Going green in the kitchen encompasses everything from what you eat to how you cook it. There’s a ton of things you can do in your kitchen that will help lessen your impact on the environment. From using a water saving faucet, to energy efficient appliances to cleaning with non-toxic cleaners, going green in the kitchen can be great for the environment as well as for your budget.
One little thing you can do is reduce your use of paper towels. The average family uses several rolls of paper towels a week but you can reduce your usage by keeping some cloth towels handy in the kitchen and use those for wiping your hands, spills and other uses that would normally call for a paper towel. You’ll save money on paper towels and there will be less of them in the landfill which, in turn, helps the environment. Also, the less paper towels that are manufactured, the less pollution in the air from those manufacturing plants.
Did you realize that some types of cooking are more energy efficient than others? While many cooks love a gas stove, the fact is that the newer model electric stoves are more energy efficient. Not only that, but if you opt for a toaster oven or microwave instead of using your big oven, you can drastically reduce the energy needed for cooking.
Another thing you can do in the kitchen to help the environment is buy local whenever you can. While this might seem like a small thing, transporting food is actually a big drag on the environment. Flying bananas into upstate New York from the tropics can be costly in terms of air pollution. Not to mention that foods from the grocery store can be loaded with pesticides and your local growers probably don’t put so much junk on their crops. Plus, it’s nice to support the farmers in your own community.
Using reusable cloth grocery bags, reusing jars and composting organic materials are great ways to reduce waste. You can compost your kitchen scraps, paper and even cardboard. This will make great fodder for your garden and does double duty as it acts as an organic fertilizer saving you from buying fertilizer which saves you money and ensures that harmful chemicals don’t leach into the environment from commercial fertilizers you might have had to purchase.
This is the time of year to buy canning jars. I use wide mount jars to store left overs homemade soup, broth, and yogurt. I keep Qt, 3/4 Qt. pint and 1/2 pt jars on hand. As you use items put them in a smaller jar. Glass is the best to store anything. It is environmentally the friendliest. You can see what needs to be used at a glance.
Possibly the most important thing you can do to be “greener” in the kitchen is to recycle. Make sure you get a good handle on all the plastic and glass materials you use that can be recycled. Check the rules at your landfill as to what has to be separated out and buy yourself some bins to help you keep things separate.
Whole Foods Markets offer recycling for items such as No 5 plastics, corks and much more. Remember to remove the caps from all jars and bottles especially water bottles. Sorters will thrown them into trash if you don’t
Lastly, you want to keep the environment in mind when you clean. Cleaners full of chemicals can be bad for the environment and the fumes from these can be harmful to the health of yourself and your family. There are plenty of natural things you can use for cleaning like vinegar, baking soda and tea tree oil that will help keep your kitchen sparkling without harming you or the environment.
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To avoid ants. Melaleuca pre-wash spray on your counters deters ants and is non toxic. Also if you put out some corn meal ants love it but cannot digest it.