An eco-friendly kitchen is about changing wasteful habits. Many people think eco-friendly is a trendy buzzword to do "sometimes." However, it's not enough to drop disposable products, kitchen cleaners, and single-use plastics one time. A true, eco-friendly lifestyle is "all the time."
No matter how eco-friendly the kitchen becomes, there's always more you can do. Never settle for mediocrity. Add these 10 tips to breathe new life into your eco-friendly routine.
1. Incorporate Bamboo Kitchen Products
Ease into the eco-friendly kitchen environment by incorporating nature into the kitchen. Begin with bamboo. Bamboo is a durable, environmentally friendly material that's renewable, flexible, and lightweight. Bamboo has an attractive appearance, is non-pollutant, is smooth to the touch, and is easy to clean. While going overboard isn't necessary, consider bamboo as part of cabinetry, flooring, kitchen utensils, cutting board, dish rack, and backsplash.
2. Say No to Plastic
Plastic harms wildlife and decomposes slowly in landfills. Therefore, it doesn’t belong in an eco-friendly kitchen. Recycle food storage containers, bakeware, utensils, dinnerware, silverware, and single-use plastics like plastic storage bags, sandwich bags, and grocery plastic bags. Be sure to check with your local city guidelines about what recyclables they’ll accept.
Replace those plastic products with glass, metal, ceramic, silicone, or wood versions. Try stainless steel reusable straws, reusable produce bags, a bamboo cutting board, reusable silicone storage containers, wood cooking utensils, ceramic bakeware, and glass cups as examples.
An interesting product to replace plastic is beeswax wrap. Perfect for containers without lids, bee's wrap is a sticky food wrap that wraps around food containers to keep the food fresher longer. Made from beeswax, cotton, rosin, jojoba oil, or coconut oil, beeswax wraps also wrap around food products and molds to its shape. The reusable wrap remains sticky with each wash. Should the bee's wrap lose its stickiness, it converts to compost easily.
3. Add Vegetation
Besides bamboo, another nature-inspired item to include is vegetation. Besides an eye-pleasing visual, plants and flowers absorb carbon dioxide and release oxygen in the kitchen, improving air quality. Meanwhile, house-grown herbs and veggies provide, respectfully, fresh seasoning and vegetables for pot dishes, avoiding store-bought alternatives.
4. Swap out Non-Stick Cookware
Non-stick cookware loses its Teflon, PTFE, and PFOA non-stick coating with each use, and the loose peels mix with the food you consume. Those pots and pans also release toxic fumes when cooked at a high temperature and jeopardize your health. A peeling non-stick pot or pan is dangerous and needs to be replaced.
On the next cookware upgrade, swap out non-stick versions for cast-iron and stainless steel. These materials are durable, long-lasting, and don't contain non-stick layers. Learn how to take care of cast-iron pots here.
5. Wave Goodbye to Clogged Drains
The sink is where you keep dirty dishes, wash/rinse dirty dishes, wash/peel vegetables, and fill water into a pot/cup. If a clog stops the flow of water, all other tasks get delayed. You may reach for the liquid drain cleaner to remove the clog, which it does. However, the tradeoff is harmful chemicals that can irritate skin, eyes, and even the environment.
There's a simpler solution. A sink strainer can prevent clogs, and there's no better choice on the list than the stainless steel Kitchen SinkShroom.
The drain catcher contains a basket to hold food, hair, objects, and peels while water passes through it and heads down the drain. After inserting it on top of the drain, the center handle makes it easy to transport to the trash. It is a long-lasting, durable device that continues to do its job even when the basket is full. The Kitchen SinkShroom is the first and only line of defense needed against clog buildup.
6. Use Safe Cleaning Products
Store brand and name brand cleaning products for the kitchen can contain chemicals that harm skin and eyes. The same product releases toxic fumes causing breathing difficulty when inhaled. The proof is in the warning labels near the instructions and ingredients on the back of the product.
