The Kitchen is the room in the house that will see the most use, even in households with erratic dining habits. The kitchen is a great spot to gather at a party, sit and do homework or enjoy a mug of robust morning brew.
With this in mind, implementing sustainable habits in the kitchen is a great place to begin transforming your home into an eco-friendly habitat. Perhaps you are an experienced hand at recycling or only now discovering the importance of sustainability, either way the following tips and pointers will help streamline your kitchen and make it more conducive to healthy “green” living.
- Do You Compost?
Many people assume that composting is a tedious task, but really it’s not as complicated as all that. Furthermore, composting can significantly reduce the carbon footprint left by your household. Begin by understanding the differences between what is compostable and what is not. Fruit and vegetable waste can be composted, dairy products cannot.
There are many resources online with extensive lists that illustrate the differences. The next thing that you will need is a pail to collect kitchen waste and a bucket outside to carry out the composting process. As the kitchen pail fills with old food it can be emptied into the outdoor bucket.
There are also compost buckets designed to facilitate this process.
- Consider the Lighting
Kitchens are in need of ample lighting, in a perfect world this would be done naturally, but most of us rely on electrical appliances for cooking, washing and studying around the kitchen bar. Economize by turning off appliances that are not being used and encouraging the other house residents to follow suit.
You can also exchange your energy guzzling bulbs with LED options that can slash the cost of your energy expenses suggests Daniel Beadle of kitchenwarehouseltd.com
- Follow the Energy Star
You have probably seen the “Energy Star” displayed on certain kitchen appliances, but what does this label indicate? The Energy Star is a symbol of distinction awarded by the US Dept. of Energy to manufacturers whose products have been measured and found to reduce the amounts of energy consumption.
A good step in kitchen sustainability would be to invest in these energy saving appliances, especially on the big consumers like refrigerators, deep freeze units and dryers. But Energy Star appliances can be found to replace energy consuming, televisions, monitors, vacuums and even light bulbs.
- Use the Eco-Friendly Dishwasher
The debate over “Machine-Washing” or “Hand-Washing” has been in process for a long time and there may soon be an end in sight. Some studies have proven that there may be a more eco-efficient way of cleaning the dishes.
According to researchers who published an article in the International Journal of Consumer Studies, the average home will use excesses of 140 lt. per day would be used by washing dishes by hand. On the other hand, the average dishwasher will use as much as 13 lt. per wash cycles. Unless you wash more than 10 dishwasher cycles per day, the dishwasher may be the more efficient option.
Hand washing also uses 3.5 kWh and a dishwasher only uses .13 kWh to perform the same task, so do the math; the dishwasher is not the enemy. Actually, you will save a bundle of time, water and effort if you employ and Energy Star dishwasher.
- 5. Use Sustainable Materials
If you want your kitchen to have a sustainable theme running from top to bottom you will want to begin with the materials featured in its eco-construction. This can begin with selecting kitchen furniture, counters and cupboards made of reclaimed wood, and this will reduce the carbon footprint.
Another, way to include the “green” choice is in flooring options. Wood laminate is one such option that can provide an attractive appeal to your kitchen’s appearance. Consult your contractor about making your kitchen a bit greener and see how else you can find sustainable materials for your project. Use eco-friendly cleaning materials for a safe kitchen and a clean environment.
- Use a low-VOC paint
Use paints that are low in VOC, or volatile organic compounds. VOCs are compounds found in a variety of solids and liquids that can convert into a vapour at room temperature.
VOCs have been linked to a large number of health conditions from asthma to chronic headaches, they have also been found to promote respiratory problems and even cancers. US EPA has set the legal limit of VOCs at 250 grams for every liter of paint. You can find paints with significantly lower levels of VOCs in the paint, this will promote better health and is better for the environment.
Cultures across the world all regard the kitchen as the heart of the home — it’s certainly the go to place when you’re feeling hungry. If you hope to initiate a sustainable revolution in your home, the kitchen is the best place to start.