Going green in the kitchen no longer means merely applying a coat of olive or sage paint. Reducing, reusing and recycling are components of living a more sustainable life. Here are five simple green steps that can reduce any household’s environmental footprint.
Energy saver appliances. Appliances that have earned the Energy Star label can help you step toward a greener lifestyle. According to EnergyStar.gov, these energy-efficient appliances can help to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants caused by the inefficient use of energy. An Energy Star dishwasher can save about 1,300 gallons of water during its lifetime. Other Energy Star kitchen appliances such refrigerators can save you as much as $165 on energy costs during their lifetime.
Water smart. A typical household of four uses 260 gallons of water each day, with 15 percent of that water used in the kitchen, reports the University of Minnesota. Break wasteful water habits by turning off the faucet while you soap your hands. Keep the water off when washing dishes, only turning it on when it’s time to rinse. A low-flow aerator for your faucet also can help save water in the kitchen. It’s quick and easy to install and may reduce your water consumption as much as 50 percent. Another way to save water is to run the dishwasher only when it has a full load.
Lighting. How many light bulbs are in your kitchen? Recessed lighting, lighting over the island, plus light bulbs in the ceiling fan all add up. The Environmental Protection Agency Energy Star designation isn’t just for appliances. It also applies to light bulbs. Swap old light bulbs for compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs to save energy and money. The Energy Star-rated CFL bulbs use about 75 percent less electricity, and they last longer than traditional light bulbs.
Eco-friendly cleaning. Ditch the paper towels. Go green with your cleaning supplies by using cloth towels and products made from recycled and natural materials. Look for cleaning products that don’t contain harsh chemicals, or make your own cleaners. Vinegar is an effective, environmentally friendly cleaner. Check out VinegarTips.com for eco-friendly cleaning ideas using vinegar.
Reuse and recycle. It may seem very basic, but the simple acts of reusing and recycling can make a difference when going green in your kitchen. Compost food waste. Wash and reuse plastic food containers from products such as butter spread and deli salads. Recycle aluminum, plastic and glass. Say no to plastic store bags. Instead, bring your own bags to the store to transport your groceries.