10 Easy Ways to Green Your Kitchen (And Save Money Doing It!)

10 Easy Ways to Green Your Kitchen (And Save Money Doing It!)
The Earth everybody’s concerned about it. After all, it’s the planet we live on and even though we could probably get to Mars or Venus if we really tried, they do not seem nearly as nice. Since we’re stuck here, we may as well try to keep the place relatively clean, which historically we’ve had kind of a mixed record on. Environmental issues can seem so big and intractable that they feel hard for one person to address. But there’s actually quite a bit each of us can do to help the environment, starting in our kitchens. And, as luck would have it, conserving the earth can also be a great way to save a little cash too! Here are ten easy ways to green your kitchen and save a little money in the process.

  • Waste Less Food 1 of 10
    Waste Less Food
    Some estimates of how much food gets wasted run as high as one third! That's a lot of resources, and money, being thrown right in the trash. By planning, using leftovers wisely, and keeping an eye on what's in your pantry and needs to be eaten, you can make sure that the energy being used to grow and deliver your food is being put to good use.
    Image: Nachoman-au
  • Use Non-Toxic Cleaners 2 of 10
    Use Non-Toxic Cleaners
    One of the easiest ways to green your kitchen is to ditch harsh, often poisonous, chemical cleaners. Non-toxic, common ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, or lemons can be powerful disinfecting and cleaning agents.
    Learn more about cleaning with common kitchen ingredients
  • Try Going Local 3 of 10
    Try Going Local
    Locally-produced ingredients have less distance to travel, meaning these foods tend to focus on flavor and not heartiness. Buying local foods in season can also be surprisingly cost-effective, especially if you join a local CSA, community supported agriculture, where you can share in the bounty of the harvest. Look for deals at the markets by speaking with farmers and asking about bargains or buying in bulk.
Learn more about community supported agriculture
  • Ditch the Plastic 4 of 10
    Ditch the Plastic
    Especially if we use them under extreme temperatures, plastic containers can leach dangerous contaminants into our foods. From sippy cups to leftover storage, look for longer-lasting glass or stainless steel options instead.
Image: Elke Wetzig
  • Go Meatless 5 of 10
    Go Meatless
    The meat industry is responsible for about a fifth of greenhouse gas emissions, so reducing the amount you eat, even if it's just for one day a week, can make a big impact on your household contribution to global climate change.
    5 small steps you can take to help end hunger with Oxfam GROW
    Image: Jon Sullivan
  • Reuse Storage Bags 6 of 10
    Reuse Storage Bags
    One place plastic can make sense in your kitchen is with reusable plastic storage bags -- they are a great way to reduce food waste by making it easy to see what produce you have in your fridge. They can also be washed and reused, making them a thrifty and environmentally-conscious choice. If you'd like to banish the plastic altogether, look for reusable, washable cloth produce bags.
    The simple way to wash and reuse plastic bags
  • Know When to Buy Organic 7 of 10
    Know When to Buy Organic
    Grown without pesticides or artificial fertilizers, organic food reduces the amount of chemicals that run off and enter the water supply. Organics can also be a good way to limit your family's exposure to pesticides. It might not always be feasible to buy organic on your family's budget, but some conventional produce is worse than others. Familiarize yourself with the products that are most important to buy organic for your family's health and the environment.
    More on the 2012 Dirty Dozen and the Clean Fifteen
Image: USDA
  • Compost 8 of 10
    Why pay for fertilizer when you can make your own? Rich compost is great for plants, and your everyday kitchen scraps can be turned into garden gold. Even a small outdoor space is enough to make the most of your food waste.
    Learn the composting basics
    Image: Kessner Photography
  • Make the Most of Ingredients 9 of 10
    Make the Most of Ingredients
    Lots of ingredients can be transformed into second meals. For instance, we like to roast whole chickens and then use the back and wings for hearty chicken stock--one chicken, two meals!
    Make your own chicken stock
  • Opt for Cloth 10 of 10
    Opt for Cloth
    Whether you're using dishcloths or cloth napkins, reusable fabrics can save you money and dramatically reduce waste in the kitchen.

Image: Knitted Dishrags

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