Eating less meat and using less plastic are a couple of the ways to ensure that you reduce your environmental impact in the kitchen, but there’s much more that you can do! The only people that can save the planet are us, so let’s take a look at how to be more environmentally friendly in the kitchen.
A new kitchen is always tempting, but before you head over to the showroom, slow down and take a look at what you’ve already got. If your kitchen is structurally sound, a lick of paint and some TLC may do it the world of good. If you’re sure that your kitchen is past its time, have a look at used kitchens. You can approach a recommended used kitchen re-seller such as Used Kitchen Exchange, who’ll assess kitchens for their quality to ensure you get an amazing kitchen for a fraction of the showroom price. You could even make your new kitchen purchase guilt-free by selling yours with Used Kitchen Exchange.
You might believe that your utensils should be replaced regularly as they wear out, but this isn’t great for the environment or your pocket. Teflon in particular, is a popular style of utensil which doesn’t actually last that long. Swap your Teflon pan for one made of stainless steel or cast iron for longevity. If you regularly use low-quality plastic utensils, change them for something sturdier and more eco-friendly such as wood or bamboo. Lastly, kit yourself out with quality knives that are easy to sharpen by hand.
Gone are the days when you needed to pre-heat your oven for ten minutes before you put anything in – many modern ovens heat up almost immediately. When you’re using the oven, try to cook more than one thing at once to save energy, and use the microwave where possible. Use a properly-sized pan on each ring of the stove, as a six inch pan on an eight inch ring can waste up to 40% heat.
Check your appliances
If you need to replace an appliance with a new one, check the energy certificate first. Most appliances such as fridges, dishwashers, freezers and stoves have an Energy Star rating – you can use this to decide which appliance to buy. Sometimes, appliances can be even more efficient than doing the job yourself – for instance, you can buy a dishwasher which is more energy efficient than washing dishes by hand.
Bulk up and buy local
Buying fruit and vegetables both locally and seasonally is a great way to be more environmentally friendly. Whilst fruit from overseas may taste good, it may have taken a lot of air miles to reach you. Your supermarket should do its best to stock local brands, but you can also buy directly from a farmers market. Even better, grow your own in your garden or greenhouse! When you go to cook, try and cook in bulk as much as possible, to reduce appliance use – you might even save some money along the way.
Branded kitchen cleaning products can contain a lot of different chemicals. You can swap your usual detergent for one that is plant based and look for non-toxic formulas. If you’re thrifty, you could have a go at making your own cleaning solutions, using vinegar and baking soda to create a multi-purpose cleaner.
Unsurprisingly, the kitchen is the main cause of waste in your home. However, there are lots of things that you can do to reduce the amount of waste that you produce. When you go to the shop or market, take your own bags, buy fresh produce and look at how things are packaged. The next step is to only cook what you’ll eat, and freeze anything you don’t. Lastly, save things like glass jars and bags and re-use them.