Many of us are making the change to go green, and are living sustainable and responsibly for our environment and ourselves. By ditching the synthetic chemicals, foods with toxins, buying energy efficient appliances, recycling, solar energy, off grid and more, you can help.
But where do you start? It can be overwhelming to do everything all at once. If you try to do everything all at once, chances are you will meet some resistance or worse yet, mutiny from family members.
First, you should gather all of your family members together and explain your desire and reasons you need to make changes; ask for their input and ideas. Watch a documentary if you need help compelling them. The important thing is to start somewhere- before you know it, you will look back and wonder why you ever needed those things.
Much like cleaning, I like to tackle one room at a time so I compiled a list to help you go green in the kitchen with 20 easy steps.
#1 Go Paperless
- Use linen napkins (find cheap at second hand shops)
- Make cloth “paper” towels
- Click here to learn how to make Unpaper towels
- Buy bamboo paper towels
- If you need to use paper for nasty jobs, use old news paper- works great!
#2 Ditch the Non-Stick Pans
- Use Cast Iron, Stainless Steel, Enamel, or Copper to cook with
- Many non-stick pans are made with known carcinogens (chemicals that can cause cancer) and release toxic fumes when heated- something pans are designed to do. While several companies are replacing the old non-stick cookware with a newer, safer , non-stick coating, it is best to avoid them altogether. If seasoned properly, cast iron cookware is as easy to use as the chemically manufactured cookware. As an added bonus, it helps add iron to your diet! Read here on How to Season Cast Iron
#3 Compost, Compost, Compost
- Compost your kitchen scraps to help reduce the pollution in our landfills and to make all organic, nutrient rich compost for your garden
- Want to learn more about composting? Read this post I did earlier Composting, solving the worlds problems
- Percolate your coffee in a stainless steel coffeepot or use a French press.
- Waiting an extra ten minutes for your coffee to brew may seem like medieval torture at first, then you realize that you have been drinking a plastic cocktail every morning and it makes the wait worth while. The internal mechanics (where that morning goodness is brewed) of modern day coffee pots are made from plastic. Water goes in, heats to high temperatures, then flows that steaming hot water through more plastic and into your cup. The process of heating the plastic leaches chemicals in your coffee; remove this exposure by using stainless steel or glass for your morning brew.
#5 Use eco-friendly products
- Plastic Wrap- Replace plastic wrap with all-natural wax paper, all-natural parchment sheets, 100% Recycled Foil- chemical free
- Plastic leaches chemicals when it comes in contact with warm or hot food. Plastic is synthetic and manufactured with toxins.
- Learn how to make your own reusable, all natural plastic wrap by clicking here
- Forgo the plastic storage bags and use containers with lids.
- Here is a easy tutorial on how to make your own snack and sandwich bags, click here to learn how
#6 Ditch the Microwave
- It has been shown that microwaves decrease the nutritional value in food, they produce radiation, and cooking fast food in the microwave doesn’t allow the flavors to develop as in traditional cooking. If you have ever cooked chicken breast in the microwave, you know what I’m talking about. For more information about cooking with microwaves, read this article by Dr Mercola
- Heat your food in; the oven, on the stovetop, in a crockpot, or in a toaster oven
- We are a self-employed family of five with three children from college to toddler. Music lessons, art, doctors visits, homestead to run, volunteer work, you name it. When our microwave died six + years ago my first thought was “how are we going to survive without a microwave?”. Then we made the decision not to replace it due to the research we read about the possible health risk. Making the transition took a little getting used to, you won’t believe how many times in a day you push those buttons to zap things until you go without. Now, our food taste better, it is all hot and ready at the same time because we use the oven or stovetop, and I have peace of mind knowing we removed one more potential health hazard from our home.
- If you can’t bring yourself to make this step yet, make sure your microwave is less than five years old. Check for any damage to the window on your microwave,those little holes prevent radiation from leaking out into your home. When covering food, use cloth or bamboo paper towel instead of plastic.
#7 Save on Electricity
- Cook in the roaster or crockpot instead of the oven
- Replace your lighting with energy efficient lighting
- Use sunlight to your advantage
- Replace old appliances with energy efficient ones
- Unplug appliances when not in use
#8 Reduce water waste
- Grey water recycling.
- We use our gray water for irrigation, read more here on I Eat My Bathwater
- Use dishwasher vs. hand washing.
- Only run a dishwasher with a full load. Washing dishes by hand actually uses more water than a dishwasher
- Never let water run when not in use.
- While waiting for water to heat, save running water to water plants or use in water filter
- Soak Dishes with baked-on food to reduce washing time
#9 Use a Luffa , Cotton Cloth, or Twist Sponge to wash your dishes
- Often overlooked as a green item that you can change is the kitchen sponge. Most commercial sponges are, once again, made with petrochemicals.
- Luffa: growing your own luffa sponges are gratifying and thrifty. They are a member of the gourd family and grow similar to cucumbers. Each plant has the ability to produce several luffas. They are wonderful to wash dishes with and the best part? They are 100% biodegradable. To read more about growing luffas, click here
#10 Learn how to cook from scratch
- Cooking from scratch is the best way to provide nutritious meals for your family and yourself. It removes processed foods, chemicals, synthetic ingredients, and is healthier.
