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How To Green Your KitchenPosted 07/23/08 • Last updated 03/30/11 • 420 views • 0 comments
The kitchen is one room in a house where people spend a majority of their time. Why? People love to eat, and there’s nothing better than a home-cooked meal.
Small Changes For Green and Clean
- Use your dishwasher
You may think that using a dishwasher will waste a lot of water, but if you wait to run it when it’s completely full you’ll actually save more water.
Think about it: when you hand wash your dishes you have a continuous stream of water going. That can add up, especially if you do it every time you have dishes. But if you run your dishwasher once every few days, and turn off the heat-drying option to save energy, you will reduce your overall water use.
- Don’t throw grease and oil down the drain
Not only can this clog your drains, but this can make it difficult for sewage treatment facilities to clean. Or if you’re creative enough, you can make fuel from your used grease like the students from UCF or donate it to a grease recycling program like that of SFGreasecycle.
From cans of beans and ketchup containers to milk jugs and glass jars, there are literally hundreds of things you can recycle in the kitchen.
You can either use a separate recycling bin for these products, or place them in individual bags so you can carry them easily to the curbside or to the nearest recycling center. Don’t forget that you can recycle old steel appliances as well.
- Compost your food scraps
You can compost many things besides throwing them away in the trash. You can make your own compost pile at home, or purchase a composter. And if you’re an avid (organic) coffee drinker, check out the wiki on Recycling Your Used Coffee Grinds.
- Switch to CFLs (or LEDs)
Above your stove, over your sink and on your overhead lighting, switch to using compact fluorescent bulbs instead of regular light bulbs. CFLs last up to 10 times longer than regular bulbs, which mean they leave a smaller carbon footprint. LEDs (or light emitting diodes) are another great option (but beware, they do have a bigger up front cost...although in some cases, it's definitely worth it).
- Use proper cookware
Use glass and ceramic baking dishes because they require less heat than other types of dishes. Also, use non-stick pans without Teflon because Teflon is made from chemicals that are harmful to humans, and use metal utensils instead of plastic ones so they can be recycled. For more cooking tips, check out the Eco-Cooking Wiki.
- Use green cleaners
After cooking you always need to clean up. What you spray on your counters and in your oven could leave harmful residue that could be absorbed by your food. Always use non-toxic organic sprays, soap, dishwasher detergent and more when cleaning your kitchen.
- Reuse your water
Most people drain the excess water from boiling vegetables and spaghetti noodles right into the sink. Instead of doing this keep the water in a container, let it cool down and then use it to water your indoor and outdoor plants. And if you're really up on your greywater recycling, check out the Envirosink which helps you trap the water from veggie washing, etc. and pump it to water your garden. (Or for an easy water conservation step, look into a low flow faucet aerator to keep your tap from running you dry.)
- Purchase biodegradable trash bags
Many of the plastic garbage bags that people use in their kitchen for trash take years to decompose in landfills. So if you buy biodegradable kitchen garbage bags like the ones offered from Biobag, they will compost easily in the landfill. Or if you're lucky and have municipal composting, it makes it super easy!
If you can’t find biodegradable bags, at least purchase recycled bags like those from Seventh Generation.
- Grow your own food
Instead of buying expensive groceries that are processed and wrapped in excess packaging, how about growing your own food? If you have a yard, plant a few of your favorite fruits, vegetables and herbs. It's a great option for fresh (and very local) edibles.
If you live in an apartment or townhouse in the city and don’t have a yard, start an indoor garden. Here’s a great article from Apartment Living that shows you how to do this.
- Eat local and organic food when you can
It might not always be possible or practical, but when you can, support your local farmers, eat in season, and choose organic products. Your environment and your body will thank you.
- Increase your kitchen's efficiency with energy efficient appliances
If you're like the average American, you most likely have a few appliances in your kitchen. If you're looking to give your kitchen a face lift, choose Energy Star appliances. These will reduce your electricity consumption and keep your utility bills a bit lower.
- Build your kitchen with green materials
Bamboo furniture boards are an ideal green material for manufacturing your kitchen cupboards and counter tops. Not only is Bamboo sustainable - it takes 5-6 years to mature to harvest quality, it is also a highly renewable resource; once harvested, bamboo does not need to be replanted as a new shoot simply takes it's place.
Bamboo is harder than Red Oak and Maple, has a higher tensile strength than cold pressed steel and is the most moisture resistant of hard woods; ideal for you kitchen surfaces.
- Recycling Your Used Coffee Grinds
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