Greening Your Kitchen

by Sammi Richardson

A kitchen is considered the heart of one’s home. We prepare our daily meals and spend a lot of time in it with our loved ones. There’s always something going on in this space. If you’ve been working on making your life a bit greener, the kitchen is not to be forgotten. We have a great helpful list of easy tips that will make your kitchen eco-friendly and green in no time!

1. Select energy-efficient cookware. When choosing cookware, it’s important to make a conscious effort to buy cookware that allows for fast and even heat conduction. Not only is this helpful but it saves energy and produces better tasting meals. For stovetop cooking you might want to consider cast iron, stainless steel or copper pans. If you want to make meals in the oven, you should look for glass, ceramic or silicone baking pans. By using these pans, you can reduce oven temperatures by 25 to 30 degrees F.

2. Multi-task in the oven. It is estimated that running an electric oven at 350 degrees F costs about $.24 per hour to run. Natural gas ovens at the same temperature run about $.09 an hour–so if you have the option, consider gas. Also, when possible, bake several dishes as once to help cut energy and costs. How
about baking those cookies on the top oven shelf, and a casserole on the bottom shelf? We call that delicious multi-tasking!

3. Save those leftovers! Many people don’t love leftovers, but they could play an integral part in helping you to maintain a green kitchen. Next time you make your favorite baked ziti, why not make a double batch to freeze? The larger batch lets you capitalize on heat you’re already using. Having to reheat the second time around requires just a fraction of the energy needed to initially cook it. We bet that ziti will taste extra delicious now!

4. Make sure to use the right burner. Not everybody may realize this, but it’s important to know that a 6-inch pot over an 8-inch burner would waste over 40% of the heat generated? Large burners should be used only for pots big enough to cover the entire burner. Otherwise you’re wasting all the heat that rises up around the pot. Next time you use your stove; make sure that you’re using the appropriate burner.

5. Choose smaller appliances for cooking. It’s not always necessary to use an oven to bake or cook something. Next time you want to bake something small, why not turn to your toaster oven? A toaster oven would be the perfect choice to toast waffles or heat up a piece of pizza, rather than the oven. The toaster oven uses up to half as much energy as a conventional oven. A slow cooker is also a smart option to use for cutting energy costs. Next time you make a stew, how about making it in a slow cooker instead of on the stove? It will taste just as good!

6. Set up a recycling station in your kitchen. Did you know that over 32% percent of our solid waste is some sort of packaging–probably much of it generated from the kitchen. Separate bins for aluminum cans, plastic, glass and paper.

7. Be Dish Smart. Sometimes it’s easier to use disposable plates instead of ceramic dishes when we’re feeling lazy. However, resuable dishes and containers are much friendlier on the planet. All that paper garbage can quickly pile up in a landfill. And always remember to fill your dishwasher full before running a load. Not only will this cut energy and water use, but it will extend the life of your dishwasher too.

8. Recycle appliances. That microwave and toaster oven can’t last forever. If you’re planning on upgrading, consider donating your used appliances to a second hand store. You should call before donating any large appliances, such as a fridge or stove. If the old appliance doesn’t work, check to see if the store where you’re buying the new appliance has a program to help recycle old appliances. Appliances are made of valuable steel and contain Freon, none of which belongs in a landfill. This means they need to be properly disposed of, so do your research before just dumping it on the curb.

9. Save That Grease and Oil! It’s inevitable that you will collect grease when cooking. It’s not the most desired thing in the world, and we know that you may be temped to pour it down the drain. Do not do this! Your kitchen pipes are not meant to handle grease or oil. In addition to clogged pipes, your sewer treatment center will have a challenging time too. Next time you produce a lot of oil or grease while cooking, save it in a coffee tin. It can be reused for future cooking.

10. Make the switch to Green/Eco Cleaners. You might not realize, but some of the biggest home polluters are the cleaners you store under your sink. Even when the cleaners are not in use, chemicals still seep out and could potentially harm the health of everyone in your home. Many window cleaners, air fresheners and oven cleaners contain a chemical called butyl cello solve. This harmful chemical can depress the nervous system; cause liver and kidney damage and even cause reproductive problems too. Make sure that you’re using natural, eco-friendly cleaners for the best natural clean around!

We’d love to hear your tips for greening your kitchen. What do you do to make ensure it’s running as eco-friendly as possible? Maybe we’ll even add it to the list! Sound off below.

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