- Learn more about cooking from scratch at GNOWFGLINS
#11 Replace plastic with glass, ceramic, enamelware, or stainless steel
- If buying food in plastic is your only option make sure it is sold in recyclable plastic and not throw away
- Learn Your Numbers. Know what those numbers mean on the bottom of plastics. Not every number can be recycled, read the definition here and avoid all one time use plastics
#12 Stainless steel ice cube trays
- Have you ever smelled chemicals in your glass of ice water? Chances are they are coming from your ice cube trays. Replace your plastic trays with stainless steel, they will last a lifetime!
#13 Reusable shopping bags
- This is one of the easiest and yet hardest things to do. We are so programed to use plastic bags, have them double bagged (because they aren’t strong enough) and throw them away. They have soared to the top of the list as one of the biggest culprits in pollution and destruction of wildlife.
- Buy a set (or make your own) of reusable bags that fold easily for each member in the family. Keep them in your purse and in the car. If you forget them in the store, carry your items out by hand or leave them in the cart and transfer them when you get to your vehicle. Another great tip is to have an empty laundry basket in your trunk to transfer your groceries into. It is a lot easier to carry one full laundry basket vs. 5 plastic bags.
#14 Reusable to-go containers
- Take your own containers to the store, butcher, bulk store, and Restaurants.
#15 Stainless Steel or Paper Drinking Straws
- Believe it or not, plastic straws rank right up there with; plastic bags, cigarette butts, and water bottles as the top polluters on beaches and in our water. Learn to say “no thank-you” when servers or fast food workers automatically hand you a plastic straw, bring your own instead.
#16 Use wooden cutting boards instead of plastic
#17 Use glass drink ware instead of plastic
#18 The 5 R’s
- Everyone thinks there are 3 R’s, in reality there are 5! Refuse, Repurpose, Reduce, Reuse, and lastly Recycle
- Refuse. There is no better way to speak to big corporations than with your wallet. By you refusing to buy their chemical laden products, you are sending a message to them where it hurts- their profit.
- Repurpose. Use a tin can as a candle holder, bird feeder, or make crafts with it. Try to look at each item through the eyes of in inventor and give it new purpose, this is a great task for children and budding scientist/artist
- Reduce. Reduce the amount of waste you have by making conscious buying decisions. Do you really need it? Can you apply the other R’s to it when you’re done using it?
- Reuse. Reuse that plastic salad container or sour cream container over and over.
- Recycle. This should be your last option. Recycling is a great alternative to throwing something away, however, many of the items we recycle are not being recycled and end up in the dump anyway. Always use this as a last resort to reduce your environmental impact.
#19 Green on the Go
- If you are going to a Pot Luck or a party where you are bringing a dish to pass, bring your own; reusable plates, silverware, cups and cloth napkins. Make sure to bring a reusable bag so you can bring home your dirty dishes.
- Keep a collapsible drinking cup in your purse or in your car.
- Buy reusable bamboo silverware that comes in it’s own little storage pouch for easy packing
#20 And of course, only use All-natural, Non-Toxic, Biodegradable Cleaning Supplies
- I am pleased to offer my first Kindle book (Available on Kindle, Ipad, Nook, Andriod, and more) with over 20 recipes for green cleaning products for your kitchen. Click here to purchase* or download for Free with Kindle Unlimited
- Buy all-natural, biodegradable kitchen cleaning products
Where to buy these suggested items? You can view, learn more, and or buy these products by licking on the links below.
- Bamboo Paper Towels
- Cast Iron, Stainless Steel, Enamel, or Copper Cookware
- Kitchen Compost Containers
- Stainless Steel Percolator or French Press
- All-Natural: Wax Paper, Parchment Sheets, Foil, Sandwich Bags, and Glass Storage Containers
- Solar Oven
- Energy efficient light bulbs
- No Suggestions
- Luffa, Cloth Dish Cloth, Twist Sponge
- No suggestions
- Stainless Steel Ice Cube Trays
- Reusable Shopping Bags and Produce bags
- Reusable to-go containers
- Stainless Steel or Paper Drinking Straws
- Bamboo and Wood Cutting Boards
- Glass Drink ware
- Practice 5 R’s
- Collapsible Cups, To-go Silverware
- The 3 G’s of Kitchen Cleaning
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*Disclaimer All material on this website is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute medical, legal, financial, or other professional advice on any subject matter. Affiliate Disclosure Some of the links on this website are affiliate links, which means that I may earn a commission if you click on the link or make a purchase using the link. When you make a purchase, the price you pay will be the same whether you use the affiliate link or go directly to the vendor’s website using a non-affiliate link. By using the affiliate links, you are helping support The Coastal Homestead and the Free Programs that Low Country healthy Living offer, and I genuinely appreciate your support. Amazon affiliate disclosure: The Low Country Healthy Living/The Coastal Homestead is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com
Do you have other great ways to go green in the kitchen? I would love to hear them!
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