If you’re looking for ways to make your entire home greener, a great place to start is the kitchen. This is where you use many of your cleaning chemicals, and where the majority of your home’s energy is used. If you can make this room more efficient, you’ve got a very good chance of saving money and doing your little bit for the environment.
Here are 6 relatively straightforward ways to go green in the kitchen.
1. Switch to a dishwasher
The latest water and energy-efficient dishwashers use around a third less water than washing and rinsing dishes by hand. But you will only get the full benefit if you wait until your machine is full before running a cycle. Most machines have an economy setting these days, so make sure you use yours.
2. Change your cooking habits
Cooking with traditional appliances such as conventional ovens and gas hobs uses an enormous amount of energy. Wherever possible, use grills, convection ovens, convection hobs, microwaves and slow cookers for all your culinary requirements. Fill pans with water from the hot tap before boiling food, and never use more water than is absolutely necessary. Finally, always try to cook food in pans with the lid on — which catches heat and cooks food faster.
3. Use your fridge with care
The first thing to do is upgrade your refrigerator to the latest, energy-efficient model. Try not to loiter in the fridge; get what you need, then close the door as quickly as possible. Every time a fridge or freezer becomes too warm, more energy is needed to bring it back down to temperature.
To ensure your fridge is working as efficiently as possible, vacuum the coils at the back regularly. And check the seals on your fridge at least once a week. If warm air is getting in, it will probably be working much harder than it needs to.
4. Splash out on reusable shopping bags
Keeping a store of reusable shopping bags in your kitchen not only stops plastic from needlessly ending up in the oceans, it saves you money. If you ever forget to take your bags to the shop with you, buy some more — then give them to a friend afterwards. Alternatively, there’s nothing stopping you from reusing plastic bags several times. Once you’re finished with them, place them in your plastics recycling bin.
A lot of manufacturers are now making great strides when it comes to green packaging. Some are reducing the amount of plastics they use, while others are looking at alternative, biodegradable options. Keep these issues in mind when making your shopping choices.
5. Set up recycling bins in your kitchen
The vast majority of waste plastic, metals and paper produced by the average house emanates from the kitchen. To make your life as easy as possible, set up dedicated recycling bins for each type of waste, and label them accordingly to ensure all your friends and family follow your recycling rules.
6. Shop as little as possible
If we all learn to shop smarter, we can all make a different to the nation’s carbon footprint. Every time you go shopping, you’re probably using fuel to get to the store and back. So try to go shopping once or twice a week, and keep your cupboards stocked up. It’s also a good idea to substitute missing ingredients for things you have lying around in the kitchen. Food waste is a huge problem, and adds to carbon emissions and climate change — so anything we can do to reduce it in any way should be embraced.
If we all make these changes in our kitchens, the impact we can have on the environment will be almost immeasurable.