Are you thinking of going green? Getting sustainable? Envisioning being more eco-friendly? These days, there are so many ways to become more green, eco-friendly, and sustainable — which is amazing — but figuring out where or how to start can be overwhelming. That’s why we’ve compiled a Crawl-Walk-Run approach for creating a more sustainable kitchen. This plan will show you how to start with small changes that can have a huge impact (Crawl) and then work your way up the sustainability ladder (Walk) toward more advanced eco-friendly efforts (Run).
Turn disposables into reusables. Replace paper towel rolls with cloth towels. Use sustainable tupperware instead of disposable plastic baggies. Store leftovers in mason jars. Say “No” to plastic or paper at the grocery store by bringing your own bags. With disposables and single-use plastics being such a big part of our lives, making these changes is actually a huge step toward sustainability!
Use greener cleaning supplies. Harsh, strong chemicals might appear to clean faster than some eco-friendly varieties, but they’re far too toxic for long-term, repeated use. Classic, natural cleaning options that use ingredients like baking soda and vinegar can clean just as well while protecting the environment, too.
Reduce food scraps by using every bit. Look up ways to use every bit of the foods you buy and cook with. There are a plethora of resources out there about how to put your food scraps to good use. For example, don’t be quick to toss those orange peels — save them for homemade potpourri or for making a fresh-smelling natural cleaning product. This will also reduce the waste you generate as well.
Upgrade to energy-efficient appliances. While it’s a good idea to hold onto appliances for as long as possible, there does come a point when it’s not cost-efficient to keep repairing them (or a point where they can no longer be repaired). When old energy-consuming appliances finally bite the dust, replace them with more energy-efficient ones. For example, newer ovens preheat much faster — saving time and energy.
Setup recycling receptacles. It’s much easier to recycle when there is a designated system in your kitchen for it. Find out the recycling guidelines in your city, then set up a recycling post in your pantry or spare cabinets, separating materials like paper and plastic into different bins. A conveniently-placed recycling station will make going green seem less like a chore.
Get more houseplants. Not only do houseplants look nice, they help clean and purify the air in your house, too. There are many low-maintenance plants that don’t require a lot of attention (and thus are very hard to kill), but they will still need regular watering. Each room needs at least 3-4 plants for maximum air purifying effect.
Make your next reno matter. Choose cabinet, flooring, and countertop materials that are sustainable and ethically harvested. There are many examples of recycled and sustainable kitchen materials. Flooring made from bamboo is sustainable and harvested in ways that don’t impact natural habitats. Talk to an expert at Cabinets To Go to learn about sustainable options in your dream kitchen.
Cook from scratch more. With busy lives, it can be hard to plan for made-at-home meals, but try incorporating more meals that aren’t so processed or pre-made, if possible. Frozen, pre-made meals require a lot of factory processing and plastic containers. Try working on one more home-made meal at a time.
Start composting waste. According to the EPA, food waste and yard clippings make up around 28% of what we throw out, collecting in landfills and contributing to greenhouse gas emissions. Put those scraps to good use by creating a compost station. It’s quite easy to set up, and the only complicated part is learning what you can compost. Composting can also create natural, nutrient-rich soil that can be used as fertilizer for your garden.
Focus on making these changes part of your everyday routine, and you’ll quickly start seeing the results of a kitchen that’s more “green” and eco-friendly. If it seems like a lot, just take things one step at a time. Try one new thing at a time, get in a groove, and work your way toward greener living.
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