Your House is Your Haven: Don't Neglect the Interior

5 Ways To Create A More Eco-Friendly Kitchen

by Cherly King

Making your kitchen greener will have a positive impact on the environment. Start with a few small steps. The following are five ideas to help you get started.

1. Sponges and Cloths

Stop buying disposable sponges and paper towels. Instead, replace these items with reusable products. You can find cloth and natural sponges for scrubbing dishes and counters. When these items do reach the end of their useful life, you can usually compost them. Handles are made of natural wood instead of plastic. You can also replace paper towels with reusable fabric kitchen towels.

2. Dish Soap and Cleaners

What you put into the water also matters, as you don't want to use dish soaps and detergents that contain toxic ingredients that can damage the ecosystem. Look for eco-friendly soap and detergent products. Go a step further by opting for those that come in recyclable or compostable packaging or that feature refillable packages. This will further minimize your environmental footprint.

3. Manual Appliances

Energy use is a major carbon contributor in most areas. You can lower your energy use by opting for manual appliances where appropriate. For example, you could use a manual coffee grinder instead of an electric model or hand chopper instead of a food processor. For larger appliances where manual isn't an option, choose those with high Energy Star ratings to ensure they use the least amount of electricity possible.

4. Sustainable Materials

Choose items made of sustainable materials for use in your kitchen. For example, wood spoons and bamboo cutting boards are much more sustainable than those made of plastic. Natural fiber dish towels are more absorbent, and they can be composted, unlike those made from synthetic fibers. Whenever it is time to replace something in the kitchen, determine if there is an option available that is made of a more sustainable material.

5. Reusable Packaging

A lot of the ecological stress caused by the average home kitchen is due to packaging waste. A true eco-friendly product will have minimal packaging, and what packaging there is should be recyclable. Choose products, including food, that come in recyclable packaging instead of plastic whenever possible. Further, update food storage packages to durable and reusable options. One easy exchange to make is to stop using plastic film and instead use butcher paper or foil, which are made of renewable natural products.

Replace items as they wear out with eco-friendly products and alternatives to help foster a greener kitchen.