How to Go Green in the Kitchen

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kitchen herbs

Greening a kitchen can start with preparing eco-friendly food for the family. Efficient cleaning habits and food preparation techniques are also essential to greening a kitchen. The use of food equipment and sustainable materials are important to reduce the environmental implications.

Grow Herbs in Your Kitchen

Why buy herbs from hundreds or thousands of miles away? Locavore your herbs and grow them in your kitchen (quick herb guide). There are plenty of varieties that do well indoors in bright lit rooms and everyone uses them. Among the many herbs that will do well in your kitchen are:

  • basil, mint, and cilantro
  • thyme, parsley, and dill
  • oregono, rosemary, and sage
  • chives, marjoram, and bay

Collect Your Kitchen Food Scraps For Composting

Did you know the city of Portland, Oregon collects your food scraps for composting? Portland, Oregon issued every homeowner a kitchen bucket to collect food scraps that you are then suppose to toss in your green bin mixed with tree clippings for the city to haul off for composting. The plan was initiated by the Bureau of Planning and Sustainability, and met with some criticism by many homeowners who didn’t want to be forced into composting. Fortunately, composting is easy to do, even if you only have a backyard compost. This is one of the easiest things to do and it prevents unnecessary waste headed to the landfill.

Use Sustainable Utensils and Cookware

To go green in the kitchen, purchase only cookware and other kitchen equipment that are made from durable, biodegradable and non-toxic materials. You can save money in the long run by buying frying pans made of stainless steel or cast iron instead of non-stick materials like Teflon. It is good to invest in this type of cookware since they can last for generations. Avoid buying cheap utensils since they may break down easily. Cheap wooden spoons may rot too quickly from everyday use. Plastic ladles can melt easily when left by accident near the stove. Buy good-quality knives to make them last longer. It is better if you can sharpen the blades yourself and re-use them to save on the cost of buying new knives. Use cloth towels instead of paper. Cloth towels are washable and can be reused over again.

Choose Energy-Efficient Stoves

When it comes to cooking, you can choose to use a stove powered by electric or gas. Many chefs prefer to use gas stoves since they can control the temperature. The heat is not wasted once you are done cooking the food. When thinking of replacing your gas stove, look for the one with a lower BTU output. A low BTU level means the gas stove is energy-efficient.

If you prefer an electric powered stove, the most efficient are those that use induction energy. The induction stove works by transferring electromagnetic energy to the frying pan. In this process, the stove top remains relatively cool in temperature. Induction stoves use less than the required energy for stoves with standard coils. However, you need to use metal pans and pots for induction to work. Cooking in glass and aluminum pots is not possible. The stove you choose will be an important element to go green in the kitchen. It all depends on your lifestyle and if you are willing to pay the price for the greenest piece of kitchen equipment.

Lower the Temp Setting on Your Refrigerator

Did you know your refrigerator could consume 10-15% of your electricity bill? Shave some watts off your electricity bill and check the temp setting. People often never even bother checking the setting on their refrigerator which means chances are you could be using extra energy unnecessarily. Your fridge temp definitely does not need to be maxed out to freezing, check it out to see if it is set to high or medium high, if it is, you should be able to safely set it to medium (between 38 – 42 degrees) and save a little extra dough on your electricity bill and also ever so slightly lowering your carbon footprint. This tip is a two-fer!

Use Green Cleaning Solutions

Also See our Clean Green Post. Green cleaning products are competing with established conventional brands for the right to become the ultimate cleaning solution to any home or office. Green cleaning products should be biodegradable and made from renewable materials. As the environmental and health implications of traditional products are gradually spreading, greener alternative cleaning products are slowly emerging in the market. If you find green cleaning products a bit expensive in supermarkets, try home-made cleaners instead. You can mix baking soda and vinegar to get rid of grime and dirt on stove tops and kitchen counters.

These are some no brainers to help green up your kitchen. If you have any of your own, please share them with us in the comments below. =)

Photo Credit: Some rights reserved by dreamo via Flickr.

About John Tarantino (325 Posts)

My name is John Tarantino ... and no, I am not related to Quinton Tarantino the movie director. I love writing about the environment, traveling, and capturing the world with my Lens as an amateur photographer. You can connect with me via Google+ or via Twitter: Follow @EnvironmentBlog

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