The kitchen is one site we use the most- after all, we eat three scrumplicious meals in a day! It is also the place which inevitably ends up being the most expensive to handle and maintain, not to mention using up a lot of precious energy and it is pretty hard on the environment, considering the kind of products we usually use to set it up. Wood for the doors, windows, shelves, etc, granite for the kitchen counters and slabs, conventional LPG gas for cooking, plastic bottles and boxes for storage, microwave oven, tiled and marbled floors and walls! Our kitchens are full of items that are pretty harsh for our planet, but the good news is, this can be rectified!
Eco friendly products have a reputation of being expensive, tough to use and difficult to procure. However, on the contrary, a lot of things that we can replace in the kitchen with their eco friendly counterparts are widely available and much-used items. Simple things like separating degradable and non-degradable waste in separate trash cans, buying fresh veggies and fruits instead of fancy ones packed in plastic, using paper bags to carry groceries, being careful of how much gas you are using… these are easy steps which can be taken by everyone, which will make an overall difference in the conditions of the kitchen usage and waste generated. Even things like purchasing in bulk with a little pre-planning, so that less packaging is required, goes a long way in doing a small bit for the environment. Even if you are not overly concerned about the environment, as contrary to popular belief, going green is in fact a cheaper option, so buying or using things that are more expensive for both you as well as the planet… it doesn’t make any sense!
Apart from the absolutely basic options, there are several things we can do to make our kitchens feasible according to environmental needs. Using icestone for the countertops; which is a mix of recycled glass and concrete, or quartz, or even recycled paper or kemp, which are easy to clean and are quite smooth… or even scrap wood. These make excellent choices for the kitchen tables and slabs. Even recycled stone chipped countertops are great for an alternative choice. Using the age old bamboo has come back into fashion, owing to its excellent durability; it makes for good chopping boards or cupboard shelves or backsplashes, or even for flooring- to give it a nice, vintage, and GREEN look! Using formaldehyde-free units like wheatboard straw or recycled wood also make great shelves and cabinets. Usage of fluorescent lights instead of ordinary ones can cut down on energy usage… in fact; it cuts down up to fifty percent on the bills!
Using convectional ovens is recommended due to its ability to heat food around 25% faster than normal ones. Also, they use heat fans to drive the heat to the food, thus being faster and more efficient, not to mention saving out on the electric bill. Instead of using the chemical cleaning agents available in the marketplace for cleaning counters and windows or the fridge, mix of four tablespoons of baking soda per one quart of warm water… this makes the best cleanser; naturally! Installing a foot-pedal in the sink is also a great option, which is not only more sanitary since it is hands free, but saves water as well. Although most people tend to prefer gas as to electric cooktops, even then, lower the BTU output, the more energy-efficient your stove will be. However, induction cooktops make a great option, since they use electromagnetic waves to transmit the energy directly to the food, leaving the rest of the appliance quite cool, which uses 50% less energy than conventional objects. Cooking more than one item at a time on the ovens saves out on energy, plus makes your work quicker and more efficient as well.
Using eco-friendly materials as window curtains and cleaning cloths are a great way to reduce our burden on the environment, because these are items that are regularly used and discarded, so if it is made a of a bio-degradable cloth it will confer a great environmental advantage. Cork is one great material that can be used in the kitchen, since it is resistant to fungal growth, is sound-absorbing and hypoallergenic. Using chest-freezers, which are the conventional horizontal ones, are way more efficient than the modern vertical ones, since cold air is not released out immediately as the door is opened. Of course, using solar power panels to light up the kitchen and provide the required energy for running the appliances is an ideal option, but the initial setting-up cost is quite steep. Also, using energy-efficient appliances, preferably without a Teflon coating is an upcoming way to go green.
Choosing a non-toxic, low VOC paint is not only healthier for you at nearly the same price, but is a thumbs up for atmospheric safety. Basically, going green and using environment friendly techniques and appliances is not a tough or overbearing task; it is merely one step towards leaving a cleaner and greener planet for the upcoming generations, not to mention giving ourselves better and modern facilities, along with a sense of satisfaction too!