In our kitchen, we have many devices which can be either quite energy-consuming or also energy-efficient. Moreover, the use of some materials like natural sustainable woods like bamboo is much better for our environment compared to plastic.
Depending on the types of devices and materials you currently use, there is plenty of room for improvements in order to make your kitchen eco-friendlier. In this article, several tips on how to make your kitchen more environmentally-friendly are examined.
Your dishwasher is one of the most energy-consuming household device in your kitchen. Depending on the model, it also uses plenty of water. The average dishwasher needs 6 gallons (22.7 liters) of water per cycle. However, the range is as wide as 3-8 gallons (11.4-30 liters) per cycle. The energy use usually ranges from 0.8 kWh to 1.6 kWh.
Many people think that washing your plates by hand is more eco-friendly compared to using a dishwasher. However, this is actually not true at all! Many people use much more water when cleaning their dishes per hand compared to using a dishwasher. Therefore, it makes sense for the majority of us to rely on dishwashers rather than on washing by hand.
Thus, from these numbers, you can clearly see that there is plenty of energy and water saving potential from buying a power- and water-efficient dishwasher. Especially if you still use a quite old model, the savings in terms of water, energy and therefore also money can be huge by switching to a newer model.
However, when it comes to buying a new dishwasher, make sure that the parameters for energy and water consumption are on the lower end of the range so you can be sure that you significantly improve your ecological footprint.
If you are a coffee lover, make sure to use compostable coffee capsules rather than conventional ones since conventional capsules often contain metals and other precious resources. Moreover, make sure that your coffee machine supports the use of compostable coffee capsules. If not, you could consider switching to a version which does support the use of compostable capsules in order to improve your eco-footprint.
When we cook, we use plenty of energy. However, a big fraction of this energy is not even used for heating purposes, but will rather warm up the air around the pot since heating pots is quite inefficient in terms of energy use. A good alternative to conventional pots is the use of pressure cookers.
Pressure cookers need much lower amounts of energy for the same result since they preserve the steam inside the pot, while it is released to the outside when using conventional pots. Therefore, pressure cookers are usually much more energy-efficient.
You should consider buying one if you don’t already have one at home in order to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.
Apart from pressure cookers, there is another alternative to the use of conventional pots, called crock pot. It is often used when it comes to slow cooking of meals for many hours. One heated, crock pots preserve the heat for a quite long time, which makes them quite energy-efficient. If you are a fan of slow cooking, you could also consider switching to a crock pot instead of using conventional pots.
Depending on your preference and your cooking ability, both types of ovens have its upsides and downsides. However, while gas is a fossil fuel, electricity could be produced without significant emissions in the long run.
At least that’s the plan of the transition process to renewable energies. Thus, when thinking long-term, it could make sense to switch from a gas oven to an electric one to support the energy transition process to renewable energies.
If you are a quite open-minded person and do like to make some experiments, you could also consider switching to a solar oven if you have the space to do so. Solar ovens are extremely energy-efficient since they only need the energy of the sun in order to work. However, keep in mind that they only work if the sun is shining.
This also means that you might be stuck at rainy days if you do not have an alternative. However, as a complement to grills and conventional ovens, a solar oven can be a nice gadget to save energy from time to time.
Many people still use their oven to roast their toast. However, this is a big waste of energy. Instead of using your oven, get a toaster oven! It consumes far less energy with the same or even better results. Make sure that you buy a quality one and not a plastic model to further improve your ecological footprint.
In our current society, vertical freezers are much more common than chest freezers since they need less space. However, chest freezers are much more energy-efficient since they can preserve the cold air easier. Thus, if you have the space for a chest freezer, you should consider replacing your conventional freezer with a chest freezer to reduce your overall energy demand.
Leaky faucets can cause the waste of many thousands of gallons of water per year. Thus, make sure that whenever you see a faucet leaking, to fix it as soon as possible. If it is too old to fix it, you should consider buying a new one in order to save plenty of water and money over the course of many years.
