Justine Harrington on January 15, 2018 0 Comments Are you looking to go green in your kitchen? Great choice! Making the shift to eco-friendliness in your home is a worthwhile endeavor – you’ll be saving the planet AND saving money on energy costs. And, considering that kitchens tend to be the biggest hubs of energy in the house, this is a great room to start with! Best of all, there are dozens of ways to make your kitchen as green as possible, and nearly all these actions are affordable and easy to implement today. After all, making environmentally-conscious changes doesn’t have to mean investing in all-new, energy-efficient appliances. (Though, of course, this is probably the best thing you can do.) Rather, a green kitchen is all about working with what you already have. Whether you want to create a minimalist environment or just cut down on energy, the goal here is to just ensure that you’re making responsible and ethical choices. Simple decisions that affect the whole planet’s well-being. To help get started, we’ve put together a list of eight tried-and-true ways to make your kitchen greener, today. 1. Drink Clean Water Did you know that your tap water most likely contains harmful filter contaminants, like chloroform and lead? Yikes! Setting up a home filtration system for your tap water is a fantastic way to keep everyone in your family healthy… and save the planet! Think about it: You won’t need to buy bottled water anymore, which helps save energy, cuts done on waste, and causes less pollution. Every little bit helps! 2. Plant a Garden Whether you have room for a full-on vegetable garden in your backyard or just enough windowsill space for a teeny herb garden, planting a garden is always a fabulously green choice (in more ways than one). Cultivating your own little green space in your home is a great way to reduce your overall carbon footprint (and save money when you’re shopping for groceries!) So, pick out some of your favorite herbs or veggies, and start growing your own food. Besides being better for the planet, and for your wallet, gardening is a fun and rewarding hobby that you’re pretty much guaranteed to enjoy. 3. Buy in Bulk When possible, try to purchase food and kitchen staple items from the bulk bin at your local grocer’s. Buying in bulk means fewer trips to the grocery store and a lot less packaging – both great things for the environment! Cooking in bulk, too, is a great way to efficiently use your appliances and other kitchen resources. Take a couple hours on Sunday to plan your meals and cook for the week; this is both better for the planet and better for you, and not just to save time, but also for your lifestyle. Because, who wants to be stuck in the kitchen every night of the week? Photo Credit: OXO / Amazon 4. Compost Your Food Recycling your food scraps is a great way to reduce waste in the kitchen! If you have a garden or houseplants, you can turn your coffee grounds and eggshells (and many other old food items) into rich, nutrient-dense soil. Yes, this step does take time and a little effort to set up, but once you do begin composting, it’s simple – and, not to mention, one of the most effective ways to stop wasting food. In fact, did you know that an astounding 70 percent of waste can be composted rather than throw in the trash? It’s true! 5. Set Up a Recycling Area Recycling is one of the easiest and most effective ways to green up your kitchen! If you don’t already, now’s the time to start sorting out your garbage and recycling what you can. Find out how to recycle in your area – where you can go for drop offs and what your specific recycler will accept – and get started! And, to make things easier on yourself, it’s always a great idea to set up a recycling area in your kitchen where you keep a trashcan or other type of receptacle, for collecting recyclables. If, for instance, your city requires a bin, but the bin doesn’t fit in your kitchen, no worries! Set up a recycling area in your home that’s based on your amount of space, and then every couple of days, you can simply bring the recycling from your kitchen to the larger bin. 6. Buy the Best & Make Everything Last Think fast before you buy your third knife from Target this year – rather than spending money on stuff that doesn’t last, try to invest in high-quality items that will be able to stand-up to frequent use for years to come. While this is recommended for anything you spend money on, in the kitchen specifically, go for the appliances, cookware and utensils that last years. This may mean you buy a couple of costly knives that last 5 years, as opposed to replacing your knives every few months or so. It could mean purchasing a tried-and-true cast iron skillet, as these truly can last for a lifetime! On the flip side, maybe you just need to refrain from buying another kitchen gadget that you’ll only use once or twice. Think about it, do you really need a banana slicer or a “cutting-edge” quesadilla maker? Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. Whatever you do, try to select cookware that can truly stand the test of time – cut out plastics when possible, go for stainless steel or other hardy materials, and invest in quality items that will last. 7. Eat Less Red Meat We’ve heard for years that eating too much read meat can have a detrimental effect on our health. However, it’s also becoming clear that meat consumption is also harming the planet, too. Due to mass-industrial livestock production, it’s not much of a stretch to say that the meat industry is making the planet sick. The amount of harmful greenhouse gas emissions linked to modern agriculture are undeniable at this point. We would never say that you should simply stop eating all meat. That’s unreasonable for most families out there. However, there are many benefits, both environmentally and nutritionally, for you to find ways to implement more veggies and less meat throughout your day. 8. Pay Attention to How You’re Using Your Appliances The biggest reason why it’s so easy to truly make a difference in your kitchen is because of your appliances. It’s important to know the best, most energy-efficient ways to use these – especially your dishwasher and refrigerator. Make sure you only run your dishwasher when it’s completely full (so as not to waste water), and go ahead and skip the pre-rinse step. For most dishwashers, this step is only necessary when there is caked-on food. For your fridge, it’s important to clean out the coils at least once per year, as this keeps everything working as efficiently as possible. The dirtier your coils are, the harder your refrigerator will have to work! Paying attention to how you’re using your appliances is crucial in the fight to go green in your kitchen. What are some of your favorite green kitchen tips? How do you stay eco-friendly in your kitchen? Let us know in the comments below!