Following with my Green Series, here are some tips to start transitioning to an environmental friendly kitchen.
Cleaners & Paper
As I mentioned in my post about green tips for your bathroom, I recommend using more natural cleaners. I make my own cleaning spray using vinegar, water, and soap. I also use baking soda and vinegar to clean my kitchen sink or my vitamix after many green smoothies which usually leave a “yellowish” coat on my vitamix. I avoid using paper towels to clean; instead I have a nice supply of organic cotton kitchen towels that I purchased at Target for a reasonable price. I don’t purchase paper napkins either, instead I use the small kitchen towel or cloth napkins when I have guests over. I love using cloth/cotton towels because they are reusable and very inexpensive in the long run.
One of my favorite things I do everyday is saving my kitchen scraps for my compost. Not only I avoid creating more trash, but also I use vegetable scraps for my compost which eventually go to my edible garden. In fact, since we started composting, our weekly trash is about a 3 gallon bag! Mainly the trash I have left over is the corn cups I get from Josh’s Organic Garden from my daily juice because most of the rest is recycle paper or some (very minimal) plastic containers. This is one of the biggest advantages of being a raw foodist, there is very little trash if you compost.
However, if you are still eating microwavable food and take out, please look for recycle containers and avoid using new plastic containers when you order food. Bring your own containers so that you can avoid making more trash. For more information on composting, there is tons of sites that are very easy to use. Also, for trash bags, I recommend bags made of corn that will biodegrade instead of your regular plastic bags that will outlive humanity.
Yes, food is a way to green your kitchen! Buy organic food and hopefully from local growers. Buy more vegetables and fruits instead of pre-packaged foods that create trash and are not healthy for you. See it all leads to being healthy… yeah you catch my drift now. I write a lot about this, so here are some posts on food and environment.
Also, start buying organic herbs and seasonings, star transitioning everything in your pantry to healthier organic foods. For example, if you eat tons of pepper, next time you run out, purchase an organic pepper (most likely) in a reusable container that you can later refill. You don’t have to invest tons of money all at once on switching to healthier foods if you start slowly as they run out.
Energy & Kitchen Appliances
Using the same principle in replacing your food, start replacing your appliances to energy saving ones or better yet, get rid of them. Starting with the microwave! Are you still using it? I mean really? Get rid of it instead of replacing it, and if you still need something to heat up snacks and food, get a small toaster oven. In addition, consider using your regular oven less times a week or use it more efficiently; for example, prepare 3 or more meals that you can save for later days all at once.
Change the settings in your refrigerator to a lower temperature. Most times they are set too high when you don’t use most of the space. Unplug your appliances when not using them everyday. I have two surge protectors where all my appliances are plugged and before I leave for work, I turn the surge protectors off that way I don’t have to unplug each appliance. Avoid using the dishwasher if you have one, and please don’t tell me you do cause I’ll cry!
One of the biggest (my top 5) advantages of being a raw foodist is that our energy bill decreased immensely since we stopped using our stove, and now in our new apartment, we don’t even have a stove!
Utensils & Kitchen Containers
Avoid buying plastic; please really, I mean it! Plastic is the worst thing ever! It’s made of oil and can’t be recycled most of the times. So no more Glad, instead buy glass and bamboo for your utensils. Again, you don’t have to give away all 100 Tupperware pieces you have (that don’t even match anymore) all at once, but as things get lost (and wind up in the ocean), replace them for more environmental friendly choices like glass and bamboo. Unless you really want to get rid of it all after reading this very inspiring post, but please don’t throw it away (there is really no throwing away, it means burying in and hoping it will decompose after 200 years), so donate it to a poor college student, goodwill, or a relative. You can post it in FreeCycle.org and someone will take it.
Ok so those are more than 5 tips for sure, but hopefully one will stay with you today and forever! If you have other “Green Kitchen” tips, please share them with us.