Greening your kitchen can be easy—and save money too. (Photo: gojeffrey/Creative Commons)
Making green choices is easier than a doubtful climate-change denier might think. Start in your kitchen with these 10 simple tips, and you’ll soon repent for your old, eco-unfriendly ways.
1. Bag It. Bring your own reusable tote bags to the grocery store. We like the brand EnviroSax. Its bags are lead free and BPA tested. Don’t stop there. Bring mesh sacks to bag your fruit, vegetables and herbs.
2. Befriend the Butcher. Get your meat and cheese fresh from the deli counter instead of choosing cuts wrapped in plastic and Styrofoam.
3. Bulk Up. Buying food in bulk saves you money; it also limits the amount of packaging you bring into your home. Single-serving products are wasteful and unnecessary. Buy big, then parcel food into small, reusable glass containers so you can still eat on the go.
4. Reject Plastic. Speaking of containers, store your food in glass, ceramic and stainless steel containers. Plastic containers are rife with toxins—toxins that end up in your food. Super unappetizing. Also, plastics are made from petroleum, which is very much not a renewable resource. You’ve probably noticed that many plastics aren’t even recyclable. Better to avoid 'em altogether.
5. Get Dressy. Have you ever read the ingredients on the back of your dressing bottles? What is that stuff? Make your own salad dressing, and you'll know what you're eating. Yeah, it requires more effort than unscrewing a plastic cap. But seriously, not much more. A quick Internet search will produce thousands of easy recipes.
6. Double Up. Maximize your oven. Next time you bake a cake or casserole, stick in a vegetable dish, too. You’ll spend less time cooking and more time eating.
7. Compost Your Scraps. One-third of all the waste in our landfills is leftover food. Letting that stuff decompose in our landfills means letting it emit methane gas, which contributes to global warming. Composting is an obvious solution, and it’s not hard. Not only can you compost last night’s Chinese takeout and this morning’s egg shells, you can also compost unexpected items like latex condoms and receipts. For reals. Find out more here.
8. Avoid Dishpan Hands. Petroleum-based liquid soaps and dish detergents, which aren’t biodegradable, are harmful to us, our animals and our planet. They may disappear down your drain, but they will never decompose. They’re also hard on our skin, which is why you often end up with so-called dishpan hands. Choose plant-based soaps instead, which are gentle on your skin and the environment. We like the brands Life Tree, Method, and Seventh Generation, which can be found in just about any grocery store and are reasonably priced.
9. Clean With Cloth. Buy pretty cloth dishtowels and napkins. Use them in place of paper products, because it’s really nice that trees exist. On the (hopefully) rare occasion when you’re convinced you just have to buy paper towels or napkins, buy the ones that are unbleached and made from recycled materials.
10. Saving the Easiest for Last. Turn off your oven, stove and faucet as soon as you can; it takes a tiny two seconds. Do this first, and then you can go right back to chopping, dicing, or plating your meal, with no harm done.
Photo courtesy of gojeffrey/Creative Commons via flickr
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