Your kitchen is the heart of your home, where you store and prepare food that nourishes body and mind. Why wouldn’t you want this part of your house or apartment to be healthy and natural? Going green does not have to cost a fortune; you can make small or extensive green innovations. Consider these projects when making environmentally friendly changes to your kitchen.
These changes won’t break the bank. They’re easy to implement in any kitchen:
Switch to green cleaners: Are you collecting toxic cleaners, bleach, antibacterial soap and other chemicals that would make you call poison control if your dogs or kids ate them? Switching to green cleaners gives you peace of mind and protects the planet. Opt to switch product by product as you run out of your current cleaner or turn in your old products at a hazardous waste cleanup. As a bonus for switching to green soaps, you limit the risks of super bacteria — bacteria that resists antibacterial agents.
Use water filters: Install a refrigerator water filter to remove chemicals in the municipal water supply for cleaner, fresher water. If you regularly purchase bottled water, filters offer you the same clean water at a fraction of the cost. Implementing this change allows you to stop purchasing bottled water and the plastic waste associated with it.
Put a recycling container in the kitchen: To recycle something, you need only rinse it out and dispose of it with municipal recycling. Keep a small container in the kitchen — where most recyclable waste is created — to make the process easier. As the container fills, empty it in the proper receptacle for pick up or drop it off locally. Be sure to keep a printed sheet of items that can and can’t be recycled to make things easier on yourself.
Mastering small, eco-friendly changes boosts your confidence and green status. If money allows, consider implementing additional changes that cost more but have a greater environmental impact:
Use renewable materials: Kitchen cabinets, tables, floors, sinks and counters may be made from a wide array of renewable sources. Consider cork and bamboo for flooring. If you prefer reusing materials, look for recycled stone for countertops or bring in scrap wood for floors, cabinets or tables.
Start composting: With a backyard composting bin or composter, you can reduce the amount of waste you create and turn kitchen scraps into nutrient-rich soil. You can compost much of the food you eat, including vegetable scraps, leftover rice or noodles and even compostable take-out containers. Keep a small compost pail beneath the kitchen sink so scraps can be easily stored away. If your town offers composting, consider participating.
Reduce your reliance on plastic: Plastic may be everywhere in your kitchen, including cutting boards and food containers. Over time, chemicals can leach into your food or beverages. Replace plastic food containers with glass and switch to a wooden cutting board to keep your kitchen green. If you have plastic containers, hand wash them in warm water and avoid microwaving them to risk contamination.
Benefits of greening your kitchen include eliminating or reducing waste of materials and food, feeling better about the food that you prepare and eliminating or reducing chemicals in your home environment. You don’t need to make all of these changes at once. It’s the process of going green that matters most!