Having an eco-friendly kitchen may begin with the food you eat but it can also spread into the appliances and products within your kitchen. Eco-friendly kitchens will not only help your impact on the environment but it will also be more economical- win win! Here are a few ideas to make your kitchen greener.
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1.Using The Right Appliances
Most of your largest home appliances can be found in your kitchen. Making sure they are energy efficient is key to green-ify your kitchen. Also, for anything to be sustainable you want it to last as long as possible so buy for the long haul. Here are some ways and recommendations for each common kitchen appliance.
It is proven that with an efficient dishwasher there is less waste than hand washing dishes. (A great excuse for everyone, like me, that hates washing dishes) This is under a few circumstances- let your dishes air dry and only run the dishwasher when it is full. This will allow you to maximize the efficiency of your appliance. According to Energy Star’s website, Energy Star-rated dishwashers are 10% more energy efficient and 20% more water efficient than standard models and you can save about $40 every year on electricity by upgrading.
Whether you choose electric or gas for stove tops is always a question when it comes to sustainability. This decision will not make or break your carbon footprint. Depending on where your electricity comes from (renewable or non-renewable source) depends heavily on the overall footprint, however, gas seems to heat up food quicker than electric. On gas appliances the flame is immediate, therefore the heat source begins immediately. On electric appliances, the heating element has to heat up before it can begin to cook. Therefore, making gas more efficient in cooking your food the fastest. Also, make sure you are using the proper size pot for the burner you are using- this will maximize efficiency.
This is very similar to the electric vs gas argument talked about above. Many people do prefer gas for the quicker preheat time. A tip to ensure you are maximizing the efficiency of your oven is to put food that is not a sensitive food, such as pizza, meat/fish, or casseroles, put them in as soon as you turn your oven on. Today, ovens preheat so quick that you can make use of the preheat time to cook your food earlier. Also, many people say you can turn off your oven 5 minutes before your food is done and it will use the residual heat to finish up. In the winter, you can open your oven when you are done to allow the heat to escape into the room.
Refrigerators are a part of the Energy Star series. This will help your energy efficiency, however, there are a few things to do in order to make sure your fridge is running at maximum potential. Making sure the temperature is at recommended levels will help regulate your energy use. Every degree below 38 degrees Fahrenheit, you are decreasing your efficiency by 5%. Also, by having cleaner coils below and behind your fridge, will help it run smoother. Try to vacuum them off once a year (more realistically every other year). These two things will help keep your kitchen a bit greener. The last tip would be to keep your food in glass containers instead of metal or plastic. Glass keeps food colder and lasts longer than the alternatives.
It is estimated that you can save 80% more energy by cooking in the microwave instead of the oven. Microwaves do not differ much from brands or types but utilizing your microwave more can save you time, money, and energy.
2. Install Sink Aerators or a Water Efficient Faucet:
A sink aerator allows for similar pressure water but with using a lot less. This is a great way to conserve water in the kitchen. An aerator just screws onto a normal sink head (commonly found in the bathroom) allowing more air in your water and anew head would be a whole new piece. They are both great options to reduce your water intake.
Favorite Sink Aerator: Sink Faucet Aerator
Favorite Water Efficient Faucet: Delta Leland Pull-Down Sprayer Kitchen Faucet
By making compost, you can cut down on your food waste immensely. You can compost fruit and vegetable scraps, egg shells, coffee grounds, shredded paper, dead leaves, and tons more. Do not put meat, bones, dairy, or grease, to name a few, in the compost. Here is a good list of what you can and can’t compost. You can collect your compost in an indoor composting bucket and then transfer it to an outdoor bin. The bins that are easiest have a handle to spin the bin every time you put food inside. This eliminates you having to rotate your compost like you would in a ground composting bin. Your compost will then break down and make awesome, nutrient rich soil for your garden or to donate to your local compost pile/nursery.
Favorite Indoor Composting Bucket: Bamboo Compost Pail
Favorite Composting Bin: 80 Gal. Compost Tumbler
4. Have Quality Glass Food Storage Containers:
Glass food storage containers retain the cold the best in the fridge and it eliminates the need for plastic or saran wrap. They are microwave safe and make leftovers super easy. You can also cook meals right in the glass dishes, toss on the lid and have minimal dishes to wash after the meal.
Favorite Glass Containers: Pyrex 18-Piece Glass Mixing Bowl and Bakeware Set
5. Make Meals Yourself
Try to prepare meals and not buy prepackaged meals as much as possible. When you buy prepackaged, you don’t know what is in your food or where it came from and it comes in heavy packaging. By eliminating this you can regulate exactly what you are eating, where all your food comes from and how much waste you are producing per meal. It may be a little more work but a homemade meal tastes better than frozen, well…for most of us hopefully.
Those are five ways that you can have a greener, more sustainable kitchen! By making these steps, you will save yourself money on your water and electric bill and help your personal carbon footprint. If you have any additional ideas or questions, comment them below! Thanks for reading!
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