When I’m putting together a kitchen, it’s important to not just be beautiful and functional, but also to make it environmentally friendly. And you don’t need to spend a bunch of money or overhaul your kitchen to make it a little more green. There are plenty of things you can do right now to reduce your carbon footprint, and create a more sustainable kitchen. Since Zach (our resident chef) spends so much time in the kitchen, I asked him to share some of his tips with all of you!
replace your single use items with reusable versions
Have you ever stopped to think about how many items we use once and then throw away? Even if you’re recycling some or most of that, it still helps to cut down on waste. Start by replacing these with a reusable alternative.
- Replace ziploc bags with washable, reusable ones.
- Get some reusable grocery bags to take shopping.
- Keep some metal straws around (they’re cuter than the plastic ones anyway).
- Use a kitchen towel to wipe up instead of heaps of paper towels. If you do use paper towels then look for the kind made of recycled materials.
- Get some baking mats instead of using parchment paper for cooking.
- Stop buying bottled water and get a pitcher with a filter and some good reusable bottles.
- Replace your plastic tupperware containers with glass or metal versions. These will last a lot longer, cutting down on waste in the long run.
Use natural cleaning products
Traditional cleaning products often contain harmful chemicals that are not only bad for you, but are bad for the environment as well. When you use them those chemicals get released into the atmosphere. Look for environmentally friendly, natural cleaning products that can help cut down your carbon footprint.
Only run your dishwasher when it’s full
I’m definitely guilty of not following this at times. Your dishwasher is going to use the same amount of water no matter how full it is. Don’t let that water go to waste. Make sure your dishwasher is full before you run it.
Get an aerator for your kitchen sink
An aerator is a small attachment that attaches to the faucet. It dilutes the water stream with some air, allowing you to cut down on water usage while maintaining a high water pressure. According to the EPA, it could save you around 700 gallons of water per year. You’ll be helping the environment while saving a TON on your water bill.
replace your teflon pans
Teflon became popular as a nonstick material, but now we know that using it can release fumes that are harmful to the atmosphere. Look for a stainless steel or cast iron alternative. Cast iron has the added benefit of lasting years, meaning your grandkids will still be using your old skillet.
pay attention to packaging
Brands love elaborate packaging, often using a bunch of unnecessary material. Pay attention to items that can help cut down on waste. Look for minimal packaging and more importantly, materials that can all be recycled or are biodegradable. That way you know those materials at least won’t end up in a landfill. Even better if you can find a brand that uses recycled materials.
Switch to led bulbs
LED bulbs make cost more up front, but they use less energy and last longer. In the long run you’ll be saving on your electric bill and creating less waste.
compost your food scraps
If you have the ability, try composting your vegetable scraps. You can buy a compost bin that allows unused food scraps to break down and provide a boost to the soil in your garden. Literally all you have to do is toss everything in!