Looking to become more environmentally conscious? For most of us, it starts in the kitchen. In an increasingly wasteful world, even the smallest kitchen habits can have an impact. Many of these hacks save money while minimizing your carbon footprint, so it’s a win-win. Here are nine simple ways to make your kitchen more sustainable.
Buying local helps out the environment because your food doesn’t need to travel as far. By eating locally, you’re helping to reduce carbon emissions. Farmers’ markets are a fun and tasty way to experience all the local ingredients your area has to offer. Much of eating locally means eating seasonally or sticking with foods that naturally grow in your region during a specific season. There are plenty of seasonal eating tips you can check out here.
Use a compost bin
Rather than throwing all your food waste in the garbage, consider using a composting bin instead. There are even self-composters that create soil for you to use in your own home garden. At its most basic, it’s a countertop bin that reduces waste, from your coffee grounds to banana peels.
Swap plastic wrap for beeswax wrap
Reusable wraps instead of foil and plastic can save so much on waste. There are malleable cloths coated in beeswax (or plant-based wax) which allow you to wrap your fruits and veggies, keeping them fresher for longer. Use it the same way you’d use plastic wrap on sandwiches, open bowls, and more. The heat from your hands allows the wrap to soften and mold just enough to stick. Plus, they often come in cute patterns.
Opt for cloths rather than paper towels
Cleaning up with paper towels can create a whole lot of waste – they can’t be recycled or composted, so they’re going right in the garbage. Instead, try switching to cloths and reusable paper towels that you can wash. This also means saving money, since paper towels can be expensive to stock up on.
Prep your own meals
Sure, ordering takeout or having frozen meals can be convenient, but it doesn’t have good repercussions for the environment. Pre-packaged meals mean more waste, and takeout can be even more wasteful with all kinds of packaging and plastic utensils. Additionally, homemade meals are way better for you in terms of nutrition.
Repurpose your leftovers
Rather than waiting for those leftovers to go bad and throwing them out, why not get creative with another meal? If you have leftover mac and cheese, consider making a grilled cheese sandwich with it! With anything veggie or protein-based, you can probably throw it in a salad with some fresh greens.
Save energy while cooking
Saving energy during the cooking process can be accomplished in several ways. Microwaving food is more energy-efficient than using a stove, just as an electric kettle is better than heating water on a stove. To further save your stove’s energy (and your utility bills), consider putting lids on pots and pans, which helps water boil faster. With the same logic, only use as much water as you need.
Use natural products whenever possible
Unfortunately, cleaning products can contain tons of allergens, toxins, and chemicals that aren’t safe for your family members – including pets. Instead, replace artificial deodorizers and disinfectants with baking soda or vinegar, which can work to neutralize order while killing bacteria. Even certain houseplants can help purify the air.
Pre-wash and store produce effectively
By doing this, you’re keeping your food fresher for longer. Pros suggest washing your veggies in white vinegar, which kills bacteria and doesn’t waste H20. To avoid moldy berries, store them in an airtight glass container with a cloth to soak up moisture. Keep greens in your crisper to maximize freshness.