Are you concerned about the environment? Then you should be concerned about the products you are using in your home, especially the ones used in the kitchen. The kitchen is the heart of the home and a place where, hopefully, you prepare healthy and nourishing meals. Make sure the kitchen you’re preparing those healthy meals in is green and eco-friendly. Could you use some guidance on how to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly? Here are five tips to help you get started.
When you cook, don’t toss the leftovers. Put them back in the fridge for a future meal. This will not only save money on products you don’t have to buy, but it will save money on water and electricity too. You can “repurpose” leftovers as ingredients in soups, stews, casseroles, and other dishes. Don’t toss those bones or vegetable scraps either. Use them to make broths and stock. The fewer items you have to buy from the store, the less packaging you send back into the environment. You can even save the seeds from vegetables and grow new veggies at home.
Explore the world of plant-based meals too. Enjoying more vegetables and less meat will also reduce your carbon footprint. Ruminant animals release methane into the environment that contributes to global warming, but small changes can have an impact. Cutting the amount of meat you eat by as little as half can have a major impact on biodiversity and environmental health. Explore new recipes that feature plants as the focus and centerpiece. Go meatless one day per week too. How about Meatless Mondays?
Change How You Clean
Choosing eco-friendly cleaners for your kitchen can help reduce the environmental impact of your home cleaning routine. There’s no need to buy expensive, branded products in plastic bottles to keep your kitchen spotless. Natural products, such as baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, are an environmentally friendly alternative for cleaning surfaces.
When it comes time to clean your floors, a broom, mop, or non-aerosol spray bottle and some water are great options. Be choosy about the kitchen products you buy. When there’s a natural alternative, take advantage of it. You can find recipes online that show you how to make natural cleaning products at home from simple ingredients you already have.
Reevaluate Your Appliances
The kitchen is the most used room in your home, and one of the most ecologically damaging places to be. The appliances we use every day, such as toasters, microwaves, and coffee makers, run on electricity, and that increases greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Is it time to rethink how you use certain appliances? Reduce how often you use them, and when purchasing a new one, look for ones with the highest energy-efficient rating available. Question whether you need the latest kitchen gadgets that use electricity, especially when it’s something you can do by hand.
Cut Back on Convenience Foods
Frozen dinners, takeout, and fast food are all guilty pleasures for many people since they’re convenient and cheap. However, these convenience foods are also major contributors to global warming like airplanes, cars, and other forms of transportation. Don’t forget about plastic grocery bags either. When you visit a grocery store, bring your own reusable cloth grocery bag so less plastic ends up in the environment.
The convenience foods you toss in your cart likely underwent extensive processing that released pollutants into the air. Plus, there’s the problem of the packaging ending up in a landfill where it further pollutes the environment. Choosing more whole foods and unpackaged items is often healthier and friendlier to the environment. Also, purchase food locally from small farms when you can. Carbon emissions from transportation are currently the second largest contributor to climate change. Plus, according to Forbes Magazine, 34% of all man-made greenhouse gas emissions are produced by food systems.
Beyond food leftovers, look for ways to use what’s already in your kitchen. For example, reuse those coffee grounds. If you’re planting a garden you can simply sprinkle some coffee grounds around it. This will make the plants in your garden grow faster. Think like a recycler and ask yourself whether you can repurpose items in your kitchen rather than tossing them out.
The Bottom Line
Making your kitchen more eco-friendly is a way to positively impact the environment and the planet’s future. Plus, making these changes, such as eating more plants and fewer processed foods, is better for your health–so there are other perks to doing so.