Our Top 5 Ways to be Sustainable in the Kitchen
No matter the shape, size, or style, the kitchen tends to be the most utilized room in the house. From families enjoying a shared meal to friends gathering after a long week to unwind with wine, the kitchen is an important foundational room in all of our lives. But it can also be even bigger than that. Paired with smart decision making skills and small changes, our role in the kitchen can also have a huge impact in reducing overall landfill waste and creating a more sustainable future for all. Follow these simple guidelines to help become greener in the kitchen- our planet and your wallet will thank you.
1. Reduce Food Waste
We’ve previously mentioned how most food we buy ends up in the trash and how simple methods like using your freezer are great to prolong your food's life and reduce overall waste. Another solution takes a bit of planning ahead, but trust us... it will make a load of difference in our planet’s well being as well as in your budget. Before shopping for the next round of perishables like fresh fruit and vegetables, make a menu of the dishes you’ll be making that week. By planning on buying only what you need, you will be reducing the chance of throwing out perfectly good items due to over purchasing. Our rule of thumb is to buy what you need and use what you buy.
2. Proper Storage
There are certain items that are better bought in bulk, like our all natural poultry, beef, and pork products. By storing them in your freezer, you’re ensuring high quality meats for future meals. This same rule can apply when shopping for non-perishables, too! When shopping in the grocery store, hit up the bulk section for flours, grains, and nuts and store them in non-porous containers like reusable glass jars. This type of sealed, safe environment is perfect for dry goods and will prevent future spoilage, leading to a longer shelf life. For more fragile produce like herbs, store them in a reusable container with a damp cloth in your refrigerator to ensure they’ll be tasty and fresh for your future dinners.
3. Use Entirely
How many times have you thrown away potato skins, onion peels, or garlic bits, leading to a stinky garbage the next day? Save your daily scraps and store them in your freezer in a sealable glass container, like Pyrex, until you have roughly a few quarts worth. Add to water, bring to a boil, and simmer for an hour to have delicious homemade vegetable broth for future meals. Same rule applies for bones, too! Clean them by storing all of the meat in a container for future sandwiches, salads, or dinners and then roast the bones at 350°F for about an hour. Add to a pot of water, bring to a boil, and simmer to have bone broth for countless uses in about an hour! Other ways to reuse: coffee grounds make a great body and hand exfoliant, you can use unwanted leafy green tops in a fresh pesto, roast pumpkin and squash seeds for a tasty snack- the options are endless!
4. Reduce Single Use Items
- Convenience is huge, but so is making smarter choices. Thankfully, there is a huge demand for sustainable products that are more durable, attractive, and nicer to use than their single-use counterparts making it a win-win! Swap paper towels for bamboo or reusable cloth towels. Bee wraps are easy to use in place of wasteful plastic wrap and they come in a multitude of styles and colors, meaning you can create a beautiful and sustainable kitchen that is uniquely yours. Cloth bags replace plastic produce bags that you’d find in the grocery store, and with a quick rinse in the washing machine, become long lasting for years.
5. Invest in High Quality Cookware and Efficient Appliances
- Not only do higher quality products tend to last longer, meaning they won’t end up in a landfill in a few years, but they also tend to produce more evenly cooked meals and dishes. Though there may be a larger initial investment, stainless steel and cast iron pots and pans can last generations leading to a much greener footprint. Choose high quality knives that will last you years and learn how to sharpen them regularly to ensure quality cuts. Even something as small as a choosing sturdier utensils instead of cheap wooden spoons that can rot or plastic spatulas that can melt will have a long lasting impact on our planet's health. Smart devices and energy saving appliances also make our homes more efficient, leading to lower monthly costs and less energy used. Look for the Energy Star logo on our appliances to feel secure in your purchasing decisions.
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