Let’s face the truth – everybody went ridiculously crazy about going green. The food is green, the energy is green, your trash should be green… Well, guess what your kitchen should be? You’re right… GREEN.
The eco-friendly movement has become outstandingly popular nowadays and, in recent years, we’ve seen many methods achieve a lifestyle that would combine living in advanced technology, while being kind to nature. Many of these methods may apply to the general space of your home but there are steps that are dedicated to achieving a ‘green’ kitchen and we want to share these with you.
No longer will your kitchen be a dump surrounded pit – with our guide, you will go greener than grass, be healthier than Tibetan monks, and as righteous as the Pope himself.
Let’s get to work, lads!
Embrace the recycling
If you want to brag about your green kitchen, you must keep in mind to prepare a basic recycling station. Otherwise, you will fail at the very beginning. The vast majority of trash that is thrown away can be easily recycled. Nevertheless, we suggest that you get familiar with any special guidelines available at your local recycling center. It’s good to know the boundaries and the rules of segregation. In order to master the recycling routine, you should follow these two points:
Set your recycling containers in an area that you can easily access. After that, label the containers with following stickers: plastic, glass, steel/aluminum or cardboard/paper, and ‘others’. Before you put any aluminum or plastic items, make sure you rinse them and discard any dirt or debris.
Speaking of segregation rules, bear in mind that not all plastics can be recycled. Try to avoid packages that can’t be reused, as they will cause additional problems. The most common plastics are those used in salad dressing bottles, trash bags, disposable plates, yogurt containers and water bottles.
2. Reduce the amount of waste
There are many reusable variations that can be used instead of other eco-unfriendly materials. Paper towels and plastic bags are to be placed in your kitchen in an area dedicated to disposable items. Switch from using dish towels to taking the advantage of paper ones, along with reusable bags. Such a complete equipment will allow you to minimize the amount of waste and its negative impact on the environment.
3. Collect decaying leftovers
Remnants of such products have their important role in the green play. You can save the planet with used eggshells, peeled banana’s skin and other compost ingredients, regardless of the size of the compost you produce.
Smart tip: You can purchase a dedicated compost bin or any other container for such purpose unless you don’t overload it with waste. Remember that the regular cleaning of your compost bin is a necessity, for it prevents unpleasant odors from reaching the kitchen. Such leftovers as egg shells, veggies, fruits and coffee grounds should be but in your container, while dairy and animal fats can’t be stored in this area. Should you want a complete list of compost-related rules, check the comprehensive guide from the website of The Environmental Protection Agency.
4. Reduce the harmful impact of your trash on the environment
You can go green but you can’t recycle every single item. Fortunately, you can minimize the negative influence of these products to keep your kitchen trash storage environment-friendly.
Plastic bags are one of these items that should be definitely excluded from the list of the products in your kitchen. Instead, try using biodegradable garbage bags or the ones that are made of recycled plastic. Although such an alternative is not biodegradable, you will have a clear conscience with the feeling that they have been, at least, given a second life. Should you want to know some science, the production process of new plastics emits more toxic substances than its recycling one that has already been used.
The best option that one could ever come up with is to buy paper bags. The paper is biodegradable by nature and is as solid as plastic. A true win-win!
5. Save energy
If you want to be eco-friendly in your kitchen, you should get the appliances that have the Energy Star logo. Such a sign means that you’ll save between 10 and 50% more energy than if using appliances with no certificates. Should you want to bolster your energy-saving systems, you can use any conservation options on the appliances you already have, i.e. water saver in your dishwasher or a power saver in your electric cooktop.
The most energy efficient way of connecting small appliances is to plug them together into a power strip or a power bank and make sure they’re switched off when you don’t use them. If you don’t want to go for such a solution, you just have to master the habit of unplugging everything after you finish the work. You ought to know that everything that can be plugged to electricity uses energy even if not working. It’s been shown that 40% of the energy use listed on the bill is due to leaving the appliances plugged in.
As far as lighting is concerned, you will need to replace standard bulbs with LED lighting or small fluorescent bulbs. They use ¾ less energy than traditional bulbs. Moreover, then last up to ten times longer and you can adjust them to the style of your kitchen interior. For those customers who favor the warmth provided by regular bulbs, investing in bulbs of 2,600-3,000 Kelvin degrees will be the ‘go-for’ choice.
Your kitchen sink should be equipped with a faucet aerator, which is not an expensive thing. The average flow rate of water in sinks is at a rate of, say, five gallons per minute. An aerator can reduce this number to 2 gallons per minute as it mixes air and water in order to pump up the pressure without using too much water. This will provide you with the opportunity of cleaning all your dishes as accurately as you did before, while cutting down on water expenses.
