How to reduce your ecological footprint from the comfort of your own kitchen
Think your home is eco-friendly? It could be time to look again. Here’s some top tips for an eco-friendly kitchen.
Switch it off
It might sound simple but, when you have finished using an appliance, turn it off and remove the socket from the wall to save energy. Even items that have a standby setting will still use power. Standby power is commonly dubbed ‘phantom’ or ‘vampire’ energy. The only way to avoid this is to completely cut the supply. Although it may not seem like this will save a significant amount of energy, over time it will all add up, and help to save a little extra cash, too. Likewise, if you’re using appliances which require batteries, make sure they’re rechargeable.
Saving water can not only help reduce your monthly bills, but it’s also a small way you can help to save the planet. Ensuring that taps are turned completely off once you’ve finished using them and only turning the dishwasher on once it’s fully loaded is a great place to start. You can also affix a water-saving tap aerator, and upgrade your washing machine to the most energy efficient A+++ rating. Only start a cycle once the drum is full.
Cut the plastic
Next time you want to kit out your kitchen with new utensils, avoid plastic and opt for more sustainable materials, such as bamboo, stainless steel and glass. These can also be more resilient to everyday actions, such as chopping and heating, while also looking good and being long-lasting. Make sure the material you do choose can be recycled or is biodegradable, so they won’t contribute to landfill waste once you’ve finished with them.
Got leftovers? Don’t bin them. Store extra food in Tupperware containers and save it for a later date. Food which is nearing its use-by-date should also be frozen to ensure it remains fresh until it’s needed, as freezing delays spoilage and prevents microorganisms from growing — for best results freeze on the day of purchase. Also, if you’re organised enough to meal prep, cook and freeze a large batch of meals in advance. Eat them when required to reduce waste and last-minute lunch panic.
Natural, eco-friendly cleaning products can offer a whole host of benefits. They don’t pollute the environment or spread nasty chemicals which can harm your health. Most environmentally-conscious cleaning companies use sustainable, naturally derived ingredients which are non-toxic, biodegradable and safer to use. Or, try making your own cleaning products at home, with ingredients such as lemon, vinegar and bicarbonate of soda.
Bin it right
Although it is incredibly hard to run a zero-waste kitchen, we can lower our ecological footprint by setting food aside to compost, and by separating our rubbish and recycling. Organising separate bins is an easy way to do so, for example, allocating bins for waste, glass and plastic. Also, be mindful of what you can reuse — for example, yoghurt pots can be a great way to store small amounts of food in the fridge, and takeaway containers make convenient lunch boxes.