Are you looking to make your kitchen more eco-friendly? If so, we totally get it — and not just because it's 2022. We all want to contribute in our own ways to reducing the strain on the planet, of which products used in our kitchens often play a large role. But how to do this without breaking the bank or sacrificing too much convenience? Here’s how: from reducing packaging waste and choosing eco-friendly cleaning supplies, it is possible to revamp our kitchens into green havens! So buckle up; our guide will show you exactly how easy (and affordable!) it is.
Reduce Packaging Waste
One of the easiest ways to reduce your carbon footprint in the kitchen is by cutting down on packaging waste. Did you know that packaging accounts for one-third of all household waste? When shopping for groceries, look out for items with minimal packaging such as grains and beans sold in bulk or just bring along your own reusable bags when shopping. And if you can, buy items with no packaging at all like fresh fruit and veggies! Local farmers’ markets are a great place for buying packaging free produce. If you live in the UK, veggie boxes suppliers such as Riverford and Abel & Cole offer plastic free boxes with seasonal produce.
Another way to reduce waste is by repurposing leftover containers for storing food. For years I have seen my mother collecting old yogurt tubs which she would then use to freeze seasonal fruits and vegetables. You can also use them for holding snacks or leftovers, while old glass jars are perfect for keeping ingredients like flours and nuts fresh.
Choose Eco-Friendly Cleaning Products
The products we use to clean our homes have a huge impact on our environment — especially when those products contain harsh chemicals that end up discharged into water systems. To limit their harmful effects, swap your chemical cleaners for natural alternatives such as white vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice or hydrogen peroxide – all of which are just as effective but much safer for both you and Mother Nature! Not only will these natural alternatives save money in the long run but they can also be made with ingredients already lying around your home — talk about killing two birds with one stone! If you do not have time to make your own cleaning products, why not try water soluble cleaning sachets which you just drop into a bottle of water, shake and have a cleaning spray ready.
Skip The Paper Towels
Switching from paper towels to cotton dish towels will not only save on paper products, it has environmental impact as well! Fewer trees need to be cut down for the production of paper towels, and less energy is consumed by not having to create those rolls. Plus, you'll have money saved that would otherwise have gone into buying more paper towels every couple of weeks. You can just wash the cotton towels to keep them clean and they will last you for years. It is an easy switch, but it will make a significant difference. If saying goodbye to paper towels is too much to ask, at least switch to reusable bamboo towels which you can wash and reuse for years.
Make Your Appliances More Efficient
When shopping for new appliances, look out for models that come equipped with energy efficient features such as LED lighting or induction cooktops. Also pay attention to the type of material used since stainless steel appliances tend to be more durable than plastic ones. If replacing appliances isn’t an option right now then consider switching off idle devices when they’re not being used — this simple act alone can save energy (and money!). Lastly, don’t forget about your water heater — opting for a tankless model can reduce energy consumption by up to 30%.
Check your tea brand
Tea is an essential part of many people's daily routine but many of the standard tea bags contain plastic. If you love your cup of tea, consider switching to a plastic free brand or loose-leaf tea. It can be equally satisfying in flavour but so much better for the environment.
Not all lights are the same
Using as much natural light as possible can make a world of difference both in terms of reducing energy costs and helping the environment. Open up your blinds or curtains to let in some sun or try rearranging your furniture so that it reflects the natural light even better. This can help improve visibility and mood when you're cooking for yourself or entertaining guests. For those times when the sun goes down, switch to LED bulbs – they may be pricier but they have longer lifespans, meaning you won't have to replace them as often. Plus, you'll get great lighting without using too much energy and save money on your electricity bill.
Become a mini farmer
Eating healthier, cutting costs and being more eco-friendly tend to go hand in hand. Planting a herb garden is an easy way to make your kitchen more sustainable while reducing the amount of food you need to buy from the store. Grow fresh herbs such as coriander, rosemary, thyme, mint and chives right in your own kitchen to add amazing flavours to your meals. This requires little space and time but can have a great impact in terms of health benefits and cost savings, not to mention doing something good for our planet! Get creative by planting vegetables that don't require huge gardens or large growing spaces, like spinach and green onions - you won't believe how easy it is!
Pre-heating is not needed
You can start with a simple change: don't preheat the oven before baking! This can save you energy and precious minutes on your electricity bill - plus, you may find that preheating isn't even necessary for some baked dishes. In addition, look for ways to use alternative heat sources such as pressure cookers or microwaves to make meals quickly with less electricity.
Say goodbye to plastic sponges
Plastic sponges are environmentally destructive – according to a study by the University of Plymouth, a single plastic sponge can contain up to 1,000 million fibres of plastic waste. Thankfully, there are plenty of eco-friendly items that you can replace your plastic with such as loofahs or brushes with natural bristles. There are also many plastic free sponges on the market, sponges which can be washed in a washing machine or dishwasher and reused for months.
Making your kitchen eco-friendly doesn't have to be hard or expensive—just start small with these simple steps. From switching out lightbulbs and using energy efficient appliances, all the way through planting own hers and skipping paper towel rolls altogether —you'll be well on your way towards creating a greener kitchen that everyone can enjoy!