Traditionally, the kitchen has been a place which creates loads of waste, with power-hungry, buzzing, baking and cooling appliances amping up your electricity bills. Add the under-sink chemical department with products marked ‘toxic’ and ‘corrosive’ and the picture you get is not very ‘green’ by any standard. Luckily, the times have changed. Now you can find eco-friendly cleaning products, energy-efficient appliances, as well as kitchenware and furnishings made of recycled and recyclable materials.
Buy green kitchenware
Although a plastic cutting board may seem more durable and easier to wash, when discarded, it will eventually end up on a landfill, beginning its 1,000-year long decomposition process. The latest trend in environmentally-friendly kitchen materials is bamboo. This fast growing plant is resilient and water resistant, making it the perfect choice for trays, boards, backsplashes and flooring. Manufacturers such as IKEA use a lot of scraped wood in their kitchen product lines. Apart from being a totally renewable resource, cork is hypoallergenic, resistant to mould and mildew and provides good sound insulation.
Use earth-friendly product
The chemical composition of regular dishwashing liquids, detergents, oven cleaners and other cleaning products used in the kitchen is enough to make you sick to your stomach. On the other hand, there are many companies that have made a fortune by developing non-toxic, biodegradable, plant-based detergents. If you don’t trust companies, you can always create your own cleaning products using common and inexpensive ingredients such as vinegar, baking soda and lemon juice.
Refresh before you remodel
Turning your kitchen green doesn’t mean throwing everything out and buying all the new, cool eco stuff. The greenest approach is actually working with what you already have and creating as little waste as possible. Always focus on refreshing before remodelling. New paint and cabinets can bring in a refreshing change, without leaving you with tons of renovation waste. Low-VOC paints are now widely available with many suppliers and manufacturers. Volatile organic compounds are associated with many health problems and the fewer of them in your home, the better.
Think in bulk
Purchasing food and expendables from bulk bins means less packaging waste, fewer trips to the shop, but also financial savings. And it doesn’t apply only to groceries. Instead of kitchen towels, purchase bulk packages of towels used for cleaning and detailing cars and use them in the kitchen. Not only are they cheaper than kitchen towels, but extremely sturdy. In addition, they can last much longer than a paper towel roll and produce no waste. Cooking in bulk is more effective both energy-wise and time-wise. Cook a big pot of stew and divide and freeze the leftovers. This way you can treat yourself with a cooked meal when you’re in a pinch. Planning meals for your family a few days in advance is a great way to shop efficiently and save time for more pleasant moments.
Choose energy-saving appliances
In the last decade, no kitchen appliance has evolved energy-wise more than the refrigerator and freezer. Modern refrigerators today provide efficient cooling at fewer than 400-kW-hours per year, which is almost a third of how much older fridges consume. On the other hand, the latest Maytag freezers use energy-saving LED lighting and Frost Free technology. It prevents ice build-up on the walls which reduces the efficiency of the unit.
Under-the-counter water filter
This water purifier system cleans water of contaminants before they reach the kitchen tap. With more than 10 times the capacity of a tap-mounted filter, it is much more cost-effective. Models with activated charcoal filters remove heavy metals, bacteria and pesticides, as well as bad tastes. If chlorine is your concern, rest assured that all modern filters will remove it. On the other hand, if you have too much chlorine, you probably won’t have any problem with bacteria. In that case, choose a double under the counter water filter system or a double direct line under the counter water filter system.
While eco-friendly kitchen begins with energy-efficient appliances and green materials, it doesn’t end there. Energy- and time-efficient food preparing practices and earth-friendly cleaning habits are also important if you are looking to make the right choice for your health, your pocket and the planet.