We create a great deal of waste in the kitchen! From food waste to the volume of packing we bring in, it's a lot! But don't worry, these simple Eco Friendly Kitchen Tips will have you well on your way to a sustainable kitchen!
1. Compost….Everything To Can!
When you compost you are actively making a difference in the city where you live. You are reducing the volume of waste heading to the landfill, you’re decreasing the amount of methane gas being released into the atmosphere (which causes air pollution) and you are creating the BEST soil that is full of nutrients and is used to grow food in abundance.
We LOVE to talk about composting on this site and we've got som may useful guides to help you:
2. Go Local!
The food you eat and where it comes from is super important. Buy local wherever you can!
In an eco friendly kitchen food miles count and the fewer miles from farm to table the better. Pineapple might taste amazing in the cold winter months. But think of the pollution to fly it here, not to mention all the preservatives, biocides (both used to keep the foods from spoiling before they arrive), and other crapola found in foods that travel to us. If you can, try to support community-supported agriculture (CSA) co-ops, farmers' markets, or the farm itself.
Reduce excessive packaging in the home by shopping with your own bags, buying fresh, unwrapped produce, and avoiding oversized portions. If you are throwing away food on a regular basis you are either buying or cooking too much. I used to shop once a week, but have found over time that I was wasting a lot of food. If you can get to the grocery store twice a week and plan all my meals in advance, I end up using all the food I buy and wasting less and less. Bulk cooking is another way to ensure you eat all the food in the home…leftovers, anyone?
These eco-friendly kitchen products will help you on your journey.
Reuse glass jars for storage and make sure you have lots of reusable bags on hand. If you are buying goods that are packaged, always recycle!
PRO TIP: When shopping at a grocery store, approach it as if you were shopping at your local farmers market. At a market, the packaging is usually minimal and you almost always need to bring your own bags. Think of the grocery store in the same way, yes you may get a funny look here and there. But who cares? Right?
For non-perishables, buy in bulk, you’ll make fewer trips to the grocery store and save money in the long run too. You can also shop for bulk organic food online.
4. Break-Up With Toxic Chemicals!
I want you to run into your eco friendly kitchen and get rid of all your harsh cleaners right now. They are harming you, me, and the environment. Do you know what kinds of ingredients are lurking in your cleaning products?
Have you tried DIY, it’s fun, easy, and cheap? These simple, effective, homemade recipes will clean and disinfect your kitchen, safely! Also opt for green cleaning products, natural laundry detergent, and even zero-waste dish soap.
5. Invest in this kitchen tool
I don’t know one person who loves to wash dirty pots and pans. I know I certainly want to find pretty much anything else to do instead, but, this $4 Kitchen Tool Will Change Your Life, I Promise.
A few years ago I was visiting Logan and Finely a cute little eco shop in the west end of Toronto and saw this little 3-inch piece of wood sitting in the kitchen section, Julie the owner said it was a life-changing kitchen tool that would save a ton of time and money. I thought to myself how can this be! But decided to give it a go! BOY, was she right!
This tool, which is actually called a Bamboo Pot Scraper, is a game-changer and a major time-saver.
Most of us clean our dirty pots and pans with a cloth, sponge, and a whole lot of dish soap. But with this tool, you can remove burnt food from pots and pans, cookie sheets, and even stickers and wax on any surface. When you use it, it does not remove the finish. You simply slide it back and forth and watch the magic happen, once you have removed the burnt food, you simply wash the pot or pan.
I also love it because it's part of my Plastic-Free Cleaning Kit.
I have completely eliminated having to soak anything that has burnt food left on the bottom. A little water and you are good to go! I love it because it works on stainless steel, non-stick, and cast iron.
Great for pots, but also “think outside the pot.” Use it to scrape windshields, remove dried candle wax, shimmy a chair, or round up loose dirt on a potting bench.
I promise this kitchen tool will change your life.
6. Be Water Wise!
One of the cheapest ways to go green in the kitchen is by installing a low-flow aerator. We tend to waste so much water when cooking and preparing foods, this simple step will save you water by regulating the flow but without changing the pressure. You can also use your kitchen more efficiently by being mindful of how you cook and use the stove.
Run the dishwasher on a full load and let the dishes air dry. I just leave the door open slightly and they are dry within an hour. If you are purchasing a new appliance for the kitchen go with Energy Star certified, they typically use 50% less energy (and about $40/ year on bills), this will help reduce your monthly energy bill as well. Energy-efficient dishwashers also use about 26,000 fewer liters of water per year than hand-washing.
7. Non-Stick = No Way!
Non-stick pots and pans are coated with PFOAs, nasty chemicals that have been linked to cancer. Health Canada does note that polytetrafluoroethylene (PTFE), a specific kind of PFOA can give off poisonous fumes at very high temps. If you are buying titanium, they may contain PTFE, so best to ask or avoid it if you are not sure.
Ceramic, touted as the best in “eco” pans is not all they are cracked up to be. Many of the ones I have used get scratched easily or just don’t deliver the “non-stick” promise. There have also been reports that show high levels of lead and cadmium in the glazes of these pots and pans.
Stainless steel is better, they are very durable but they can leach nickel and chromium into your food. So if you opt for steel, try carbon steel instead.
By far the best choice is cast iron. Keep these things in mind though: they are expensive, heavy, and need to be cleaner and prepared properly, or they will get ruined. But I figure it’s still worth it as what we put in our bodies is key to optimal health.
Choosing eco-friendly cookware is easier today!
Choosing tools that last and perform well is a good way to start on your green journey. If you are cooking for two for example, perhaps invest in a slow cooker or toaster oven, these are effective, affordable, and will use way less energy (up to 30% less) than your oven, lessening your carbon footprint.
8. Chill Out!
If you want your fridge/freezer to run more effectively make sure they are full. Where your fridge is concerned, if it’s over ten years old, it’s time to replace it. It’s costing you about one hundred and fifty bucks a year and wasting tons of energy. Don’t stand in front of the refrigerator with the door open for long periods of time, it wastes a ton of energy.
9. Eat Red Meat Less Often
The production and feeding of cattle are one of the most detrimental aspects of climate change. When a cow belches, it releases methane gas, which is 23 times more potent at trapping heat in our atmosphere than carbon dioxide. Transitioning to a plant-based diet can be hard, but there are simple things you can do to help along the way.
Not to mention the raising and eating of livestock not only pollutes water, air, and soil, it’s responsible for 18% of global greenhouse gas emissions — a higher share than transportation emissions. If you don’t want to cut it out completely, you can cut it out at least one to two times per week.
10. Ditch the paper towels
Want to save money AND reduce waste, this is how you do it! If you make one sustainable swap in the kitchen, make it this! There are so many paper towel alternatives for you to choose from. You see virgin paper products wreak havoc on your forests not to mention the cost to you! Have you ever thought about how much you spent on an item you k ow you are going to throw away after using it once? It all adds up!
PRO TIP: Buy bulk packages of cloths or towels used to clean and detail cars. Just use them in the kitchen. Same clothes, just cheaper and sturdier cause they are in the car section.
A final word on eco friendly kitchen tips
Rome was not built in a day and your sustainable kitchen won't be either. I always recommend starting in one area and building good habits from there! The kitchen, being one of the most wasteful places in the home is a good place to start!
What do you do to make your kitchen more eco-friendly? If you found this post helpful, please help someone by sharing this article – help me to help others 🙂!