Making green changes in your home doesn't have to feel burdensome. Sometimes it's easier if you work through your space one room at a time. In many houses, the room that gets the most use and has the most impact on the environment is the kitchen. Try out some of these environmentally friendly changes you can make to use less energy and waste fewer resources.
Older appliances, particularly refrigerators and dishwashers, may be using twice as much energy as newer models do. When you're making the switch, look for models with a good Energy Star rating and make sure you're getting machines that are the right size for your households. Refrigerators and freezers use less energy when they're full, so buying the biggest model on the market isn't always the best idea. Dishwashers, too, should only run when they're full to conserve energy.
Gallons of water each day go down your sink drain. One of the best ways to limit this waste is to install a low-flow aerator on your faucet. This small device reduces the flow of water through the faucet, allowing you to use less water when you wash your hands, the dishes or prepare food for a meal.
Purchasing bottled water puts a strain on the environment, even if you are recycling the bottles you use. Instead, set up a home water filtration system and purchase a few BPA-free reusable bottles so you can drink your tap water. Many refrigerators come with a built-in filter that you need only change twice a year – more frequently if it gets used a lot or your water changes in quality. If your budget doesn't yet accommodate the purchase of a newer fridge, start with a faucet filter, pitcher or countertop system and upgrade when you can.
Recycling and composting
Much of the waste that goes out of your kitchen can be recycled or composted rather than heading out in the garbage can to the dump. Put a recycling bin right next to the trash can to make it easy to recycle and set up a compost bucket on the counter or on the way out to your garden. Take the organic matter you collect to a bin you keep outside or get compostable bags that make it easier to collect all your food scraps.
The last major thing you can do to make your kitchen more eco-friendly is on a larger scale, but it's definitely something to think about if you're building a home or remodeling your existing kitchen. Make an effort to choose natural materials that are as renewable as possible and also minimally processed. Countertops made from recycled materials are a great option, as are bamboo or cork floors and cabinets with non-toxic finishes.
You don't have to make all of the changes at once, especially if they seem overwhelming. Remember that each little thing you do has a big impact on the environment over time. Whenever you are ready to make a change to your kitchen, implement one new product or habit. Eventually, you'll have a kitchen that green living advocates around the world will be proud of.
Jessica is interested in health and the environment. She enjoys reading and spending time outdoors in her free time.