic chemicals and non-sustainable manufacturing practices. Changing your food storage to glass or stainless-steel containers keeps food fresher for longer. It is kinder to the environment and your wallet because they are built to last.
An excellent substitute for plastic wrap is organic beeswax-treated cloth wraps, which can be used on almost any food item and only need to be wiped clean after use.
5. Up-cycle Kitchen Items
Don’t spend big bucks buying new food storage containers. Up-cycle kitchen items such as glass jars for storing dry items. Some jars are even suitable for the freezer, but avoid filling them to the top to prevent cracking.
6. Minimize Paper Waste
Paper is another contributor to waste in the kitchen, but you can reduce the amount of paper and packaging in your kitchen with a few simple changes.
Use loose leaf tea instead of teabags. While the used tea leaves can be composted, the paper bag cannot.
Rather than using regular coffee filters, try biodegradable hemp filters. Or swap your coffee machine for a French press to eliminate the need for filters.
You can also reduce the need for paper towels and napkins by using organic fabric tea towels and napkins and washable, reusable bamboo paper towels.
7. Organized Recycling Area
Many people don’t know how to recycle correctly. Having an organized recycling area that is clearly labeled can help you up your recycling game and ensure everything that can be recycled makes it to the recycling plant.
Set up separate containers in your garage or laundry room—or under your sink if you live in a small space—that are labeled for plastics, paper, aluminum, and glass. Have a separate container for items such as plastic bags which cannot be put into your curbside garbage can and need to be recycled at another facility.
When it comes to recycling, a little research goes a long way. Contact your local recycling plant and find out what items are recyclable. Go online and find out how to prepare your kitchen recyclables so they can be processed.
Composting is an effective way to reuse your kitchen waste and reduce your carbon footprint. Almost all kitchen scraps can be composted, as well as eggshells, coffee grounds, and even some paper waste such as napkins and paper towels. The rich compost created by the decaying reduces the need for chemical fertilizer for your garden.
No matter how big or small your home, there is a compost bin to suit your needs.
9. Eco Friendly Utensils
Single-use utensils like plastic flatware and drinking straws account for a large portion of the plastic waste in your home, but there are now a considerable number of utensil options made from eco-friendly materials you can use, including stainless-steel metal straws and bamboo flatware. These are lightweight and convenient enough to use at home and take with you when eating out.
10. Reusable Produce Bags
While most people have made the switch from plastic shopping bags to reusables, most people still use the tiny plastic bags for holding produce. Reduce the amount of plastic bags in your kitchen by using reusable produce bags made from lightweight mesh when buying fruits and vegetables.
11. Buy in Bulk
Buy in bulk or waste-free at farmer’s markets and grocery stores. Make a choice not to buy prepackaged items. Not only will you reduce the amount of non-biodegradable plastic in your kitchen, but it also allows you to choose the best-quality produce.
12. Greywater Irrigation
Water conservation is a vital part of creating a sustainable future, and you can cut down on water waste in your kitchen by setting up a greywater system. Greywater is wastewater from sinks and kitchen appliances that is suitable for irrigating your garden. Use eco-friendly soaps in your dishwasher and sink to keep your plants healthy.
Start your journey to sustainable living by making some simple changes in your kitchen. Even small adjustments, such as purchasing energy-star-rated kitchen appliances can make a big difference in building a greener future.