This is a guest post by Maria Rainier. If you want to guest post on this blog, see the guidelines here.
I am often struck by how easy it was for me to change some things in the kitchen to reflect a greener lifestyle. Believe it or not, there are ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly beyond installing a set of solar panels on your roof (although that totally qualifies). A few minor adjustments in your kitchen can have a big impact on your home’s overall energy use, so it’s a task worth your time. Allow me to share with you some things I did to transform my kitchen.
Greener cleaning products
This was a no brainer for me. It is disturbing to think how countless gallons of these toxic chemicals are washed down household drains around the world on a daily basis. I knew that the cleaning products I used for the kitchen contained dangerous toxic chemicals that could seriously injure someone if left in the wrong hands. I didn’t know about any greener options until I took the time to look around at my local grocery store. Turns out there are a ton of eco-friendly options out there, it’s just a matter of searching for the right one. If you’re not sure what to look for, start with products that advertise as free of chlorine, phosphates and ammonia.
Wash more dishes by hand
For a while I was part of the majority of people who believed that cleaning dishes with a dishwasher consumes much less water than when done by hand. This is a statement that has more credence recently with the release of many eco-friendly (but expensive!) dishwashers that claim to use little water during their cleaning cycles. But lately I have seen several videos which show the true efficiency of hand washing done the right way. It turns out that you use considerably less water if you only turn on the sink in short bursts for each dish, as shown in the video. Sure, hand washing may take a little more effort than using the machine, but it will also save you hundreds of gallons of water in the long run!
Invest in quality kitchenware
This is a tall order for people who are strapped for cash, but trust me on this – quality cookware makes for a smart investment if you can afford it. You can spend your whole life choosing the cheaper option when it comes to that skillet or that roasting pan, but the truth is that cheaply made cookware isn’t built to last. You have to constantly buy these amalgams of plastic and synthetic metals that cost you a lot more money over time than if you had plopped down some serious cash on quality kitchenware. Cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans should last almost a lifetime, which means you’ll rarely have to throw away old utensils.
Focus on efficiency
Efficiency is the main theme of any green and ecological kitchen, and there are a number of methods to increase efficiency in the kitchen that do not require any big purchases or drastic changes. All it takes is a little attention to detail: maybe you cook food in the oven as soon as the appliance is preheated to save on your gas/electricity consumption, or maybe you cook a dish in a pressure cooker to reduce cooking time and energy use. You may choose to use kitchen towels and washable napkins instead of paper products and other disposable kitchen items. The point is to get inventive in the kitchen, looking for potential areas of improvement among your routine kitchen habits. There are improvements to be had in every kitchen, it’s just a matter of discovering what works for you and your kitchen.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. for https://www.onlinedegrees.org. In her free time, she enjoys gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.