November 4, 2009
Everything but the Kitchen Sink!
Make your kitchen eco-friendly for the new year.

You’ve done plenty to reduce your carbon footprint and be more environmentally friendly. Next time you sit down at your kitchen table and you think about how you can make more of an impact – in a good way – on the environment, look no farther – it starts right here.

 

The kitchen is probably one of the most frequented rooms in your home. It’s where you prepare meals. It’s where your children do their homework and even where you entertain. Give your kitchen an eco-friendly makeover for the new year. How many of the gadgets and products you use are made from plastic? Would you prefer “green” tools and utensils, but don’t know where to start? You’ll be happy to learn that there are plenty of items made from recycled and environmentally friendly materials.

 

Get ready for an eco-kitchen makeover!

 

Bamboo it. There are so many reasons why bamboo is a top choice when going green. Perhaps the most important reason is that it’s abundant and grows quickly. This makes it sustainable. From plates, bowls and utensils to cutting boards and trays, durable bamboo is used in a variety of kitchenware, and it’s a stylish way to be eco-friendly.

 

Go the distance. Purchase utensils and cookware that will stand the test of time, and even make great family heirlooms to pass down. Opt for cast iron or stainless steel whenever possible. They will last for generations, so you won’t be throwing them away with the leftovers. Invest in your kitchenware and you won’t have to worry about plastic utensils melting or low-quality wooden spoons rotting. 

 

No more paper. Paper towels, plates, tablecloths and napkins are easy and convenient – just use and toss – but not good for the environment. Look for paper products containing a high percentage of post-consumer recycled materials, and those made from certified sustainably harvested trees (or bamboo!). Even better, cloth towels and napkins will last longer and can be reused.

 

Upgrade appliances. With so many energy-efficient models hitting the stores, there’s no better time to replace your old appliances. When it’s time to say goodbye to your former appliances, send them off the right way. Many communities and stores have take-back programs and will ensure proper disposal, and even recycling, of your items. When shopping, don’t forget to look for Energy Star rated kitchen appliances such as refrigerators, dishwashers and stoves. 

 

Keep it clean. When it comes time to clean your kitchen’s floor, counters, dishes and utensils, check out the non-toxic, plant-based, biodegradable products found in stores. Or do it yourself by making cleaning products with ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar, which make excellent non-toxic, all-purpose cleaners. An Internet search, and even the package labels for things like baking soda, ammonia, bleach, etc., will yield “recipes” for cleaners to tackle most any household job.

 

Buy local and buy in bulk. Buying locally has the most obvious benefits; the food is often fresher and there’s less traveling involved, which cuts back on pollution. Buying and cooking in bulk means less trips to the store (again, cutting down on pollution), less packaging waste and more value for your money. Going green locally and in bulk pays you back with more green in your wallet. 

 

DIY. Frozen foods and pre-prepared meals can make dinners a snap. Why not make them yourself? You can make many meals in your kitchen – soups, casseroles, sauces and pasta dishes – that can be frozen and reheated without losing quality or taste. Next time you’re at the grocery store, skip the frozen food aisles and head to the fresh stuff. You can even take it a step further by growing your own fruits and vegetables to can or freeze. Preparing food in your home is a step in a greener direction.

 

New Year, New Kitchen. 


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