Making green choices is a great idea, but it’s not always as simple to do as we’d like. Chances are there are a few areas of your life that could use a few eco-friendly choices to help spruce it up but one of the big ones is your kitchen.
Kitchens can be a bit of a breeding ground for unsustainable practices from using harmful chemicals to clean to throwing away perfectly good leftover food. If you’re looking to create a more sustainable kitchen, these handy tips can help you out.
Reduce food waste
Canadians waste 2.2-million tons of edible food every year, for a whopping amount of 17-billion dollars. Chances are there is plenty of food that you unnecessarily waste in your household, and reducing it can go a long way in living sustainably.
A few ways you can reduce your food waste include:
- Shopping for groceries more often
- Purchasing less food each visit
- Planning your meals, bringing a list, and avoiding bargain shopping
- Cooking smaller proportions
- Treating food waste as potential ingredients
- Embracing the life of leftovers
Not only will reducing food waste make your kitchen more sustainable, but it will also save you money in the long run.
Use non-toxic cleaning products
Many of the standard cleaning products you use to clean your kitchen are not eco-friendly. They contain chemicals, like bleach, that can harm you, may contain components that are non-degradable, can threaten aquatic life, negatively affect indoor air quality and contribute to smog formation outdoors, and can be made from non-renewable resources like petroleum.
But there are plenty of natural cleaners out there that are made with eco-friendly ingredients that can help make your kitchen sustainable. Friendly ingredients include non-toxic, biodegradable, and plant-based ingredients like essential oils, citric acid, and decyl glucoside. Or you can create your own sustainable cleaning products by combining common kitchen items like vinegar and baking soda.
Opt for reusable bags
One-time-use plastic bags are a bad choice. Even if you’re planning on using them over again because they can contain toxic chemicals like BPA, flame retardants or PVC that are harmful to the environment and animals that might come in contact with them, plus they can take over 500 years to degrade. Instead, you want to opt for reusable bags which will both reduce the amount of trash that you throw away and save you money in the long run.
However, not all reusable bags are made equally. Cotton totes take considerable energy to make, instead use bags that are made from materials such as burlap, which is natural, or polypropylene, which are cheap to make and durable.
If you want to create a more sustainable kitchen, composting is an excellent step to take. Composting can save you money, improve your soil, and reduce your carbon footprint. There are plenty of compost solutions that range from traditional bins to worm farms, whatever suits your lifestyle best. Here’s a quick tip, if you’re worried about smells or fruit flies from your kitchen composting efforts simply sprinkle 1 or 2 tablespoons of BinBreeze and you’re all set!
As the ultimate win-win scenario, composting also helps to reduce your food waste— in the long run it saves you money and reduces your impact on the environment. Then you can use the happy and healthy garden soil you’ve created with your composted material to grow beautiful flowers or a delicious vegetable garden.
Say no to wrap
Cling wrap is bad for the environment. Recycling the plastic used in wrap is costlier than simply using new materials, so it ends up in the trash. But PVC or PVDC that’s thrown into the landfill or burnt in an incinerator, it releases a highly toxic chemical called dioxin.
Simply replacing it with aluminum foil won’t solve the problem either, as it also leaves quite the negative footprint. Foil is complex to create, and both energy intensive and emissions heavy.
Instead of plastic wrap and aluminum foil, you can use a sustainable alternative like beeswax wraps, washable cotton food cover set, opt for a set of reusable bags, or put leftovers in a reusable container.
Install an aerator on your tap
An aerator is a small, round device that can be screwed onto the tip of your faucet to help reduce the amount of water that you use and create a non-splashing consistent stream.
This unnoticeable device makes your water flow more productive by adding pockets of air to your water stream, both reducing the amount of water that goes through your tap and creating a stream that doesn’t get everywhere. The best part is, you can pick one up for less than $10.
Buy in bulk
Not only is buying in bulk cheaper in the long run, but it also cuts down on packaging waste. While it’s not practical for the average household to buy everything in bulk, longer-lasting dry goods like flour, pastas, lentils and beans all make for great candidates.
This is also a good opportunity to upcycle glass jars and use them for storage, further reducing your waste. Mason jars full of dried goods can also be artfully displayed as practical decorations.
Making sustainable choices
There are plenty of changes you can make in your daily life that can help reduce your impact on the environment and make your home more sustainable, the key is making the change last. Taking it one change at a time is one great way to start making a small difference.
The GarbageDay App can provide you with helpful tips, tricks, and ideas that you can implement in your own home and life, so you can get one step closer to your eco-friendly dream.