The use of conventional plastic waste bags is a big source of plastic trash. Plastic trash has many adverse effects on our environment, including the pollution of our oceans and also speeding up global warming. Thus, it is crucial that you switch from plastic waste bags to biodegradable waste bags. By doing so, you can reduce the amount of plastic waste and therefore increase your ecological footprint.
Aluminum is a precious metal that may become quite scarce in the future. It is therefore important to save aluminum whenever possible. An easy way to reduce your aluminum consumption is to use recycled aluminum foil instead of conventional foil. By doing so, less aluminum is used in the production process which makes your consumption behavior more sustainable.
In many regions worldwide, especially in the Western world, we have many areas where the tap water quality is quite good and there is actually no need to buy bottled water. If you live in such a region with good water quality, you should refrain from buying bottled water and rather use tap water instead.
Not only will you save plastic trash, but also money since bottled water can be quite expensive over the course of the year. However, make sure to use a water filter when consuming tap water to filter out fine particles in order to make it healthier.
If you host a party, make sure that you use party plates and cutlery from biodegradable materials rather than plastic ones. Plastic pollution is one of our biggest environmental problems. You can easily contribute your part to mitigate the problem by using biodegradable cutlery and plates for one-time occasions instead.
Most of the cutting boards that are currently used are still made out of plastic. However, in our current age, it is quite unnecessary to use plastic boards. Instead, you should switch to bamboo cutting boards. Bamboo is quite sustainable since it grows fast and is also fully organic. Thus, you can improve your environmental footprint and can also improve your health since you are not exposed to fine plastic particles in your food anymore.
If you use paper towels in your kitchen, try to buy them from recycled materials rather than conventional ones. By doing so, you can save resources and make your behavior more eco-friendly. You could also consider to entirely avoid paper towels and rather wash your hands from time to time in order to improve your eco-footprint even further.
Sponges are often manufactured using plastic components. However, as we already know, plastic trash is a quite big problem for our environment. Thus, try to by sponges made out of recycled materials in order to reduce synthetic waste.
In order to make recycling more efficient, you should also make sure that you separate your waste properly. Only then will it be possible to recycle valuable metals and other materials. Since many of our natural resources will become quite scarce in the near future, everyone of us should take efforts to make recycling processes as efficient as possible to ensure a sustainable and livable future for the next generations.
If you love cooking like I do, you likely also use herbs quite often. However, instead of buying herbs in the store, you could also plant and grow your own herbs. By doing so, you could avoid packaging material from the store. Moreover, you would also be able to improve your connection to nature, which will likely enlarge your horizon. You are also likely to value and enjoy your herbs more when you know you have grown them by yourself.
Many of our conventional cleaning products contain plenty of chemicals, which can be quite harmful to our environment and in some cases also to our health. Thus, you should consider switching to organic cleaning products instead.
Since also the producers of conventional cleaning products realized that the preferences of people shift to a more organic lifestyle, many of them already also offer organic versions of their products.
Check out organic cleaning products in your local store or conveniently online to get a better impression of them.
You should also buy local food whenever possible and try to avoid food that has to be carried over quite long distances. Food from remote parts of our world also implies the transportation by ship or by plane, which in turn implies significant air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Thus, buy buying local food, you could mitigate these issues and improve your ecological footprint significantly.
In case you have some food leftovers and want to store them in the freezer, make sure to use reusable silicon bags instead of conventional plastic bags. Conventional plastic bags are often used just a single time and then disposed into the garbage after that. However, if you use silicon bags instead, you could reuse them many times and therefore significantly reduce plastic waste and improve your ecological footprint.
Although not that popular in many countries yet, French presses are a quite good alternative to conventional coffee machines since there are versions which are entirely made of metals instead of plastic. Thus, they are quite durable and can be used for a quite long time.
Moreover, the coffee making process does not involve high amounts of energy use. Therefore, using a French press instead or in conjuncture to a conventional coffee maker could be a good alternative.