Eco-friendly kitchen products tend to deodorize and clean just as well as their chemical cleaning counterparts. You can find eco-friendly cleaners in the store, but a homemade cleaner made is equally effective.
An example is using 1 cup of vinegar, 2 cups of water in a spray bottle, a teaspoon of lemon juice, and 30 drops of essential oil inside a spray bottle. An alternative and effective replacement for lemon juice is 1/2 cup of baking soda.
7. Switch to Energy-Efficient Appliances
Kitchen appliances are energy-draining items because they require electricity to operate, and standard kitchens are just fine using those items. An eco-friendly kitchen prefers eco-friendly, energy-saving, environmentally friendly, and Energy Star-certified appliances for sustainability.
Eco-friendly appliances use less energy to function. Therefore, replace or upgrade appliances to fit the eco-friendly environment. Sell, donate, or recycle appliances. Never throw them in the trash.
One energy-efficient example is refrigerators. Choose refrigerators with doors that open in one direction over refrigerators with two doors opening in both directions. Less cold air escapes to the outside.
A second example is ovens. A convection oven is energy efficient because it requires less heat to operate and a fan helps with heat distribution. It also cooks the food faster. Meanwhile, a conventional oven uses more heat to cook food, and it takes longer to do so because there's no heat distributor.
8. Trade Paper for Cloth
Before they go into the wastebasket, paper towels and paper napkins wipe up spills, wipe mouths and hands during eating, or dry countertops after using soap and water. The paper products are not recyclable or biodegradable, so many end up in trash bags and landfills after a single use.
Stop this wasteful behavior in the eco-friendly kitchen and start using dish towels, cloth napkins, and Swedish dishcloths. All are machine washable, reusable, and come in many sizes, colors, and patterns. An alternative solution is cutting up unused clothing to repurpose for towels and napkins.
9. Try Fluorescent Lighting
Standard bulbs are energy hogs, draining lots of electricity to illuminate the kitchen. The bulbs also release heat, making an already hot kitchen hotter. Trade those traditional bulbs for LED fluorescent bulbs for a sustainable kitchen.
These bulbs illuminate the kitchen the same as standard bulbs but with less energy consumption and longer lifetimes than their counterparts. Although the bulbs are expensive, the savings return to you through the electric bill.
In the summer, open the window and take advantage of natural sunlight to illuminate the kitchen.
10. Reduce Water Waste (and Plastic Bottle Use)
Water waste is more than turning off the running faucet when you don’t need it. You can also focus on drinking tap water, reducing dishwasher use, and repurposing cooked water.
- Water bottles are a huge part of the plastic pollution problem. Stop the plastic bottle dependency and learn to love tap water.
- Flavor tap water by adding fruits instead of sugar and sugar substitute packets.
- A water filtration system attached to the faucet separates clean water from the dirt and minerals that accompany it.
- To reduce water waste, only run the dishwasher when it has tons of dishes to wash. If that means only running it once a day or once a week, the reduction is worth it.
- A third way is reusing pasta water, steamed vegetable water, and water from boiled eggs to water plants and flowers outside, saving water from hoses and sprinkler systems. Let it cool first as the hot water can harm flowers and plants.
Create Your Eco-Friendly Kitchen
If you are heading toward an eco-friendly lifestyle in your kitchen, these ten steps are beginning steps toward the goal. The sacrifice to purge plastic and paper products from the household is worth it as it reduces the carbon footprint and saves landfills from non-biodegradable products. Using less energy and water can also reflect in reduced electric and water bill payments.
Don’t forget to try the Kitchen SinkShroom. The sink strainer is a barrier between water and non-water items, allowing water to pass and non-water objects to stay inside the strainer. This can prevent clogs, which saves you from using liquid drain cleaners that aren’t eco-friendly. Include the drain catcher in single and double sink kitchen drains to keep pipe passageways clear.