Speaking of washing dishes, you ought to remember that the water flow should be kept in a cycle. In short, don’t let the water flow every time, even between washing individual items. Always clean your dishes in large loads and allow them to air-dry when you’re finished.
6. Use natural cleaning detergents as often as possible
By doing so, you will declare war to immense corporations that pollute the environment. On the other hand, you will support companies with a mission to clear the air from pollutants, so it sounds greener, of course. If you are not into buying products and are a fan of DIY works, you can create cleaning solutions at home. All you need is water, lemon, vinegar and baking soda. Here are some tips to clean disturbing spaces in your house:
- Baking soda will cut through greasy countertops and will allow you to clean them almost instantly.
- Vinegar is ideal for cleaning bathrooms, kitchens, and other rooms, where the mess is more likely to arise than anywhere else.
- Baking soda helps you freshen the laundry and remove grease.
- A mixture of vinegar and baking soda is miraculous for scrubbing toilets.
7. Make wise decisions when shopping for food
Yes, you may have a diet plan. And yes, you can destroy it with the wrong choice of products. Maintaining a proper diet is connected with buying environment-friendly food. You should know which fruits and vegetables are harvested and sold in the dusk of winter, and which are widely available when summer kicks in. If a package of fresh fruits meets your eyes in the middle of the winter, you won’t harm yourself much. However, you may draw conclusions that they haven’t been harvested and treated naturally, let alone the genetic engineering, the packaging and transport processes.
If you want to eat healthy, buy in local stores. Should there be any open-plan market, where you can buy fresh fruit and meat, don’t hesitate and buy there instead of going to a big market, where everything is so automated that you can’t pass by it without troubling yourself with potential diseases you may get in the long term by buying such products. The distance your food travels to your merchant is also of paramount importance, as it determines whether the meat and vegetables are deep-frozen or they arrive straight from a butcher or farmer.
Organic food should be your main concern. As much as we can justify the use of pesticides in protection from insects, the environmental impact it has may outnumber the benefits. Products that are in 95% pesticide-free are recommended by nutrition specialists. If shops with organic food are out of your rich, you can still buy some organic products that are easily accessible like peanuts, apples, eggs or milk.
Never cut down on your budget when you want to shop for food. It’s better to spend a couple of cents more on meat than to buy a cheaper equivalent with lots of chemicals inside, and the lower percentage of meat. Also, remember that the more processed the food is, the more expensive it will be, for you will have to take the packaging and marinating cost to the overall manufacturing. With that said, it is way better for your body to afford extra time to prepare high-quality food for the same amount and with more health benefits. What’s interesting, for a family of four, they will save up to $2,000 on the aforementioned factors while buying raw, bulk amounts.
8. Incorporate green solutions into your remodel
Maybe it’s high time you gave your old kitchen a kiss of death and start with a clean project? If so, consider some green options that will drive you even closer to living in harmony with the environment:
Look for salvaged building materials in your local store or in your neighborhood. If there are any stone slabs or reclaimed wood pieces that you could make use of, feel free to take the advantage of green stuff in your house. For countertops, use natural materials like hemp, wood, glass or aluminum.
Many contemporary cupboards and cabinets are truly beautiful and environmentally-harmful at the same time because they contain a toxic form of formaldehyde. Instead of choosing such cabinets, shop for ones that are made of wheatboard or solid wood. They make a great alternative to particle board, although they are generally burned as redundant pieces.
Opt for paint cans that have the “VOC-free” labels on them. It means that they do not contain volatile organic compounds that are harmful to your system. Nowadays, even some wallpaper retailers have eco-friendly brands in their stores that perform best in ‘green’ kitchens.
Sustainable wood is eco-friendly and makes the most fitting option for working well with the environment. Nonetheless, you may also use bamboo, cork or natural stone – everything that is far from synthetic materials.
As you can see, there are more green options for building an eco-friendly kitchen than you could ever imagine. It starts from the very foundation of your cooking area. Remember to recycle as much waste as possible and equip your kitchen with sufficient space for recycling station. If you want to clean your surfaces, go for detergents that don’t have the negative impact on the environment. You may also make a DIY detergent made of lemon juice, vinegar, water or baking soda to scratch the debris from your countertops and cabinet fronts. Invest in natural flooring, reclaimed furniture and metal elements to add the industrial vibe to the overall layout.
All in all, keep in mind to be consistent about maintaining the cleaning routine in order to minimize the waste and live in peace with nature. Simply put, go green or go home.