The thought of an eco-friendly home often starts with images of solar panels and wind turbines, very significant steps towards a cleaner lifestyle. However, these great methods of reducing your carbon footprint come with significant and discouraging upfront costs. There are other, less expensive ways to do your part to save the planet. Consider where the majority of your household waste comes from, for many people, it’ll be the energy used and trash produced in the kitchen. Here are 8 feasible ideas to help you make that kitchen Eco-friendly.
Eco Friendly Bamboo Supplies
From inexpensive utensils and cutting boards to more expensive flooring and cabinetry, wood is often the most prevalent natural resource found in our kitchens. At the same time, our planet cannot afford to lose more green forests, which is where bamboo can serve as a great substitute. Bamboo is a much more sustainable resource to consume, beginning from its growth and development, bamboo plants can grow rapidly, making them renewable and efficient to produce. Additionally, a bamboo plant can release nearly 35% more oxygen than a tree of similar size, while maturing at least four times as quickly. Like trees, bamboo also serves to enrich soil and reduce erosion. The next time you’re in the market for a wood-based kitchen tool or resource, consider using bamboo instead. If wood is your preferred option, at least seek out reclaimed wood or re-purpose old wooden furniture from a garage sale or antique store instead.
Taking scraps and vegetable peels to a compost pile can save you a significant amount of space in your trash can, thus reducing the trash you produce. Not only will you reduce landfill wastes, you will also promote the health of your own backyard. The decomposers in the soil will nourish themselves with your compost, providing nutrient-rich soil for plants. Coffee grounds, egg shells, fruit and vegetable peels can be used as compost. If you are an avid juicer and do not eat the extracted fibers, add those fibers to a compost pile!
Energy Efficient Kitchen Appliances
The Alliance to Save Energy reports that “buying Energy Star appliances saves up to 30% on electricity bills”—so you will reduce your expenditures while reducing your energy usage. Remember to make sure your investments are made carefully, avoid purchasing low-quality appliances that are not long-lasting. If energy-saving appliances are currently outside of your budget or you don’t need to replace your preexisting appliances just yet, simply unplug your appliances when they’re not in use.
The debate is whether gas stoves are better than electric stoves. Gas stove proponents argue that temperatures are easier to control and heating is more efficient, whereas electric stove proponents point out that “electric stoves are a healthier option than gas stoves, which can add between 25 and 39 percent more NO2 and CO to the air in the house.” Quite frankly, the best option is the one that suits your budget, values, and lifestyle. If purchasing a gas stove, purchase one with lower BTU output, because it will be more energy-efficient. Meanwhile, if purchasing an electric stove, keep in mind that you must use metal cookware for heat to transfer, and that electric stoves are generally more expensive. Ultimately, the decision you make should be one that involves an investment with long-term yields.
Re-Use Food Containers
Green living is reusing items that can be easily discared, with that in mind, with the potential BPA low-grade plastic containers; rather than reusing takeout containers to store food, you can use them to store other items, from stationary to makeup. Get creative and decorate the containers for visual appeal.
Quality Over Quantity
Purchase long-lasting, high-quality dinnerware to minimize turnover of products and to discourage yourself from adopting a fast-paced, consumer mentality. You’ll reduce your contribution to landfills and make good use of the dinnerware you purchase. This same mindset applies to cookware; investing in a more expensive but higher quality product may prove to be a financially and environmentally favorable decision.
Live Plant Decorations
What better way to add fresh air into your home than to decorate your kitchen with potted plants? Best of all, many plants produce herbs that can be used for your cooking! Even a small step like this can make a significant difference.
Finally, reduce the waste that comes with prepackaged, frozen meals or pre-cut vegetables. Purchase glass Tupperware to store your own pre-made meals and pre-cut foods. You’ll also be able to support healthier and more sustainable food sources by having control over where your ingredients come from and what ingredients you add. Gathering seeds from fresh fruit and vegetables can be replanted for your own garden.
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