Many people still use plastic bags when it comes to shopping. This behavior is quite harmful to our environment since it implies the production of large amounts of plastic waste. Part of this waste will end up in our oceans, where it hurts a variety of sea animals and plants.
Moreover, part of it is burned, which leads to enormous greenhouse gas emissions and contributes to global warming.
Thus, when going for groceries, make sure that you use reusable bags made of fabric in order to reduce plastic waste and therefore to improve your ecological footprint.
Many people just dispose their organic food trash into the garbage bin. However, organic waste is suitable for composting purposes. If you have a garden, a good idea would be to compost your organic waste. After the composting process is done, you have plenty of natural fertilizer which you can use for your plants instead of buying conventional chemical fertilizers.
Waste is a big environmental issue in general. Therefore, you should try to avoid waste in your kitchen whenever possible. For instance, you should only buy as much food as you can eat so that you do not produce unnecessary food waste.
If you want to store food and make it durable for a longer period of time, make sure to use glass containers instead of plastic one. Glass containers have several advantages.
First, they don’t contribute to the plastic waste issue.
Second, you can heat them to quite high temperatures and make your food durable for quite a long time.
Third, some plastic containers may release harmful substance into your food, while glass containers will not do so.
If you use a lunchbox for school or also for work, you should make sure that you buy one that is made out of metal instead of plastic in order to reduce plastic waste. Moreover, metal lunchboxes are usually much more durable and you will enjoy them for a much longer time.
Thus, you should invest a few more extra dollars to buy a quality lunchbox since it will pay off in the long run. Moreover, your body will also thank you for that, since metal boxes are usually associated with healthy storage of food much more than plastic boxes are.
If you use napkins, you should try to use napkins made from fabric instead of paper ones. Over time, the use of paper napkins will add up to significant levels of waste. By using fabric napkins, you can reduce this waste production since fabric napkins will be durable and usable for a quite long time.
Whenever you buy groceries, make sure that you buy unpackaged products instead of produced wrapped into plastic. Since many conventional food stores use large amounts of packaging materials, it may be a good idea to buy from organic food stores instead. By buying unpackaged food, you can vastly reduce waste production and therefore make your behavior more eco-friendly.
In order to save energy, it is crucial that you use LEDs instead of conventional light bulbs whenever possible. If you haven’t switched already, I highly recommend you to do so since LEDs can save a majority of energy compared to conventional lights. Thus, this easy step can save you plenty of energy and therefore also significant amounts of money in the long run.
Whenever you cook, make sure to do so in an eco-friendly manner. This means that if you use an electric stove, you should always try to use the heat efficiently.
For instance, if you know that you need your stove only for a few minutes more, you can simply already turn it off since it will keep the heat for this short period of time even when turned off.
By doing so, you can save a bit of energy, which may sum up to a significant amount of energy over the long run.
When it comes to buying decisions in order to make your kitchen more eco-friendly, always keep in mind to think long-term. You should compare the initial costs for switching from resource-consuming to resource-efficient devices over the lifetime of a product.
Even if this switch seems to be costly in the short term, most of the time, these costs are exceeded by the long-term benefits.
Moreover, apart from your benefits, you will also contribute to a better future for millions of people worldwide. I would regard this fact alone as priceless, wouldn’t you?!
There are many ways how you can make your kitchen more eco-friendly. Most of them are quite simple, others require a little bit more effort or money. However, your efforts will sure be worth it since you can improve your lifestyle and also the life of many people in poor countries.
If you are excited about changing your lifestyle to a more environmentally-friendly manner, do not refrain from telling your family or friends about it! You can make an even bigger positive impact by spreading your ideas and convince others about the importance of changing our daily life behavior.
About the author
My name is Andreas and my mission is to educate people of all ages about our environmental problems and how everyone can make a contribution to mitigate these issues.
As I went to university and got my Master's degree in Economics, I did plenty of research in the field of Development Economics.
After finishing university, I traveled around the world. From this time on, I wanted to make a contribution to ensure a livable future for the next generations in every part of our beautiful planet.
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