You will often find me in the kitchen as I love cooking. Over the years I have made some changes to make the space more eco-friendly. Greening your kitchen is not too hard, but there are a few things you need to consider. Kitchens are the heart of the home and they have a huge impact on our health as well as the environment. By making some changes you can ensure everything from the food you cook, to the appliances you use are safe for you, your family and for our planet. Here are ten tips for an eco-friendlier kitchen.
When it comes to buying a kitchen cooktop and oven, buy the most energy efficient. The higher the star rating, the less energy usage (electricity and gas). Of course, when buying you will be dictated by price, but consider the models that support a green lifestyle by looking for cookers, stoves and ovens that support and use eco-friendly materials. Many of the newer ovens are capable of coming to temperature so rapidly, there is often no need to pre-heat. Also, the more dishes you can fit in the oven at once to cook, means you can save on the energy you use cooking your meals. Also, remember if reheating small portions, using the microwave is a far better use of energy than heating up an oven.
Use kitchen utensils and cookware that will last the test of time. Avoid plastic where possible and use stainless steel or cast iron pots and pans. Say no to non-stick. Not only is not environmentally friendly, it is also a health hazard. Good quality bamboo, wooden or stainless steel utensils from sustainable sources are the best. When buying gadgets consider do they really fit your needs. If you do need items that do a number of jobs, consider a gadget that covers a number of roles, like a food processor which can make dough, slice, grate, mince, etc.
2. Washing dishes
Believe it or not, built-in dishwashers are more efficient than hand washing dishes (unless you have a very old inefficient dishwasher). Make sure you run only with a full load and no need to waste water pre-washing dishes! Also, remember it is best to run your dishwasher with a full load and at night, when the off peak usage for electricity occurs.
3. Cooling your food
Purchase an energy-efficient fridge or freezer. Also, it is important to use it correctly. If the temperature setting is too cold or a bit warm, you will end up with a lot of food spoilage and food waste. To avoid this set the temperature of the refrigerator to the maker’s optimal temperature range (usually around 2°-4°C). Make sure that you clean your refrigerator coils which can be found behind and sometimes underneath the fridge every year. When the coils get dusty, they are less efficient. Also keep the door closed – keeping it open for long periods wastes energy.
4. Water usage
In our house we use an old juice container to collect the water from the kitchen tap, when running to heat up the water. This water is used to water in-door plants, to give water to our pets or for washing something that doesn’t need hot water.
Also, when using a kettle, only boil what you need, as it is wasteful on energy to keep reheating the water you didn’t use in the first place.
5. Paper in the kitchen
Instead of paper serviettes use cloth napkins. Use recycled clothes instead of kitchen paper. If you do want to use kitchen paper, use unbleached paper.
Place a recycling bin in the kitchen. This will prevent the temptation to throw away items that can be recycled into the regular waste bin.
7. Avoid Plastic and Aluminium
Avoid using cling wrap and aluminium foil, where possible. Instead use reusable and resealable containers. Plastic containers are not ideal, but if you already have them, make use of them over and over again as this is far better than using disposable products. Stainless steel and glass containers are grea options.
8. Change your tap
Change the water tap by connecting a low-flow aerator to mix air into the stream and cut water usage without affecting pressure.
9. Using detergents
Avoid purchasing washing up liquid, dish-washing tablets and other cleaning solution for the kitchen that contain phosphates, as when they are released into local waterways, they threaten marine life and cause algae growth. You can purchase eco-friendly cleaning products or you can make your own. Most DIY cleaners contain cheap and safe ingredients such as vinegar and bicarbonate soda. But if you don't want the fuss of making cleaning solutions, have a look at the cleaning range we have on offer.
10. Kitchen upgrading
If installing a new kitchen consider using recycled materials. Kitchen fittings that have had a previous life like your floors, table and cabinetry, can give your kitchen a unique style and avoids the need for new, unsustainable materials. If you need to buy new, do your research first and buy items that are environmentally friendly e.g. bamboo and wood from sustainable forests.
There are many more ideas I could add to this list (paint type, storage space, size of your kitchen, etc.), but if you start with these few steps you will be on the right track to being more green.
Let me know how you go with being earthly passionate.
Attracta & the earthly passion team.