The Natural Home & Garden editors share 11 tips for an eco-friendly kitchen.
This Earth Day, Natural Home & Garden magazine and Natural Home Products want to give you the tips and the tools to transition your kitchen into a serene, de-cluttered and eco-friendly cooking space. Natural Home Products is giving away 2 kitchen prize packs, each worth $275.00 and Jessica Kellner shares some of her favorite, easy tips to help turn your kitchen into a greener, more natural space.
Enter to win:
10-piece cookware set
Moboo Slotted Spoon charcoal
Moboo Solid Spoon charcoal
Moboo Slotted Turner charcoal
Moboo Solid Turner charcoal
12-oz Oil drizzler
Moboo nesting bowls natural
Stainless steel compost bin
Bamboo Cloth 3-Pack
1. Compost. You can greatly reduce the amount of waste your kitchen generates by composting kitchen scraps. Vegetable scraps, leftover grains, eggshells, coffee grounds and used teabags are all suitable for your under-sink compost bucket. To make compost, simply put scraps in a pile outdoors with dry organic matter such as leaves or grass clippings. If you don’t have space outdoors, opt for an indoor vermicomposting kit. For a guide to all kinds of composting, visit our Composting page.
2. Limit packaging. To limit the amount of packaging that comes into your kitchen, consider buying grains, cereals and other commodities from the bulk bin at your local grocer. Buying in bulk often saves money, and you can use reusable cloth bags to bring home your goods rather than boxes and bags that end up in the trash. Use our Natural Home reusable produce bags instead of the plastic ones distributed at the grocery store. Buy the largest possible containers of items you can’t buy in bulk to reduce the amount of packaging you bring into your home.
3. Get rid of disposable wipes. Make your kitchen a disposable-free zone. Use reusable cleaning cloths instead of disposable wipes or paper towels. Want to make ready-to-use antibacterial wipes? Store cloths in a container filled with a mixture of 1 cup water, 1 ounce liquid castile soup and 6 to 8 drops of your favorite pure essential oil such as tea tree or citrus. The cloths can be washed and returned to the jar for reuse. Cap jar between uses.
4. Ban disposable dishware. If you’re planning a picnic or party, opt for inexpensive reusable plates made of natural materials such as those from eaternalplates.com or verterra.com. If handwashed, these plates last for many uses and once their useful life is over, they are 100 percent biodegradable.
5. Upgrade your faucet. If your faucet is not a new, low-flow model, add an inexpensive faucet aerator, which can reduce water flow to as low as .35 gallons per minute. According to the EPA, if every U.S. home installed a WaterSense faucet or aerator, we could avoid about $600 million in energy costs. Also make sure your faucet isn’t leaking. To spot a slow-dripping leak, check your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If it changed, you’ve got a leak.
6. Reduce water waste. You can also reduce water waste by purchasing an efficient Energy Star dishwasher, scraping dishes rather than rinsing them before placing in the dishwasher, and keeping drinking water in the fridge rather than running the faucet to allow water to get cold. Check out the article "Lower Your Flow" for many more tips.
7. Streamline kitchen tools. Consider which tools you really need in the kitchen and don’t buy additional specialty tools. Have excess junk cluttering your cook space? Donate it to a local thrift store to rid yourself of unnecessary clutter. The Natural Home Eazistore cookware line is perfect for storing essential cookware in a small space.
8. Get rid of plastic. Research shows that plastic can leach chemicals into food products, particularly when heated. To improve your family’s health, make your kitchen a plastic-free zone. Opt instead for glass, metal or Moboo, Natural Home’s line of molded bamboo products.
9. Optimize the fridge. First, make sure your refrigerator door closes properly. Put a dollar inside the door and close it. If you can pull it out without opening the fridge, you need to replace the seals. If your refrigerator is old, replacing it with a new Energy Star model will pay for itself in energy savings. Refrigerators more than 10 years old are likely about 60 percent less efficient than modern Energy Star models. Top-freezer models are the most efficient and give the best bang for your buck.
10. Reduce food waste. Reduce food waste by reusing leftovers, preparing several meals at once and planning ahead before visiting the grocery store. Try to use all parts of the foods you buy. For example, turn chicken or turkey carcasses into homemade stock, make old bread into homemade croutons or transform leftovers by adding new herbs and spices. Check out the article "Waste Not, Want Not" for more tips.
11. Finally, eat fresh. Choose locally produced foods that haven’t traveled long distances to reach your grocery store. Visit your local farmer’s market or join a community-supported agriculture (CSA) group, in which subscribers receive a weekly share of goodies from an area farmer. Find groups in your area at localharvest.org. For a list of many delicious recipes featuring local spring foods, check out our Spring Recipes page.
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