This guest post comes from our contributor FP Naomi.
In most homes the kitchen is a hub. It’s where we find our sustenance, where we come together, and where our lives occur. We want the foods that we put into our bodies to be safe, and we want our endeavors of love to have a positive impact on the environment. Nobody wants to serve a home cooked meal that unnecessarily kills trees, throws a bunch of things in the landfill, or ends up getting cleaned with chemicals. The kitchen is a place with a lot of traffic in, and a lot of traffic out. Beyond eating organic food, there are many steps you can take to keep it functioning in a healthy way. So today, I want to share some ideas on how to make this space of our homes a little bit greener.
Do Away With Paper
Paper towels, paper plates, cups, disposable silverware – get rid of it! You probably think I’m crazy, but I can tell you that I have none of the aforementioned items in my kitchen, and things are going just fine. To replace paper towel, pick up a pack of cleaning rags (like these), and wash them when they get dirty. In my kitchen we always have a stack of the clean ones in a cupboard, and a milk crate near the laundry to throw the dirty ones in. If something really messy happens, like say the puppy poops on the floor, purchase recycled paper towels. Use real plates, cups, and silverware as well. Even if you’re throwing them in the recycling after you use them, it’s better not to consume the resources that go into making the goods in the first place. It’s even better not to consume the resources that go into recycling them.
Be Smart With Containers
Don’t throw containers away; they have too many useful purposes! You know the ones that hot & sour soup comes in? They’ll soon be your best friends. Instead of using tin foil and plastic wrap to put away leftovers, throw them in one of these. Only wanted half of a pepper or a lemon for your dinner? Put the left over bits in a container and stick it in the fridge. Pack your lunch in an old container, grow sprouts in an old container, or store art supplies in them. Re-using what you have will limit your waste in ways you can’t even imagine.
Composting is the most environmentally friendly way to get rid of your food waste. When you throw scraps in the garbage everything ends up in a landfill where it will only produce methane (climate change’s worst enemy). Composting, on the other hand, produces lush natural fertilizer that your backyard and garden will love. If you live in an urban space and don’t have any need for fertilizer, many cities have a service that you can sign up for. Findacomposter.com is a great site to look one up in your area. A service will take your food scraps and make sure that the end product goes to good use. If you’re interested in starting to compost on your own, I highly suggest a worm bin. They produce the best compost out there. For either solution, below is a reference of what you can and cannot compost.
Use a Natural Surface Cleaner
Our food, our clean plates, our hands – everything! – touches the surfaces in our kitchen. It’s important to keep them clean, but it’s also vital to do so in a natural way. We’ll save our bodies from exposure to chemicals, and we’ll protect the earth from them as well. You can make a simple surface cleaner with vinegar & water, but I like to add tea tree and some essential oil as well (see my recipe here: homemade surface cleaner). For really stubborn stains, throw on some baking powder and scrub with water or lemon. I tend to use this most with the refrigerator or stove top. The smell is great, and you’ll feel much better about the healthiness of the space.
Do you have any tips to make your kitchen greener? Please share in the comments!
Check out Naomi’s blog Numie Abbot.
great tips! growing your own herbs and owning a smaller fridger are great and effective too!
I’ve been in the works of changing things in my apartment over to a greener environment. I’ve been currently looking for DIY or eco-friendly cleaning products for different surfaces, any suggestions?
Amazing tips! I defeinitely need to start getting back into composting!
Krystal | http://www.moorekrystal.wordpress.com
Love these tips! Well done, FP on encouraging sustainable living!
Great suggestions! So many of these ought to be no-brainers, like using rags and washing them instead of paper towels, but marketing for so many of these household products is really intense- and then the so-called “natural” companies totally get on the bandwagon too!
Melissa, I literally use that vinegar cleaner I mentioned in the post under “use a natural surface cleaner” all the time. It’s great and the bit of tea tree & lavender make it smell great. Baking soda & lemon can be very handy in house cleaning too!
Thank you ever so for you post.Really thank you!
Do people really use disposable plates, cutlery etc on a regular basis? I don’t think that tip sounds crazy, just common sense.
So happy to support your organization.
Thanks for the response, Naomi! I use the tea tree oil and lavender mist that was mentioned a few months ago for the yoga mat cleaner and love it! I’ll definitely give it a try for other surfaces! :)
Great post – it’s so important to be as ‘green’ as possible!
I absolutely love this post — these are some great ideas! Getting rid of paper is going to make such a huge difference for me; I go through so many paper towels washing up around the kitchen and I don’t know why I didn’t think to make the switch ages ago! Another tip I use: save any glassware (such as milk bottles) and use them to store filtered water from the tap instead of buying bottles, or store homemade juices. Also, if you make coffee using a French Press instead of a drip machine will cut out wasting those filters that need to be tossed every day; there’s also a steel filter you can get for your Chemex that’s reusable