A kitchen is the center of a home. Guests gather around the table and families serve up meals on a daily basis, so creating a green kitchen is important for a clean home. With just a few simple steps, sustainability can be maximized to save money and live healthfully.
Sustaining a healthy kitchen begins at the grocery store
Sometimes a grocery trip may not be planned, but keeping reusable bags in the car or a purse can save on plastic bag usage. Stores now carry a compact version of a bag that is smaller than some people’s wallets, and is handy enough to use during any quick errand.
Picking food is as important as what it goes in, too. If possible, try to cut down on meat intake or at least choose grass-fed animals that weren’t given hormones. Checking out a local farmers market is even better for the environment, as the food is often cheaper. Most items found at stands are grown locally, and so fewer transportation emissions are created. To eliminate any carbon footprint, individuals and families can create a garden with veggies, fruits and herbs.
Preparing food the healthy way
Unfortunately, non-stick pans are considered potentially toxic unless otherwise noted. Choosing stainless steel or cast iron cookware will save money on buying new pots and pans since these types of products have been known to last through years and years of use. When using the oven, try to pack it with food items that is used for dinner or can be used for lunch the next day. It takes a lot of energy to bring a full-sized oven to 400 degrees, and throwing one pan of potatoes in for 45 minutes is a large waste of energy.
Once the meal is finished, save the extras and make sure to eat them within a couple days. Keep the items out long enough for them to cool down, instead of throwing them into the fridge piping hot, which causes the fridge to work harder to get temperatures down. During large meals with company, sending leftovers home with people will increase the chances of it getting eaten.
Time for clean up
Instead of using a harsh chemical to wipe down the counters, find an eco-friendly product at the store or just make a concoction of equal parts water and white vinegar. This money saving trick is natural and will still cut through the grease. For extra grimy areas, use vinegar and baking soda with a splash of water. Using a microfiber towel and water on countertops will keep it clean, also. Ditching the paper towels for reusable linen towels is an easy way to stay green in the kitchen.
For those lucky enough to have a dishwasher, skip handwashing dishes and load up the machine to save energy and water. Choosing an eco-conscious detergent is important as well, but luckily many stores now have green options that don't use products with phosphates and other nasty chemicals. Those washing dishes by hand should use both sides of the sink, or invest only a few dollars in a bucket to fill with hot, soapy water. Beginning with scrubbing all the dishes and then rinsing everything at once will cut down on water usage and cut time from the chore.
Give the refrigerator a break
Although it may seem odd, keeping a full fridge will reduce the effort it takes to keep things cool since it is packed with cold items. Cleaning out the fridge on a regular basis and throwing out old food will ensure no funky smells arise. It works the same way with the freezer, and if food is running low using ice packs or trays will keep the temp down.