The kitchen is the heart of the home- right? I know it’s at the top of my list for picking a home. And certainly most of the waste in a home comes from the kitchen. So it’s an important place to target to make your home greener. Start where the biggest problem is- and work on that!
These 10 ways to make your kitchen greener are all easy to implement and don’t make you change your lifestyle in any inconvenient way. Anyone can do them, really. There’s nothing holding you back- so go ahead and make a few small changes to help your health and the environment.
1. Limit paper products
We all know it- waste isn’t good for the environment. And paper comes from trees that could have been providing oxygen and higher air quality. So do your bets to limit what paper products you use. This includes napkins, paper towels, and even coffee filters. If it’s paper you should try to get rid of it.
Luckily, this doesn’t mean never using napkins, towels, or coffee filters again. It just means finding a non-paper replacement. And the replacements are pretty awesome.
Cloth napkins are a no-brainer, especially if they are machine washable. Reuseable coffee filters are pretty easy to find too. And you can find the most adorable replacement for paper towels. I mean- they’re called unpaper towels. Super cute.
So get creative and replace any paper products in your kitchen.
2. Use biodegradable trash bags
Landfills are bad enough on their own- but even worse when the trash is in plastic trash bags that will take more than one lifetime to break down. It’s so easy to switch to biodegradable trash bags. Like super easy. Do your trash a little favor and help it break down!
3. No more plastic grocery bags
We all know that you are supposed to use reusable grocery bags instead of the plastic bags at the store. Some towns are even implementing bans on plastic bags in stores- they are so terrible for the environment. And the reusable bags are even more effective than any of the plastic bags you get.
So be serious about your reusable bags. Keep a set in your car. Keep a set by the door. Keep one bag in your purse so you never leave the house without it. Make the commitment.
And the checkout bags are not the only culprits- get some reusable produce bags too. We use ours every time we go to the grocery store, and I love them so much.
Even if you aren’t a gardener- you can find a way to make your compost productive. Lots of organizations accept compost donations or you can find a local compost pile to contribute to.
Definitely get a compost bin to add all your compostable scraps- you will feel better, you will create less trash bags, and you will be helping some more food grow somewhere!
5. Replace plastic where you can
Plastic itself, whether or not it is filling a landfill, is just bad for the environment. And human health. We are so used to plastic that we don’t think of it as such an unnatural thing- but it really is. The chemicals in plastic are absorbed by the human body and into groundwater. Not such good things.
Probably the most plastic you have in your kitchen is in the form of tupperware. The easiest thing to do is replace it with glass tupperware. This doesn’t have to be an all-at-once thing, but if you do it over time it will make a difference. And don’t get rid of your plastic by throwing it away- donate it so it gets reused!
And even things you didn’t realize you can get in a reusable form- you can! Reuseable straws. How adorable.
6. Reuse it
Anything you can reuse- do reuse! Empty jar of applesauce? Keep the jar and use it as a new piece of tupperware. Cans can make a great addition to craft and organization projects. A spice jar can become a baking soda sprinkler for household cleaning. This one is kind of a no-brainer.
So before you go to throw something out- look at it for a minute and think of how you could use it.
7. Stay organized
One of the worst problems with first-world humans, especially Americans, is how much food we waste. And this can happen especially when you aren’t organized. I myself am super guilty of this.
Didn’t eat those leftovers because you couldn’t see them in the fridge? Time to reorganize. One of the things that Lars and I have done is get rid of the drawer in our fridge and use clear fridge bins. That way we can see what we have. The drawer was really just blocking our view.
I’ve seen lots of great fridge organization solutions on pinterest- some people even use a lazy susan in the fridge so they can turn and see everything they have! So get creative with it and use a system that works for you.
8. Goodbye pre-made K-cups
Keurigs are so convenient- there’s no denying it. We have one. But Keurig waste is just building up and up. In fact, the trash from the Keurig’s just in 2013 would circle the earth 11 times. Sound like a lot to you?
So you don’t have to stop using the Keurig, but you definitely should switch to reusable K-cups. You don’t want to be a portion of the K-cups circling the earth.
9. Make your own cleaning products
One of the worst offenders in your kitchen is your cleaning products. You can buy green cleaning products- but they usually come with a huge markup and it’s hard to know whether they really are “green.” It is way cheaper, healthier, and easier to make your own.
If you need some help with this, check out my guide “Five Steps to Switch to Green Cleaning.”
With a little baking soda, vinegar, and lemon juice, you can clean your whole kitchen. Trust me.
10. Reusable lunch bags
I used about a million of those brown paper bags in my school lunch days. And I never once recycled one. That all could have been stopped by using a reusable lunch bag. I have one now that is my absolute favorite thing. My neoprene lunch bag can fit weird shapes of food and it is even machine washable. I couldn’t recommend one more.
So any time you are bringing a meal out of the house- just grab an awesome lunch bag!
You will feel so much better if you implement even a few of these changes. Trust me. Get to greening your home and you won’t even know why you hadn’t done it before!