Green Tips: Greening Your Kitchen
Green Tips | May 31, 2019
In most households, the kitchen is the center of daily life: a multi-purpose space where the day kicks off and winds down. However, the kitchen generates more waste than any other room in your home, eating up money and resources through daily activities like washing, cleaning, and cooking. While these habits seem routine and basic, if they are not practiced with environmental mindfulness, they can perpetuate major crises like food waste, water shortages, and global warming.
By making some simple changes to your kitchen habits, you can do your part to benefit the environment and save some money in the process. Here are some easy, budget-friendly tips for facilitating a greener and more sustainable space in your home:
Use your dishwasher efficiently: The EPA estimates that the average American family uses 400 gallons of water per day, or close to 150,000 gallons per year. These numbers can be reduced through simple changes in the way you use your dishwasher. By running the dishwasher only when full, you can eliminate one load of dishes per week and save 320 gallons of water annually. In addition, by scraping plates instead of rinsing them, you can save over 55,000 gallons of water over the lifetime of your dishwasher, reducing your water waste while maximizing the lifespan of your appliances and cutting your water bill.
If you want to know more about your water usage and how to reduce overall water waste, check out the Water Footprint Calculator for some helpful personalized statistics and tips.
Try Composting: The average American generates over 4.5 pounds of solid waste per day – an astounding amount that can be reduced by 30% by composting your food waste. Starting your own compost bin is a fairly simple and cheap process, and can be put right back into your garden or yard to enrich soil, encourage plant growth, and reduce your overall carbon footprint. Check out our composting tips here.
Buy in Bulk: By buying your kitchen commodities in bulk, you can significantly cut back on the amount of plastic that enters your household, all while saving hundreds of dollars per year. Be sure to only choose items with a long shelf life to avoid unnecessary waste.
Go Meatless: Animal agriculture generates 14.5% of global greenhouse gas emissions, and uses over 70% of global agricultural land, causing massive deforestation, pollution, and water contamination. Though cutting out meat entirely might be a bit daunting, by choosing one day a week to go meatless (it doesn’t necessarily need to be Mondays), you can greatly reduce your carbon footprint and help conserve precious resources. In addition, eating less meat helps reduce your risk of heart disease and saves on grocery costs.
Invest in Reusable Products: Although reusable products like glass containers or cloth towels may be initially more expensive than disposable products, they will save you money in the long run and help you reduce unnecessary trash in your kitchen. Disposable plastic products generate an excessive amount of waste on our planet, with an estimated 8.3 billion tons of plastic discarded over the past 60 years. By buying reusable, plastic-free products for your kitchen, you can drastically cut your plastic waste. In addition, many disposable plastic products contain toxic chemicals that can affect your food and health.
Buy Local: When purchasing your produce, try to be mindful of where your food is sourced. Not only does the shipping of non-locally sourced produce contribute to pollution, but crops are often filled with a multitude of preservatives and biocides and tend to spoil more rapidly than local produce. As an added bonus, buying locally supports small businesses and farms in your area, contributing to your local economy.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products: Many common commercial cleaning products are packed with harmful chemicals. Some of the chemicals found in cleaning products can trigger asthma, skin and eye irritation, and are fatal if ingested. Luckily, none of these chemicals are actually necessary for maintaining a clean and sanitary home. Safer and more environmentally-friendly substitutes can easily be made with common household items like baking soda, vinegar, and water. Check out an easy guide to homemade cleaning products here.< Back to Citizen’s Toolkit
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