Going green in the kitchen
Green living is not a fad that will come and go as trends change. It's a lifestyle choice that has a beneficial effect on the environment, as well as on your health and your pocket.
The kitchen is often the room where you can make the most changes by adopting a green philosophy. This is because you have a variety of options when it comes to saving on energy, reducing waste and eating in a healthier way. It doesn't matter whether you are remodelling your kitchen, or simply want to make use of what you have in a more environmentally friendly way, there are plenty of ways in which you can go green.
Why go green in the kitchen?
Let's start be looking at why going green is a good idea. The fact is that adopting a green attitude to the way you furnish your kitchen, and to the way you cook in it, can have several benefits, for yourself and the environment. In an article on Livestrong, Rebecca Lake discusses some of the benefits of adopting a green lifestyle, including the protection of natural resources such as fossil fuels and a reduction in the number of items that end up in landfill. Of course, going green isn't just about preserving the environment, it's also about saving money by reducing energy costs, and improving your health by eating fresh produce that's not packaged. Let's look at how all of this fits in with going green in the kitchen.
Thinking about food waste
According to the Food Standards Agency, 7 million tonnes of food is thrown away in the UK, each year. This costs an average of £470 per household. That's a huge waste of food and money. Wasting food means that you then head off to the shops to buy more, and often end up wasting some of that, as well as having to dispose of the packaging. It's important that you only buy the food that you need. There's no point opting for a two for the price of one deal on bags of apples if you end up not being able to eat them before they go bad.
If you happen to have leftovers, try getting creative in the kitchen and evolve them into another meal. For example – stew your excess vegetable trimmings to make a vegetable stock from scratch, dice your bread off-cuts to fry into croutons, or turn extra pasta and vegetables into a fuel-filled frittata (and so on!).
Growing your own produce
Everything you put into your body has an effect; either positive or negative. This is why it often makes sense to grow vegetables, fruit and other similar produce yourself. You know that the growing process has been natural and the food hasn't been subjected to bombardment by pesticides. Even if you don't have access to outside space, you could consider renting an allotment, or growing herbs on your window ledges. Any amount of fresh produce that you grow can have a positive effect on your health. If everyone started to grow produce themselves then industrial pesticide use should start to decrease!
Buying locally grown items
If you cannot grow your own produce, it's a good idea to buy items that have been grown locally. Doing so means that you can check whether they are grown free from pesticides and that green harvesting practices are used. It also means that you put money into the local economy, and help independent producers to survive in the face of opposition from large companies.
Image Credit: Stonehouse Kitchens
Making use of energy efficient appliances
If you're replacing an appliance, such as a dishwasher, check out the energy efficiency ratings on the model you're thinking of buying. It's worth taking time to do your research, as energy efficient appliances use less of the world's vital resources, and they help to reduce your household energy bills. It's also worth remembering that once you've purchased an energy efficient appliance you need to use it in the right way. There is no point having access to energy saving functionality if you never use it!
Using sustainable materials
Remodelling a kitchen always involves careful planning. As part of this planning process, consider which sustainable materials could be used. For instance, the growing and harvesting of bamboo is ecologically friendly, making it an often used sustainable material. You may also want to use re-cycled wood, stone and cement. Once you've decided on the type of sustainable material you want to use, you need to ensure that it's incorporated into the design of your remodelled kitchen. Doing so helps you to stay true to your green aspirations, while acquiring a modern and bright kitchen like the one pictured below.
Going green in the kitchen doesn't just involve one aspect of kitchen life. It should be an integral part of the way you design your kitchen and the way you use food. Remember that the earth's resources are scarce and should be used responsibly. Adopting a green attitude helps with this and can also protect your health and your finances.
Guest post by Ella Hendrix