Sustainable Kitchen Ideas: 8 Steps to Green-novate Your Kitchen

Making your kitchen more sustainable will help you lower your utility bills while also becoming a true steward of the earth. Here are some sustainable kitchen ideas to get you started.

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sustainable kitchen ideas

There’s something comforting about doing things in the kitchen.

Besides cooking and eating, it is the best place to talk, entertain guests, and even do paper work or your kids’ homework.

The kitchen is the heart of the home and it is also the most hardworking. There’s always something going on in there.

Given that it is a major activity hub, it’s fitting to build and keep up a sustainable kitchen, one that truly works for you without straining energy resources.

When it comes to cutting down energy consumption, research by the U.S. Energy Information Administration revealed that appliances account for two-thirds of the energy consumed by the average home.

If changes will be made to a home’s energy efficiency, it makes sense to start with the kitchen because it is usually the most appliance-heavy room in the house. A single refrigerator alone uses almost 14% of a home’s  energy.

Sustainable kitchen ideas, ranging from efficient appliance use and food preparation to eliminating bad habits, are necessary if you want to cut down the bills and become a true steward of the earth at the same time.

You don’t need to be a genius eco-warrior to make a greener kitchen. It takes nothing more than regular common sense and a lot of commitment.

 

Sustainable Kitchen Ideas

Apply Energy Sense to Appliances

 

sustainable kitchen ideas - energy efficient applicances

Low temperature doesn’t always mean lower energy consumption.

An example is the refrigerator. Don’t set the temperature too low because for every degree below 38 degrees Fahrenheit, the unit consumes five percent more energy. Check the manual to find optimal temperature range. Also, clean the coils yearly for a more efficient fridge pan and move it away from the wall as well as the cooking range.

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Moving on to the dishwasher, run it only when full. Skip pre-rinsing as most dishwashers are powerful enough to remove food residue. Using the air dry setting also cuts down consumption.

Using the dishwasher is generally more energy-efficient than hand washing (unless we’re talking about just a single plate) especially when you follow these rules.

Of course, unplug any appliances with accessible power cords – like your coffee maker – when they’re not in use.

And lastly, reduce your carbon footprint by investing in Energy Star appliances with energy-saving features.

 

Clean With Conscience

clean with conscience

 

Pretend it’s only the beginning of the 19th century and all you have is baking soda, vinegar, and some lemon. You’ll do just fine because these are terrific cleaning agents.

Eco-friendly cleaning solutions remove stain, disinfect, eliminate smell, and make things shine. They are also more pocket-friendly compared to other cleaning chemicals.

Say goodbye to bleach, detergent, and harmful chemicals and hello to an earth-friendly kitchen. Check out these guides for ideas on cleaning with natural products.

 

Prepare With Eco-flair

sustainable cooking 1

 

If you are roasting or baking something that is not too strict, skip pre-heating as most ovens can come to temperature immediately, rendering pre-heating almost obsolete. Make wise use of the oven, too, by cooking more than one dish.

For small dishes, using the toaster oven or microwave can save energy by as much as 80%. Using pressure cookers, especially for meat, reduces cooking time. When cooking on a stove, make sure to use properly sized pans and pots so the heat is not wasted.

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Buy local produce and help reduce “food miles.” Buy in bulk and cook in bulk if you can. This means fewer trips to the grocery and more efficient use of appliance energy. Just make sure your family can consume everything. Or else, you’ll end up producing too much waste, which defeats the purpose.

The “raw food” culture is also growing so it’s nice to try something new like salads, chilled soup, and foods that need little preparation.

 

Green-novate With Design

a green kitchen

 

Go green with your kitchen design from the floor to the countertops.

Flooring like linoleum and cork are earth-friendly because they are made with renewable and biodegradable materials. They are highly durable but need regular maintenance.

Kitchen cabinets made from wood products are manufactured using sustainable forest management practices.

Cabinet boxes built with wheat or straw board mean they are produced from agricultural waste. Countertops become green when they are built using recycled content like paper and bamboo fiber and manufactured using eco-friendly processes.

 

Reduce With Compost

composting - sustainable kitchen ideas

 

Leftovers and food residues can be turned from waste to valuable soil by the process of composting.

There are compact composters you can use indoors if you do not have the luxury of a yard or garden. This is a good way to make good use of food scraps. This improves soil and reduces your use of fertilizer and water, even for just potted plants.

 

Greens in the Kitchen

Sustainable kitchen ideas - kitchen garden

 

Speaking of composting and potted plants, one of the sustainable kitchen ideas to make a greener kitchen is to put up a mini garden in your kitchen.

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Herbs and simple veggies are the best for the kitchen. Need basil? Just pick.

A garden in the kitchen will not only give you fresh and tasty produce, it also helps you to be healthier, fight stress, save money and of course, save the earth.

Don’t worry about tight spaces because there are several indoor garden ideas for small spaces. You can try vertical farming, grow them in a bed, or hang in mason jars.

 

Think Before You Throw

reuse

 

Before you throw anything, think hard if it can’t be recycled or repurposed. Kitchens produce the most waste at home and reducing it will mean a great deal.

If you throw out too much food waste, maybe you are buying (or cooking) too much.

 

Paper, Plastic, and Linen

 

sustainable kitchen ideas - Eco-friendly bags

Make sure you use paper and plastic products that are biodegradable or compostable.

If you can avoid plastic, even better. Other creative sustainable kitchen ideas: Cut down on linen. Ditch the table cloth, runner, or seat cushions to save water for washing.

 

Conclusion

Going green isn’t just fad. It is a reality. It might seem like making our homes sustainable will do nothing to solve such a global dilemma but when done together and consistently, we can make a difference.

The kitchen is a good place to start.

{This article has been updated for freshness and consistency.}

Kimberly Grimms is a futurist who spends most of her time monitoring social behavior in search for new consumer and trends. She writes about technology, homes, environment issues and trends of her interest. Follow her @kimberlygrimms

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