10 Green things you can do in your KITCHEN
Buy as much as you can from local producers. Most produce in the U.S. is shipped an average of 1500 miles before being sold. That’s a lot of wasted fuel! By buying 10% of common fruits and vegetables locally, 300,000 gallons of fossil fuels are saved – preventing 8 million pounds of carbon dioxide from being emitted into the air. Also, large national producers use a large amount of paper and plastic to keep food fresh. Buying local also means supporting small farmers and the local economy. Shop your local farmers market or grow your own garden. It doesn’t get more local than that!
2.Sustainable Seafood Choices
There are several species of fish and shellfish that have been severely overfished in the past decades (not to mention trouble with pollution). Only by making better choices at the supermarket can we change the demise of these creatures and their environment. Some of the fish in danger include Red Snapper, Orange Roughy, and Chilean Seabass. Better buying choices would be U.S. farmed Tilapia, Striped Bass, and Pacific Halibut.
3.Use Natural Cleaning Products
Check out the label of most household cleaning products and you’ll find something about calling 911 or the Poison Control Hotline. This stuff is not good for people, animals, or the environment! Most things in the kitchen can be cleaned with the Big 3: Vinegar, Baking Soda, and Lemons. Try these first and save the industrial strength stuff for the truly difficult cleaning.
4.Save those Scraps
Think before tossing out those vegetable scraps. Can I use this for something else? Many vegetables work great for making a chicken or vegetable stock. Parsley stems, carrot pieces, onions, tomato bits, celery, and others work great. Composting is great for your yard in lieu of traditional fertilizers. Compost your kitchen scraps in a compost pail. There are several on the market today that are odorless and store nicely under the kitchen sink.
5.Use re-usable Cloth bags at the Grocery
Most large grocers sell re-usable cloth grocery bags for between $1-2 per bag. These bags are not only useful for many tasks but are great for the grocery. They can hold more groceries that paper or those infuriating plastic bags because they are strong and don’t tear. In the U.S., about 12 million barrels of oil and 14 million trees go to producing plastic and paper bags each year. Let’s not add to thise numbers! For a great site about how to reuse those bags: www.reusablebags.com
6.Use glass, aluminum foil or (if you must) recyclable plastic
Instead of reaching for the plastic wrap, or plastic baggie – both of which take fossil fuels to produce, and take 1000 years to biodegrade – opt for aluminum foil (it comes in 100% recycled form!), glass containers, and or if you just can’t give up your plastic, at least buy the type that biodegrades from one of our green vendors. Each year, Americans throw away some 100 billion polyethylene plastic bags — from grocery and trash bags to those ultra-convenient sandwich bags. The processing and burning of plastics is considered one of the main contributors to global warming, according to the EPA. In addition, sending plastics to the landfill also increases greenhouse gases. Reduce, re-use and recycle your plastics for one of the best ways to combat global warming.
7.Use the Right Size Pan for the Job
Use the smallest size pot or pan necessary for the cooking task. A smaller cooking surface requires less energy to heat. Also, match the pan to the right size burner. Cooking with a 6-inch diameter pan on an 8-inch burner wastes over 40% of the heat produced.
Induction cooktops are greatly more efficient than gas or electric rangetops with a power saving of 40- to 70-percent. These cooktops use induction heating which involves an electromagnetic field causing resistance (and heat) in an ferrous (iron-containing) pot or pan. They offer almost instantaneous temperature control and a cooktop that remains cool to the touch (only the pot gets hot). Induction cooktops are still more expensive than conventional cooktops, but prices will most likely fall rapidly as they become more popular and competition increases. COOL!
9.Compost your food scraps
Composting helps reduce the amount of waste you send to the landfill, which can save you money if you live in a municipality with a “pay as you throw” system. In the process, you create free, healthy fertilizer for your garden. Compost provides a full complement of soil organisms and the balance of nutrients needed to maintain the soil’s well-being without the chemicals of synthetic fertilizers. And healthy soil minimizes weeds and is key to producing healthy plants, which in turn can prevent many pest problems from developing to begin with.
10.Skip the bottled water at the grocery or convenience store
Filter your tap water for drinking rather than using bottled water. Not only is bottled water expensive, but it produces large amounts of container waste.