If you want to start living in a more environment-friendly home, it’s best to start assessing which aspects of it need the most work. You can start by thinking about the rooms. Which rooms make the highest carbon footprint? The living room uses a lot of lighting and appliances, especially television. The bathroom doesn’t use much electricity but the water usage is staggering.
But if you really consider it, you’ll find that the kitchen makes the most environmental impact. It uses up a lot of energy and water. And most of our waste comes from it.
There are simple solutions that lead to a more sustainable lifestyle. You can buy bulk items. You can use solar panels. You can even buy teeth whitening gel with refillable tubes. The same goes for your kitchen. Here are the easy solutions that you can do.
Image by Rudy and Peter Skitterians
Think About the Energy Use
Because the refrigerator is one of the biggest appliances you could have in your house, its energy consumption is high. It can reach up to 13.7 percent of your home’s total electricity usage. Not using a refrigerator is not an option. So what you can do is make the most of it. Make sure that it’s full at all times so no energy goes to waste.
Your other appliances may not use as much energy. But that doesn’t mean they’re not concerning as well. Microwaves, in particular, are known for their high energy use. So try to limit your use of it as much as possible. Another appliance that you might use a lot is a coffee machine. You love your Nespresso machines. But we can still have good coffee without using electricity at all. You can opt for the French Press or the Chemex.
Improve Waste Management
As much as you want to, it’s impossible to eliminate the waste we make in the kitchen. So what you can do is limit it as much as possible. This means adjusting your shopping habits. You’ll have to start using mesh bags when you’re buying fresh produce. When you’re buying frozen products, you can store them in silicon bags. The important thing is that you’re avoiding plastic whenever you can.
The next thing that you’ll have to do is segregate your waste. Assign a trash bin for recyclables. Then assign another bin for non-recyclables. As for the biodegradable waste, you can start a composting system. You’ll need a container indoors where you can store your kitchen scraps. Then, at the end of the day, you can store these scraps in a compost bin outside. With the compost you’re creating, you’ll have rich humus that would be great for the soil on your lawn and garden.
But composting is not for everyone, especially if you live in the city and don’t have a lawn. What you can do is set aside your vegetable scraps or meat bones and use them later to make broth. You can also store them in your freezer during the week. Then, come the weekend, you can donate them to farmers’ market vendors, who will use them for their composting.
Organize with Upcycled Storage Materials
Nothing’s worse than having a chaotic kitchen. The spice cabinet alone is a nightmare if you can’t reach for your salt quickly while you’re cooking. You can upcycle some storage materials. Use jars that used to store your jam. You can also use tin cans that used to store cookies. To make them more visually appealing, you can just paint over them to have some uniformity.
You might also find it annoying when the pots and kitchen tools are all over the place. Using a pegboard is an easy solution for that. Hang it against your wall and use it to hang your pots and tools. You can also paint over the pegboard for aesthetic purposes.
The kitchen leaves a lot of carbon footprint. It uses a lot of energy because of the lighting and appliances. The refrigerator and microwave alone contribute so much to the high numbers on your electric bill. It also uses a lot of water for the cooking and the washing of dishes. Greenhouse gases waft in the air because of our cooking over open fires or stoves that don’t work properly. But the biggest impact that a kitchen makes–that no other room in the house could compete on–is the waste. We waste so much food from leftovers to carcasses. Add to that the packaging of such foods.
But after knowing about these simple solutions, we won’t have to worry much anymore about its environmental impact.