For people who are looking to lower their carbon footprint, the kitchen is the place to start. Whether that’s going vegetarian or going no-waste, making even the smallest changes to your everyday habits will make a difference. A difference that will not only improve your carbon footprint, but will improve your kitchen and your health too!
If you’ve got some empty garden space, whether it’s a whole vegetable patch or a small plant pot in your kitchen, it’s definitely worthwhile putting them to use. There are a number of different ways growing your own produce reduces your carbon footprint and it starts from when you plant the first seed.
Plants and trees are natural cleaners for the Earth. From the air they take carbon dioxide and expel oxygen, and from the Earth they absorb any nasty chemicals and metals. In turn this helps both clear the air and soil you use in your home, making a healthier environment all round!
Composting is another fab way to stop waste and recycle it back into your garden. Whether you have a massive tub in the garden or a small bucket on your kitchen side, composting will reduce the amount of waste going to the rubbish heap and reduce the need for chemical fertilisers. And if you’ve got a little garden going too, using your own compost will improve the soil structure and the yield you get from your garden.
Energy Efficient Appliances
When you’re redoing your kitchen, its super easy to get caught up in all the colours and fancy new features of your appliances. But if you’re wanting to make your kitchen eco-friendly, put the energy efficiency rating in your mind first. It’s simple, the higher the energy efficiency, the less harmful gases it releases into the atmosphere. And with energy efficiency ratings getting better, it’s easier than ever to make your kitchen more eco-friendly!
Opting for an induction hob will also help reduce your carbon footprint. All the energy created from an induction hob is directed straight into the pans themselves, rather than heating up the air around it. It’ll keep your kitchen cooler and there’s even a few models that will automatically switch off when there is no pan to heat detected. You may have to get a new set of induction pans, but it’s certainly going to save you money and energy in the long run.
Similarly, choosing the right dishwasher will help you in your journey for a sustainable kitchen. Using a dishwasher on a full load of 12 place settings will use 3-4 times less water than handwashing the same amount. This will save you money on your water bill and reduce the amount of waste going directly into the water system. To maximise the benefits of using a dishwasher, go for a model with a long life, such as this Siemens Freestanding Dishwasher.
Cook From Scratch
How you cook your food is down to preference. We all love a fresh pizza, but sometimes a frozen one can be just as quick and indulgent. There’s arguments on both sides on which is more eco-friendly…
Firstly, frozen foods can be seen as less harmful to the environment due to their pre-production process. The nutritional value of food is locked in earlier due to the early freezing process, and less pesticides are used in the food’s cultivation (less damage to the Earth around it!). Also, frozen food is shipped more often than fresh, due to it’s compact packaging and long-shelf life. With a fraction less fuel use, frozen comes out on top in comparison to fresh when it comes to distribution.
On the other hand, frozen foods have a tonne more packaging and lots of unknown additives! Pre-packaged, frozen foods contributes more to the waste around the world. A lot of the plastic films and wrappers are non-recyclable, easily making their way into the ocean and harming marine life. If you’re choosing locally sourced, plastic free foods, you’re environmental impact will reduce significantly. Less air pollution from travel, less plastic from global manufacturers and less uncertainties about the origins of your food!
Choose Your Cookware & Utensils Wisely
Plastic can take up to 1000 years to decompose. Therefore it’s always a wise choice to pick sustainable alternatives for your cookware & utensils. Whether you decide on bamboo straws or a whole new ceramic pan set, making that first step will improve your eco-friendly kitchen for years to come.
You may think non-stick pans are the best way forward, especially at such affordable prices. However, these pans can have an impact on your body and the environment. They aren’t recyclable, so it’s best to sell them on for re-use. If they get hotter than 300°C, the non-stick lining will break down and release chemicals (PFAs) into the air. These chemicals can persist in your body for years and are carcinogenics.
Stainless steel and cast-iron pans are known for being difficult. You have to constantly monitor if the foods sticking and clean-up requires a little bit of elbow grease! However, they’re known for being less toxic to food and are easily transferable from oven to hob. Although make sure to be wary of plastic or wooden handles before putting them in the oven!
Ceramic & enameled cast iron pots are certainly the most eco-friendly and reliable option. They’re non-stick, but don’t release any harmful chemicals. They’re easy to clean, but still work well in all cooking environments. And although they’re fairly expensive, you know you’ll be getting something that lasts a lifetime!
Open Your Appliances Less
Appliances such as ovens and freezers are designed to keep the hot and cold in, not out. That’s why they work hard to keep to the chosen temperature, even if the door is open. When you forget to shut the fridge properly, or open the oven to look at those tasty cookies, you’re letting precious energy escape into the atmosphere.
Only open your appliance if you really need to. Or, consider what features your appliances will come with. For example, lots of fridge freezers now feature a viewing window that means you can see whats in your fridge before even touching the handle. Similarly, smart ovens such as this Neff model allow for more accurate cooking times and temperatures. Automatic programmes let you know exactly how long to cook your chosen food for, and the MultiPoint Meat Probe will eliminate any guess work as to whether your food is done or not. This means less time opening and closing the oven, and more time with family and friends!
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Recycle, Recycle & Recycle Again
Although you’ve heard it all before, reduce, reuse and recycle is still an important motto to go buy. Your actions in the kitchen could have potentially harmful impacts further down the line, so why not make a few more environmentally choices in the kitchen? A cast-iron pan could last you years and reduce the need for unnecessary waste. Choosing a more energy efficient dishwasher could save you money and reduce water wastage. Planting some seeds early in the year could mean less trips to the supermarket for plastic covered food. All sound pretty straightforward? Then make a eco-friendly change today!