Starting the journey to a greener lifestyle can start in a thousand different ways. Let’s start with the kitchen as here most of our consumption happens. This is one of the places at home that needs a green transformation the most. Here is what I discovered and now cannot do without.
Buy in bulk First of all, it’s important to pay attention to what we take into our kitchen. The less packaged foods we buy, the less trash we have. Also, I find that bulk makes a kitchen look colorful, healthy and happy. I started buying as much as possible in zero-waste shops to minimize plastic, carton and paper waste. Also, foods are from local producers. Click here to find zero-waste shops near your home.
Replace plastic kitchen tools by wooden tools If you have plastic kitchen tools, when they wear out, think about buying biodegradable wooden tools. They are better for the environment than plastic, and is naturally antibacterial. Also, most wooden utensils are treated with mineral oils, which create a neutral surface that will not allow bacterial to reside. Don’t throw away your plastic tools immediately. You can keep them around for craft projects and (your) kids might appreciate playing with them. When you do throw them away, find out if your city/town recycles them.
Get at least 4 recycling bins Ideally, we don’t have a bin at all (like the zero-wasters), but hey, we’re not there yet. We are already doing a good job recycling (1) glass, (2) paper/carton, (3) plastic bottles/plastic cups/plastic bags/cans/bricks, (4) compost, (5) non-recyclable materials. No need to go buy a bin, just use boxes you already have at home.
Avoid plastic and aluminium foils Ugh, foils. My most hated kitchen tool. It can only be used once, it pollutes the environment and it’s expensive. For use during cooking, I prefer to a casserole dish with a glass lid, or a stainless steel pan. For use after cooking, or for transportation, I use a glass food storage container. These containers are also handy to store and warm up food rests from the day before directly in a microwave. If you use baking paper, make sure it’s recycled.
How to wash dishes to minimize water usage If you have a washing machine: Make sure to use the most energy-efficient cycle button. It can be called ‘smart’ energy saver. Let the dishes dry naturally. If you don’t have a full load of dirty dishes, wash it by hand.
If you wash by hand: Scrape off the food rests into a bin, fill up the sink with water, and clean the less dirty dishes first. Put warm water in the other side of the sink (or in a large bowl) and dip the dishes in to rinse. Use only the amount of water you need. If necessary, drain and fill up the sink once more. This is the best way to minimize water usage.
Search for eco-friendly cleaning products Currently I use Ecover products, because in the regular supermarket it's the only green choice. However, investigating Ecover further, it's not as green as its marketing claims. After reading this article, I decided to start buying Sonett once I finish the Ecover bottle. All raw materials are completely biodegradable, so no guilty feelings when throwing away the used water. Also, Sonett makes sure the cultivation contributes to the preservation and restoration of a fertile soil. The product price is higher in comparison with Ecover, but, in usage, it's seven times cheaper.
Make a mini vegetable garden with kitchen scraps Instead of throwing away vegetable scraps like carrot, onion, potato, avocado, etc., re-grow them at home. This is so simple, and will really make your kitchen look and smell green. Here’s how to do it:
So now over to you, how do you make your kitchen planet-friendly? Please do share your tips and recommendations. Or, let me know if you will start trying out any of the above 😊