In many homes, the kitchen is the hub of all activity, and many people have been striving to make it as safe and eco-friendly as possible. We’ve compiled a list of simple things that you can do to be more eco-conscious, which will also help to keep harmful chemicals and wasteful material to a minimum.
1. Dishwashing dilemma
When washing dishes, the best way to conserve and be green depends on the amount of dishes you actually use. If you’re only washing small loads of dishes once every few days, washing by hand is actually the best way to go. Fill one side of your double sink (or one wash basin) with soapy water, and the other with rinse water. This way the faucet isn’t running the entire time, which can end up in gallons of water going to waste. If you have a dishwasher that is energy and water efficient, and you use more dishes than can be washed by hand, be sure to fill the dishwasher up with dishes completely before running a load.
2. Use your food scraps to feed your plants
Instead of throwing away those egg shells and coffee grounds, compost them! Keep a small bin or crock with a lid near your food prep area to dump all your scraps into. Veggie and fruit scraps are also great to compost. Composting is something almost anyone can do, and your food scraps make a fantastic nutrition booster for your plants!
3. Go with glass
Storing your leftovers in glass containers is a great way to avoid the questionable mess that is plastic. Glass containers do not break down like plastic when used over and over, keeping toxins away from your food. They also keep latent flavors and odors from leeching into whatever is being stored in them. Up to 80% of all glass can be recycled, so if you break a dish… fear not!
4. Linen… it’s not just for wearing
Reduce waste and deforestation by using cloth napkins and towels instead of paper, or simply use paper products that have been made of recycled material. Paper accounts for approximately 1/3 of all municipal landfill waste, and paper can generally take around 15 YEARS to break down in a landfill. By using a combination of linen towels and napkins and recycled paper products, you can cut down on the amount of paper going into landfills and the amount of greenhouse gases that are produced in the making of paper. You’ll also avoid being in contact with the chemicals that are used to bleach the typical napkin, tissue or paper towel… they aren’t white naturally, you know!
5. Fill your freezer
A full freezer, in fact, uses less energy to keep cold than one that is half full or nearly empty. Try prepacking crockpot meals or casserole ingredients to put in the freezer, as well as freezing fruits and vegetables from your own garden or local farmer’s market. You’ll always have food on hand and also won’t have to worry about throwing away unused or spoiled fruits and veggies.
6. Shop in style
Keep plastic out of our landfills by using reusable shopping bags! They can be made of almost anything (an old pillow case, for example) and most grocery stores are more than happy to bag your groceries using your reusable bags.
7. Clean up your cleaning supplies
The chemicals in the cleaning solutions that a lot of people use are not only toxic to germs and bacteria… they’re toxic to us as well! Baking soda, water, vinegar and citrus are all excellent natural cleaners that do no harm to humans or the environment. You can check out this link for some great natural cleaning solution recipes.