Although you might think you’re doing your bit for the environment, your kitchen could tell a different story. Make it more eco-friendly with these tips.
If your New Year’s resolution is to give something back to the environment, the easiest place to start is in the kitchen. Here are 10 planet-saving and practical eco-friendly ideas.
Food waste from vegetable and potato peelings to tea bags can be made into compost. Not only will composting reduce the amount of waste sent to land fill sights, thus helping the environment, but after 12 months it will also make an amazing nutrient-rich food for your entire garden free of charge.
2. Recycle Packaging
Be wary when purchasing pre-prepared food from the supermarkets which often comes in excessive amounts of packaging. The obvious suggestion would be to make everything from scratch but for some this simply won’t be feasible.
Instead try buying fresh fruit and veg from the market, taking along your own bags to save on waste. If you can’t avoid pesky packaging then do your best to read the labels and recycle where possible.
And there’s no excuse when it comes to glass, cardboard/ paper and aluminium which are widely recycled in the UK – practically every supermarket has a recycling point for these waste materials.
The kitchen is one of the best lit rooms in the house with spot lights here there and everywhere. As always, turn off any unnecessary lighting but changing to energy-efficient light bulbs, if you haven’t already, is one of the easiest ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly in a flash. They’ll also last longer than your standard bulbs, saving you even more money in the long run.
4. Conserve Energy
It’s unlikely that your kettle, toaster, juicer and radio need to be switched on at all times. Although these items may look small and harmless, if they’re plugged in they’re using up energy needlessly. Don’t let the smaller appliances fool you – unplug them until you need to use them.
5. Change Up Your Cleaning Habits
Cleaning products come in all shapes and sizes today but more often than not they contain a whole host of toxic ingredients in unrecyclable packaging. Try cleaning with nature’s very own lemon juice alongside vinegar and baking soda and saving the extra-strength potions for deep clean occasions. Using washable dish cloths instead of paper towels to wipe those surfaces down will help too.
6. Upgrade Old Appliances
If your large kitchen appliances have seen better days, it might be time to upgrade. Check first that they cannot be salvaged by a technician to reduce wastage but if not, opt for the new energy efficient models available. Many dishwasher and washing machine appliances are now fitted with eco-saver settings. Be mindful of buying good quality brands that will last an age though to save on waste for an eco-friendly kitchen in the long-term too.
7. Use Only What You Need
It goes without saying that if you’re only making one cup of tea, the kettle doesn’t need to be full to boil. If anything you’ll be waiting longer for the tea! In the opposite way the dishwasher shouldn’t be used until it’s full to the brim. This saves not only on energy but also on costly detergents. If you’re reheating leftovers, opt for the smaller microwave rather than range cooker.
8. Filter Water
If you simply cannot stomach the taste of tap water, go for a filtered water jug or install a filter under your sink. This may sound costly but in the long term it will be far cheaper than buying bottled water daily. It’s far more eco-friendly than a mountain of plastic bottles too.
9. Savour The Temperature
Opening your oven door during cooking will make it lose energy and have to reheat as a result. Combat this by looking through the door and putting on a timer. Most modern ovens heat up so fast that preheating is redundant so save further temperature by putting your food in on ‘switch on’. In the same way, mindlessly peering into an open fridge will result in an unnecessary waste of energy, so try and keep it to a minimum.
10. Buy Local
Buying produce from local providers will cost the environment far less in damaging fuel and unpleasant carbon emission costs – plus it’s always heartening for an independent trader get the support of his locals.
Of course, even with plenty of TLC domestic appliances can sometimes develop faults – in which case you’ll need to replace those faulty spare parts and get them back in full working order again.
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