Going “green” is all the rage nowadays, and there’s a good reason why. It helps save the environment by using less plastic, gas, harsh chemicals and other objects that aren’t good for our Earth. There are other awesome effects to being eco-friendly, too. More people are buying local, walking or riding bikes to work, and recycling. Wondering how you can get started? Like all good things in life, let’s begin in the kitchen. Here are a few tips from Ryan Homes at Brunswick Crossing on how to make your kitchen more eco-friendly:
Buy utensils that are built to last. If you buy cheaper utensils, you’ll get what you pay for. Plastic and wooden utensils get thrown away more often, creating unnecessary trash. By purchasing cast iron pots and pans and stainless steel utensils, you’ll eliminate excess trash and have a kitchen tool that’s built to withstand any recipe.
Use a stove with induction elements. If your wallet says yes, get a stove that uses induction elements. It transfers electromagnetic energy directly to a stainless steel or cast iron pan, which uses less than half the energy of gas and electric stoves. If you’re looking for something a little less expensive that still saves the environment, go for a ceramic-glass top stove. It uses halogen elements as the heat source, delivering instant heat that responds quickly to temperature changes.
Or use something a little smaller. A toaster oven, small convection oven, microwave, Crock Pot or pressure cooker uses 30 percent less energy than firing up the average oven.
Purchase local produce. Buying local helps the environment and your community. Local vendors usually use less or no pesticides on fruit and vegetables than big-time produce companies. You should also avoid eating frozen or dehydrated foods when you go grocery shopping, and don’t forget to cut down on plastic bag usage by bringing your own cotton bags.
Buy (and eat) less red meat. Though local meat is typically grass-fed (which is better for you than the hormone-fed meat), it’s best to totally cut out red meat. Not only will your diet thank you, but so will the environment. Cows produce methane gas each time they belch, and their manure is the source of two-thirds of man-made nitrous oxide. Each of these greenhouse gases are 300 times more potent than carbon dioxide, totaling 18 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions.
Start a compost pile. The idea of leaving leftover fruits and vegetables in a closed container on your kitchen counter sounds unappealing, but it’s one of the best practices you can do for the environment. You can use the leftovers as fertilizer for your garden, which is another awesome way to be eco-friendly.
Ditch the heavy kitchen cleaners. Off-the-shelf cleaners typically have an abundance of unsafe chemicals in them. To keep your “green” theme going, clean your kitchen countertops by mixing baking soda and distilled white vinegar. This DIY solution makes a great all-purpose, non-toxic cleaner.
Wash your dishes by hand. You can use up to 37 percent less water by not using a dishwasher. If you need to use the dishwasher, make sure it’s completely full before running it so you don’t waste water or energy.
Close the refrigerator and freezer doors. Leaving the doors open as you look for your next meal wastes energy. Instead, try meal prepping for the week or creating a schedule of dinners.
Recycle. It’s the easiest tip we’ve got! Find out what your local recycling company accepts, if it needs to be sorted and when you can put your recycling bin out. You’ll help save the environment by recycling cans, plastic, cardboard, glass and paper.