How Green is your Kitchen?
Wearen’ttalking about your interior dcor and where on the colour spectrum your paint shade falls – we are exploring ways to do our bit for the environment, beginning with the kitchen. After all, the kitchen is the heart of our home, and if making a difference begins there, surely it may extend to the rest of our home and lifestyles. There are a number of ways to turn a kitchen into an eco-friendly zone, ranging from simple changes to more drastic measures.
In some residential areas recycling has become really easy to do. On the same day as the waste trucks collect garbage, recycling vans also collect recycled goods left out in the clear plastic bags provided and replaced each week. This optiondoesn’trequire you to keep your recycled good separated.
In areas where therearen’tcollection services, there are a number of recycling points where you can drop off your recyclables. One way to manage this is to have four bins, boxes or baskets in your kitchen to store plastic, paper, glass and metal. You can be creative and co-ordinate these into your dcor so that they dont become an eye-sore in your kitchen. It is then easy to deposit these into the correct containers when you arrive at a recycling point. Besides bigger recycling depots, some garages and supermarkets also have recycling bins.
- Cleaning products
Switching from regular cleaning products to biodegradable products is not only beneficial to the earth, but also to your health. Most regular products contain harmful ingredients that are absorbed through the skin with fumes that are dangerous to inhale.
There are a number of eco-friendly products that are safe for the environment and safe to use. The products range fromdish washingliquid and all-purpose cleaners to biodegradable kitchen cloths. These are available in most health shops or online.
Homemade options include:
Lemon juice to remove stains, polish brass and combined with olive oil to use as furniture polish.
Vinegar mixed with water is an effective cleaning agent for surfaces in the bathroom and kitchen.
Baking soda in an open container left in the fridge removesodors.
- Worm Bins
A compost heap in your garden is one way to dispose of vegetable peelings, though it is often unsightly and can produce offensiveodors becoming an attraction for flies, cockroaches and rodents. An alternative, especially for those living in apartments or homes without ample garden space, is a worm bin. Worm bins provide nutrient rich compost perfect to use for growing your own organic vegetables. There are a number of companies in South Africa that sell ready-made worm bins. It is also relatively simple to make your own according to the WWF website.
The latest model dishwashers are designed to use minimal water. For ordinary washing of dishes using two basins, one for washing and one for rinsing, also with only sufficient water necessary, helps conserve water rather than rinsing under a running tap. Use one basin for all the dishes if possible.
Instead of buying bottled water, if you can invest in a water filter and refill reusable water bottles it will reduce the number of plastic bottles added to landfill sites. A cheaper alternative is to buy a refillable dispenser from a water shop. Try and choose BPA-free bottles to avoid absorbing toxic chemicals from the plastic. Also, never freeze or microwave anything in plastic containers this releases carcinogenic chemicals into food or water.
When cooking on the stove, use the minimum heat required to cook your meal and also use the correct plates for the size pot you are using to conserve energy.Minimizeopening the oven door you lose heat when you do so and your oven will use more energy to reheat. Boiling just enough water in the kettle for the number of cups of tea or coffee you need to make plays its part in power saving. Choose appliances that are rated for energy efficiency.
- Go organic or grow your own
Most products these days are sprayed with harmful chemicals or are genetically modified. For your own health as well as consideration for the environment, organically grown produce is the better option where possible.