It is never too late to go green. Being eco friendly is a trend that is fast catching up and is now being followed by a lot of people. If you have planned on moving towards the greener side, then the first place to start with is your kitchen. By following a couple of rules and by changing a few habits, you can be well on your way towards making your kitchen eco friendly. If you need a head start on how to go about it, follow the list below.
1. Buy local
Understandably, you can’t shop for your regular grocery at the farmers market, but try and do your level best to buy vegetables, fruits and dairy products from the local producers. A lot of produce largely sold has been shipped in from various places, causing wastage of fuel. A lot of paper and plastic is also used in the process to keep the food fresh. So go for the local produce which means you get much fresher and better products and you are supporting small farmers and the local economy as well. Another way to do this would be to grow your own vegetable and fruit garden and reap the benefits in time.
2. Sustainable seafood choices
A lot of varieties of fish and shellfish have been highly over fished in the past causing a lot of environmental issues, pollution being one of them. Fish like Chilean Sea bass, Orange Roughy and Red Snapper are seriously in danger of being endangered and so you will have to work towards making better choices at the supermarket. Go for fish like the US farmed Tilapia and Striped bass which breed in plenty.
3. Use natural cleaning products
While scouting around for cleaning products, read the label carefully and avoid the ones that say something about calling 911 or the Poison Control Hotline. This just plainly means it’s not good for you, your pets or for the environment. Instead, make use of natural cleaning elements like lemon, vinegar and baking soda and make a difference. Keep aside the toxic industrial cleaning products only for those extremely stubborn stains and grease. You could also get rid of the paper towels and use dish towels which are a cheaper and reusable alternative, thereby going green.
4. Save those scraps
While making a vegetable casserole or salad, you would invariably end up with quite a few scraps. Instead of discarding them off immediately, stop and think for a moment on what else you can do with them. Parsley stems, onions, tomato bits and celery can all work well in many dishes. You could use it in a chicken or vegetable soup, or perhaps make some stock with it as well. Keep your options open and you will notice a whole world open in front of you. If at all you can’t use the scraps, then compost them in a compost pail. There are so many varieties of compost boxes available these days and they are odorless, convenient to store and you are at the end doing good to your environment as well.
5. Save energy
One of the best and easiest ways to save energy in your kitchen is to change the lights to the more energy efficient fluorescent bulbs. You could also avoid using electricity altogether by letting all that natural lighting flow into your kitchen. Buying environmentally friendly kitchen gadgets also are a great way to go green. Try and go for products that are made out of recycled items or if it is an appliance, then look for the Energy Star symbol which typical saves a lot of energy. Convection cookers and ovens, and refrigerators with freezers at the top or bottom are definitely efficient than side-by-side models.
6. Check your range hood
If you don’t clean your range hood regularly, it would not only not work properly, but also not ventilate properly creating a much hotter and uncomfortable kitchen. This invariably means higher cooling costs. So first of all go for a hood that is energy efficient and then try and keep it clean as much as possible. Also, make sure that the vents are on the outside and air is not being recirculated into the attic. Hot air is prone to increase cooling costs.
7. Get rid of all the plastic and packaging
Wean yourself off any kind of plastic and packaging and you can be sure you are well on your way towards attaining a green kitchen. Instead of using cling wrap, go for re sealable bags and store food in glass containers instead of plastic boxes which may contain harmful chemicals. If you want aluminum foil, get hold of recycled one, if possible. Another way to go about this is to completely avoid bottled water. If you don’t trust your tap water then either use a filter or boil water and use it instead. Shopping bags add up to your plastic scene, so either take your own reusable bag to the store or if you forget it, then try and reduce the number of plastic bags you would need.