If you’re looking to make your home a little greener, the kitchen may be the best place to start. Most families spend more time and use more resources, whether it’s food, waste, or energy, than in any other room in the house. But cooking and eating more sustainably can start with many easy fixes–like these five steps to make your kitchen eco-friendly and a little greener!
Making a kitchen compost cuts down on waste and garbage bills, and even helps fertilize the Earth–your own or the city’s. For small households, it can be as easy as finding a small tin or pail to store food scraps in, or you can buy specially-made pails and liners made to cut down on smells and make emptying easier. Then dump the accumulated waste into a bin and add some soil on top, and the decomposition will create a new healthy, nutritious fertilizer for your backyard. (For the best results, try emptying your tin every two or three days–any longer risks attracting fruit flies.)
If you don’t have a garden (or potted plants), check out this list of composting resources by city–yours may have a program you’ve never even heard of!
Step #2 to making your kitchen Eco-Friendly
Some reusable kitchenwares have become ubiquitous, like glass straws and cloth napkins, but there are even more eco-friendly alternatives to household tools you might not even think of as disposable. If you drink coffee daily, you can save countless paper filters with a reusable version. Rather than tinfoil or plastic wrap, try these clever beeswax food wraps for leftovers and lunches. At the sink, try washable cloth sponges and refillable soap containers to cut down on cleaning waste.
Step #3 to making your kitchen Eco-Friendly
You don’t need to buy all-new products to swap out disposable items in your kitchen–single-use storage bags and boxes can be recycled from washed-out food containers, and paper towels and dishcloths can be made from old t-shirts or towels. If you’re into crafting, you can turn anything into an art project, from wine corks to egg cartons. And if you can’t reuse or recycle something, there may still be a way to avoid the landfill–call a local thrift store or school district to see if they take donations for plastic bags, packing peanuts, rubber bands, and other junk-drawer items.
Step #4 to making your kitchen Eco-Friendly
Even if you live in an apartment or can’t plant in your yard, you can create your own mini-garden in the kitchen with a collection of windowsill herbs. Herbs need abundant sun and water, so as long as your windows face the sun, you can place your pots anywhere in single containers at least 6 inches deep, or, if you have room, longer troughs with multiple plants in one. You can start from seeds or buy pre-grown plants at a local nursery or grocery store, and use the herbs for cooking, seasoning, drying, cocktails, and more.
Alternative wood cabinets
Step #5 to making your kitchen Eco-Friendly
When looking for new eco-friendly appliances and features in your kitchen, your first thought may be low-energy ovens and LED lighting–but have you ever looked at the impact of your cabinet materials? If you’re interested in decreasing the amount of lumber in your home, Conestoga’s Decorative Laminate Veneer lines provide a composite alternative that mimics the look and feel of wood with a smaller forest footprint. The durable materials also last longer than traditional wood, meaning fewer replacements and remodels are necessary. The cabinet experts at Cabinetmaker’s Choice can walk you through all the wood alternatives available, and help you pick the perfect line for your Earth-friendly kitchen!