When it comes to thinking about how you can reduce your environmental impact in the kitchen, your thoughts may initially turn to eating less meat and buying less plastic. Whilst this is a brilliant start, it’s not the only thing that you can do to be greener. If you’re passionate about reducing waste and being kinder to the environment, here’s how you can do it.
If you need a new kitchen, don’t head straight to the showroom. Instead, you should consider a used kitchen. You could grab a real bargain and you’d be saving a perfectly good kitchen from going to landfill. You can swap out the cabinets and paint the units to create a unique kitchen that is all your own. If you’re looking to buy a used kitchen, make sure to buy it from a reputable re-seller such as Used Kitchen Exchange, a company that assesses kitchens for their quality before you purchase them. You can even arrange a viewing before you put in an offer. When you’ve chosen a kitchen, you could sell yours with Used Kitchen Exchange, which will reduce your carbon footprint, make you a bit of cash and ensure that your new kitchen is a guilt-free purchase.
Make It Last
Rather than regularly replacing your utensils, make the initial purchase something that will last. Whilst non-stick Teflon is great for cooking, it won’t last very long and means that you have to throw it away. If you opt for a cast iron or stainless steel pan, it will last for ages. Avoid wooden spoons and plastic utensils, and buy quality knives that can be sharpened by hand to save you constantly needing to replace them.
Energy Efficient Appliances
If you need to buy a new appliance, always check their energy certificate rating. You can even purchase dishwashers now which use less energy than washing dishes by hand. Fridges, dishwashers, stoves and freezers will have an Energy Star rating which will make your green buying decision easier. You can always try and repair your appliance rather than replacing it, but if this isn’t an option, make sure that you look for a local recycling programme rather than sending the appliance to landfill.
Energy Efficient Cooking
Many modern ovens heat up so fast that you don’t need to worry about preheating. You should always try to cook more than one thing at once in the oven, and use the microwave where possible as this uses less energy. Don’t waste heat on the stove by using a properly sized pan for each ring – a 6 inch pot on an 8 inch burner wastes up to 40% heat.
Buy Local And Bulk Up
Buy local as much as you can – fruit from foreign lands may taste good, but the air miles used delivering them to you are harmful for the environment. You could look for local brands in the supermarket; buy from a farmers market or even directly from the farmer themselves. Organic food is free of preservatives and other chemicals, so it will expire quicker – meaning that it makes sense to shop local. Whilst you’re shopping, try and buy in bulk. Cooking in bulk will mean less use of an appliance and will save you money – try and meal plan for the most efficient shopping.
The kitchen is most likely the room in your home which produces the most waste, but there are plenty of things that you can do to reduce waste. It all starts at the shops – take your own bags, buy fresh produce and look carefully at how the things that you buy are packaged. The second step is to avoid cooking too much – if you’re cooking in bulk, as suggested above, only cook what you will use. You should re-use things as much as possible such as glass jars and bags from the supermarket.
You would be surprised at the amount of chemicals in kitchen cleaning products. Try and swap your products for plant based detergents, and non-toxic formulas. You could even have a go at making your own cleaning products, with vinegar and baking soda.
Are you going to try out any of these tips in your kitchen?