Is your kitchen eco-friendly? One of the biggest misconceptions in the “go green” movement is that being ecologically conscious is expensive and difficult, and this couldn’t be further from the truth. There are many simple ways to go green and make a positive impact on the environment, your health, and your energy bill. Read below to find five easy ways to go green in the most used rooms in your house, the kitchen.
One of the easiest ways to go green in the kitchen is to switch your cleaning products to non-toxic, plant-based products. When choosing a natural cleaner don’t be mislead by packaging that says “natural” and “green,” look for the Green Seal or EcoLogo certification to ensure that the product you are looking at is indeed a natural cleaning product. Both of those labels come from third party certification services which only give out these labels to products that have passed testing and evaluations. Another easy way is to switch to making your own cleaning products. There are many great sources for inexpensive and effective homemade cleaning agents.
Change Your Lightbulbs
By switching to compact fluorescent lighting (CFLs) or light-emitting diodes (LEDs) you will not make your kitchen more eco-friendly, but you will also save money on your energy bill. These energy efficient lightbulbs fit in standard lighting sockets and produce less heat than traditional bulbs, thus conserving energy and saving you money.
When shopping for new kitchen appliances, look for ones with the Energy Star symbol. The Energy Star certification program was created by the Environmental Protection Agency to help identify energy efficient products. Most appliances with the Energy Star symbol are 10-20% more energy efficient. Check with your local government agency about tax refunds when upgrading your appliances.
Add A Recycling & Compost Bin
Make recycling easy and convenient by adding a recycling bin in your kitchen. A great place to store the recycling bin is under your sink so that it is hidden away but easily accessible. Others find that having their receptacle in the open (inside the pantry or next to the countertop) encourages everyone in the family to sort and recycle. Composting is another great way to have an eco-friendly kitchen. Set a large bowl on your counter when you prep and cook meals – toss all vegetable scraps and peels in the bowl as you prepare (don’t throw meat in this pile). When you’re done, empty the bowl into your larger compost bin. Some cities offer a compost pick-up program, in other cases you may want to invest in a large, outside compost bin. You’ll be amazed how much both of these practices will save in your garbage can!
Use Non-Toxic Paint
Next time you plan to paint your kitchen, choose a non-toxic paint. Non-toxic paints are free of volatile organic compounds, or VOCs, which are found in many standard paints and can be harmful to your health and the environment. As paint dries, toxins are slowly released into the air. Over time these toxins can pose problems for humans and pets and are especially dangerous just after painting indoors. Being that you spend lots of time in this room, making this switch can be a healthy step towards an eco-friendly kitchen.
Top image credit: Coop 15