Whether you’re remodeling your kitchen or making a few simple upgrades, there are plenty of ways to make your cooking space greener. Many families agree that a healthy and happy home starts within a kitchen, so make your steps toward a healthier lifestyle using our 10 practical tips.
1. Choose cookware that will stand the test of time. Too many families depend on disposable products or purchase inexpensive cookware that has a limited lifespan. Instead, invest in a quality cast iron or stainless steel cookware set that won’t need to be thrown away. If you must have disposable products on hand for when you’re in a bind, consider those made from plant-based starches.
2. When updating your appliances, ensure that your choices are energy-efficient. The majority of products has an Energy Star rating, but delve deeper to see what the appliance will be cutting down in your home. Also look for recycling programs that allow you to properly dispose of the old appliance.
3. Although there is some debate over gas and electric stoves, most agree that gas stoves are the better choice. They make it easier to control the heat and don’t waste it after the cooking is completed. For more Eco-friendly choices, look for stoves that have lower BTU outputs. Also utilize slow cookers and electric kettles when cooking meals.
4. Saving water is another effective way to green up your kitchen, as water isn’t recycled in the way we may think. When steaming beans or vegetables, use the hot water for soups and broths. When washing fruits and vegetables, collect the water and use it to give the plants around the home a fresh drink. And, to your delight, use the dishwasher, which is more energy-efficient than washing dishes by hand.
5. Multi-task in the kitchen when cooking and preparing foods. Cook several things in the oven at once and wash all the veggies and fruits at the same time.
6. Reusing disposable containers is an excellent way to reduce waste and take recycling to another level. Glass jars are ideal for organizing kids’ arts and crafts, while butter wrappers can be used to grease cake pans.
7. Recycling is made easier when you don’t buy products that use a lot of excess packaging. Think ahead and stick to family-sized and bulk containers instead of the convenient individual ones. After all, there’s no need to buy the overpriced packaged apple slices or portable yogurts.
8. Don’t just focus your attention on recycling wrappers and containers; compost your organic waste that includes fruit rinds and vegetable skins. Use the compost in your garden and return the nutrients back to the soil.
9. Grow your own garden and reap the benefits of produce loaded with flavor. Not only is this more sustainable, but having ingredients in your backyard saves trips to the supermarket and cuts down on your food bill.
10. A green kitchen must be cleaned with green products, so use natural cleaning agents for a fraction of the cost. And, the same products can be used throughout the whole home, including vinegar, hot water and baking soda.
[Sarah Roberts is a content contributor for Erik Organic, a retailer of custom, eco-friendly dining tables.]
Image: cybrgrl at Flickr