When it comes to making your household more eco-friendly, this journey starts in the kitchen. There are numerous small but thoughtful changes you can make along with easy-to-adopt habits that can greatly impact your effect on the environment.
Shop seasonally and buy locally grown produce. Not only are these products more environmentally sustainable, but often fresher and cheaper too. Support community and local farmers’ markets. Buy in bulk to limit packaging and make fewer trips to the store which saves gas and time. Reusable canvas shopping bags are ideal, keep these in your car at all times. If you have to use paper or plastic ones, make sure to reuse them. Invest in some quality airtight containers to store bulk items and prevent food waste. Choose products with less packaging.
Re-evaluate your family’s meat and dairy consumption. Raising and eating livestock pollutes the water, air, and soil, and is responsible for nearly 20% of global greenhouse emissions. Adopt a meatless Monday and try to go meatless for one meal daily.
Buy Fairtrade certified coffee in 100 % compostable pods that are cheaper than branded capsules for your Nespresso machine. Should you enjoy a takeaway coffee from your favorite barrister on your morning commute, take along your reusable cup to prevent using a disposable one.
Make sure to reduce, reuse, recycle, and compost. Compost bins, worm farms, and Bokashi buckets are just some of the solutions available. This not only reduces the amount of food waste that ends up in landfills but also keeps your garden healthy. Alternatively, some companies will collect your compost for use in other areas if you do not own a garden.
Choose natural cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable, and plant-based. Alternatively, you can make your own cleaning products from household ingredients like white vinegar, salt, baking soda, and lemons. This keeps harsh chemicals out of the waterways. Choose sustainable alternatives for sponges, scourers, and dishcloths that are made from renewable resources, natural fibers, and recycled materials.
Using a dishwasher is more eco-friendly than hand washing, especially when set on the economy cycle option. Wait for a full load before setting it to start. Make sure to clean the coils on the back of your refrigerator. Dust on these coils significantly reduces the appliance’s energy efficiency.
Invest in long-lasting cookware like stainless steel or cast iron. These will result in fewer replacements over time, keeping discarded goods from the landfills. Cook smart by using smaller appliances whenever possible like the microwave, convection oven, toaster oven, air fryer, or slow cooker. Consider using a pressure cooker that greatly reduces cooking time. Keep a lid on your cooking. Cooking without lids uses up to three times more energy. Stop preheating the oven and use the stove efficiently by matching pot size to cooking plate size. Cook from scratch so you know what is going into your meals, and whenever possible eat raw.
Older appliances are known to be energy guzzlers so consider replacing these once you have found eco-friendly ways to dispose of the old ones.
Change to energy-efficient light bulbs and say no to disposable plates and cutlery including straws. Don’t use kitchen paper. Reuse parchment paper and aluminium foil. Save the water used for rinsing fruit and vegetables and use this for watering the garden. Cultivate a habit of using up what is in your fridge and freezer first before restocking.
These tips will help you to become more eco-friendly, more energy-efficient, and less wasteful. From the kitchen, these good habits can then spread into the rest of the household to create a totally sustainable home.