How to have a green kitchen
Being environmentally responsible is as easy as taking a few steps to recycle, save energy and reuse. Here are a few tips to turn the busiest room in your home into a green kitchen.
Consider environmentally friendly products when you design or update your kitchen. Natural stone for floors, counters and backsplashes is a green option because it is natural, renewable and easy to clean. Radiant heating, plumbing and electrical supplies can all be planned with green options as your first choice.
One of the first thing you can do is use waste-less grocery bags when doing your shopping. This will help save energy by eliminating useless plastic bags.
Recycling One of the easiest ways to have a green kitchen and help the environment is to recycle. Not only does it reduce the amount of waste your home produces, it has a great impact on the health of the planet. Recycling is easy to do. Simply designate three bins in your kitchen for collecting glass, paper and plastic products. Many municipalities provide recycling bins for this job and if not, they can be purchased from the local hardware or garden supply store.
One of the easiest ways to introduce recycling in your home is to purchase a kitchen-recycling center. These modified kitchen cabinets neatly conceal recycling bins and save space. Many come preassembled in a cabinet modeled after a Lazy Susan that has three separate bins (glass, paper and plastic) that rotate in a corner cabinet. Other styles include a cabinet that, like a drawer, pulls right out. Make sure that any jars or cans that you place in your recycling bins are clean. Plastic milk containers can be re-used twenty-five times so make sure to recycle these as well as liquid dishwashing bottles, cooking oil bottles and other plastic containers. Remove the screw top lids first.
Homemade cleaners Homemade cleaners are easy to make and are much healthier for your family as well as for the environment. Most cleaners that can be made at home contain the following five ingredients:
- White vinegar
- Baking soda
- Lemon juice
To make: All purpose cleaner – add 1 ½ cup of Borax, 2 tbsp lemon water and 1 cup of hot water together in a spray bottle and use it to clean countertops, appliances, table tops etc. Drain Opener – add 1- 1 ½ cups of vinegar, 2 tbsp baking soda and pour into the drain. Wait five minutes and then turn on the hot water to wash down debris. Glass Cleaner – add 1 part vinegar, 1 part alcohol, 1 part water and mix in a spray bottle. Use the mixture to clean glass and chrome.
If you do not have the time to make homemade cleaners, but still want to have a green kitchen, there are many environmentally safe cleaners available on the market that will help you turn your kitchen into a green kitchen.
Composting kitchen waste is one of the easiest ways to be environmentally friendly. A compost pile mimics nature, where organic wastes are broken down through a combination of biological and chemical processes. Biological agents like worms, insects, bacteria, fungi and other micro-organisms "chew up" waste, which is then further broken down by oxidation (exposure to air), reduction and hydrolysis (exposure to water).
Creating your own compost pile, or bin is simple. All you need is the right amount of water and air to keep the processes functioning, the right temperature (the warmer the better) and the right container. A compost unit can be purchased from the hardware or garden supply store, or you can build your own easily. Make sure you have a lid to protect your compost pile from the snow and rain and include holes for air circulation.
Add your organic material in layers no deeper than 15 cm and cover each layer of organic material with about 5 cm of ordinary garden soil. Garden soil contains microorganisms that will accelerate the breakdown process and will work to mask odors. Pour water on your pile until it is about as moist as a rung out hand towel. Turn the pile once a week to mix products and evenly expose them to the air.
Other ways to make your kitchen green
A green kitchen is easy to incorporate by making small, but beneficial changes. Consider using biodegradable bags in the trash and replacing old, energy-consuming appliances with newer more efficient ones. Locate work areas near windows to take advantage of natural light and install fluorescent light bulbs. Consider solar powered appliances to replace resource devouring kitchen tools. Use foods you have grown in your own garden and refrain from using paper plates and plastic utensils that add to the amount of waste leaving your home.
Following the above steps to create a green kitchen will ensure that you contribute both to the health and well-being of your family, as well as to that of the environment.