This is a guest post by Maria Rainier. If you want to guest post on this blog, check out the guidelines here.
I’m often struck by how easy it was for me to change some things in my kitchen to reflect a greener lifestyle. Believe it or not, there are ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly beyond installing a set of solar panels on your roof (though that would totally qualify). A few minor adjustments in your kitchen could have a huge impact on the overall energy usage of your household, so it’s a task well worth your time. Allow me to share with you some of the things I did to transform my kitchen.
Greener cleaning products
This was a no brainer for me. It’s disturbing to think how countless gallons of these toxic chemicals get washed down the drains of homes across the world on a daily basis. I knew that the cleaning products that I used for the kitchen contained hazardous toxic chemicals that could seriously hurt someone if left in the wrong hands. I just didn’t know about any greener options until I took the time to look around at my local grocery store. It turns out that there are a ton of eco-friendly options out there, it’s just a matter of searching around for the right one. If you’re not sure what to look for, start with products that advertise as being free of chlorine, phosphates, and ammonia.
Wash more dishes by hand
For a while I was part of the majority of people who believe that cleaning dishes with a dishwasher consumes far less water than when done by hand. This is a claim that has more credence lately with the release of many eco-friendly (but expensive!) dishwashers that claim to use very little water during their cleaning cycles. But I’ve recently seen several videos that demonstrate the true efficiency of hand washing done the right way. It turns out that you’ll use considerably less water if you only turn on the sink in short bursts for each dish, as shown in the video. Sure, hand washing might take a little more effort than using the machine, but it will also save hundreds of gallons of water in the long run!
Invest in quality cookware
This is a tall order for people who are strapped for cash, but trust me on this one – quality cookware makes for a smart investment if you can afford it. You can spend your entire life opting for the cheaper option when it comes to that skillet or that roasting pan, but the truth is that cheaply made cooking products aren’t made to last. You have to continually buy these amalgams of plastic and synthetic metals which cost you much more money over time than if you had plopped some serious cash on quality kitchenware. Cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans should last almost a lifetime, meaning that you should rarely have to trash old cookware.
Focus on efficiency
Efficiency is the main theme of any green and eco-friendly kitchen, and there are a host of methods to increase efficiency in the kitchen that don’t require any big purchase or drastic changes. All it takes is a little attention to detail: maybe you cook food in the oven as soon as the appliance is preheated to save on your gas/electricity consumption, or maybe you cook a dish in a pressure cooker to cut down on cooking time and energy usage. Perhaps you choose to use washable kitchen towels and napkins in lieu of paper products and other disposable kitchenware. The point is that you get inventive in the kitchen, looking for potential areas of improvement among your routine kitchen habits. There’s improvement to be had in any kitchen, it’s just a matter of discovering what works for you and your kitchen.
Maria Rainier is a freelance writer and blog junkie. She is currently a resident blogger at First in Education where she writes about education, online colleges, online degrees etc. for http://www.onlinedegrees.org. In her spare time, she enjoys square-foot gardening, swimming, and avoiding her laptop.