50% of global consumers view product sustainability as an important factor in purchasing decisions, and over one-third of them are willing to pay a higher price for something they know is better for the environment. As a result, eco-friendly commodities often cost more. You and your home can, however, help the planet even if you are on a budget. You can start with the kitchen because it is often the room that gets the most use.
Invest in Quality
Choose durable kitchenware and utensils. They may cost more initially, but they will last for a long time. In the long run, you save more money as compared to frequently buying replacements.
Stainless steel and cast-iron pans are popular green choices. New cookware options include ceramic, carbon steel, ceramic-coated aluminum and enameled cast iron. These are heavy-duty, safe for cooking and able to be used on most cooktops.
For utensils, go for reusable materials like silicone. They are safe, rubber-like, non-corrosive and hard-wearing. They can also come in different colors. Stainless steel, bamboo, wood and aluminum are other eco-friendly choices.
If new cookware feels pricey, scope out second-hand and vintage shops. Keep an eye on auctions and antique markets and watch marketplace listings on social media. Quality items last and people who invest in them usually take excellent care of them, so you’re likely to find used pots, pans and cookware that’s in good shape.
Be Energy Conscious
There is no need to buy new appliances when you have decided to make your kitchen green. Keep on using what you already have. You can be eco-friendly by keeping kitchen appliances energy-efficient. This means keeping them clean and unplugging them when not in use. You can also save energy by avoiding opening refrigerators and ovens unnecessarily.
The longer you leave the fridge or freezer door open, the more cold air escapes, of course, so organize your refrigerator and freezer to maximize energy efficiency. Keep the foods you reach for most on the doors or near the front (or up top, if you have a chest freezer).
Label all leftover containers clearly so no one in the family needs to search for what they want. Cool leftovers first before putting them in the fridge so they don’t heat the fridge interior up. Keep the air vents clear so the fridge can circulate air like it’s designed to.
When the need arises, then replace the appliance with a greener model. Gone are the days when Energy Star appliances cost more than their competitors, so you can buy a new appliance that will cut your utility costs in the long run without having to shell out extra money up front.
Make your own meals using fresh ingredients instead of ordering take-out or buying packaged food. Take-out containers are often made of plastic or some kind of styrofoam, both of which are energy-intensive to produce and difficult to recycle. Packaged foods also tend to come in plastics that are difficult to recycle, in addition to often being overpackaged.
You can get produce from a farmer’s market or join a community supported agriculture (CSA) group instead of buying organic at the grocery store. They are less expensive and you have a wider range of organic produce to pick from. In addition, farmer’s markets and CSA groups source their goods locally. A shorter distance for delivery means fewer carbon emissions.
Plant-based diets are much less carbon-intensive than diets that include meat, particularly when animals are factory-farmed. If you can cut down or eliminate meat from your diet, you’ll save money on your grocery bills and reduce your personal carbon footprint.
If you have leftovers, do not throw them away. You can create a new meal out of them or consume them again later. Instead of disposing of food scraps in the waste bin, collect them in a container and compost them.
The most important thing to remember in maintaining an eco-friendly kitchen is to think before you buy. If you still have it, use it. Do not buy new things just because they are environmentally friendly. Repurpose and recycle whenever you can. Buy something new only when needed. When you do need to make a purchase, then you can get eco-friendly and sustainable replacements. You will be saving money and contributing less to landfills.