A lot of the emphasis on an environmentally-friendly kitchen has been placed on reducing the amount of plastic that you use. Whilst this is definitely important, there is actually plenty more things that you can do to reduce your kitchen’s impact on the planet.
If you’d like your kitchen’s design to be eco-friendly, there are several materials that you need to consider. For the units, have a look at birch plywood which is made of thin sheets of timber sandwiched together. For walls and floor coverings, choose resin which can replicate concrete. If you can choose your sink, opt for stainless steel which can easily be recycled. When choosing appliances for your new kitchen, you should look for products with an eco-friendly mode and with a good Energy Star rating.
So you want a fancy new kitchen? Don’t head to the showroom immediately. Instead, have a look at used kitchens. So many kitchens are given up just because they’re not to the owner’s taste, so you may be able to grab a great bargain by approaching a re-seller of used kitchens. Used Kitchen Exchange is one of the most highly recommended companies in the industry as they survey kitchens for their quality, professionally remove them and can help with arranging delivery to your home. You can even do a further good deed by listing your kitchen for sale on the site, and you might be able to make a tidy profit. If your kitchen is still in good condition, you might want to save yourself some money and do it up yourself – paint the units, change the cabinet handles and decorate your backsplash for the best effect.
When you’re buying utensils and cooking equipment for your kitchen, always think long-term. Yes, you can buy utensils for cheap, but they won’t last long and they’ll end up in the bin. Avoid wooden spoons and plastic utensils, and buy high-quality knives which can be sharpened by hand. Teflon pans are useful for cooking, but don’t last very long, so swap them for a cast iron or stainless steel pan, which will be more than worth the initial investment.
Change the Way You Cook
With most new ovens, there’s no need to extensively pre-heat before you cook. Try and cook more than one thing in the oven at once, or even use your microwave where you can as it uses much less energy. If you’re cooking on the hob, you can avoid wasting heat by using a properly sized pan for each ring. Up to 40% heat can be wasted if you use a six inch pan on an eight inch burner.
Eating seasonally isn’t just good for your body; it’s good for the environment too. Choosing fruit and vegetables which are locally sourced and in season will save so much in air miles, reducing your carbon footprint dramatically. If you’re not sure how to shop locally – look for a farmers market near you, or scour the supermarket for local brands. Organic food is free of preservatives and expires quickly, so it makes sense to buy locally.
The kitchen is undoubtedly the room in your home which creates the most waste, but there are lots of things that you can do to make an effort to reduce it. Start at the shops – have a look at the things that you buy and the way that they are packaged. If you buy fresh produce, this could be reduced and if you visit your local butchers, they may even be happy to put your meat in your own Tupperware for you. When you’re cooking, only cook what you will use or freeze the rest to avoid throwing it away, and re-use glass jars and carrier bags.
Make Your Cleaning Green
If you read the back of your kitchen cleaning products, you might be surprised at the amount of chemicals they have. If you can swap your traditional cleaning products for detergents that are plant based, and products with a non-toxic formula, this is good for the environment. You can also find plenty of information online about making your own cleaning products with household basics such as baking soda and vinegar.