Sustainability, an Eco-friendly approach, keeping nature green, and using natural and organic products are some of the key terms these days. Practicing sustainability can be incorporated into all aspects of life. For a long time, the fashion industry has been a target for an unsustainable and unhealthy approach since its production and manufacturing processes are greatly affecting and polluting the environment. That is why more and more brands and the industry itself are greatly and fast switching towards a more green and sustainable approach. The same is with the food industry too.
Sustainability can easily be practiced at home too. Starting from the clothes we wear, the product we use and the food we eat, each of us can make a difference in our own household. The food and preparing the food play a really big role in everyone’s lives. It is essential for the normal and healthy functioning of the body and the brain. Food can also be cooked and the meals can be shared to celebrate certain success, to become closer with your friends and family, to show affection, or even to earn your livelihood.
From all of these, comes the question of whether the food shopping, preparing, and the kitchen itself can become more sustainable. The answer is simple – yes! Embracing sustainability at the home and lessening the impact on the environment is an incredible and important transition that everyone will ever make. And starting with your kitchen is one great way to do so.
For those of you who are not sure, or even a bit unfamiliar with how to incorporate some Eco-friendly habits in your kitchen, these 10 little tips and things can help every one of you to shop, cook and eat a bit more sustainable.
1. Keep the fridge clean and closed
The fridge is one of the most important appliances in every household that keeps the food fresh and suitable for consumption. However, it is also one of the appliances that most of us forget to regularly clean. Although it might require a bit more time and effort to completely clean and defrost the fridge, it is one of the important things that contribute to sustainability in the kitchen. Per definition and practice, the refrigerator is the kitchen appliance that consumes the most energy that comes as a result of bad use. The main causes for this are the excess ice that might pile up to the sides or damaged sealing rubber. When the fridge is not closing properly, that allows the cold air to escape and leads to more waste.
Additionally, if the fridge is positioned to some appliance that produces lots of heat, or is exposed to direct sunlight, it can also damage its performance and cause consuming more energy.
These are just some of the cases that may cause the fridge to overwork and use lots of energy. If you are looking to extend the life of your fridge and be more sustainable, try cleaning it out at least once in 6 months.
2. Grow hers and seasoning and buy from the local’s farmer’s market
The fresh spices provide an excellent taste to the food. However, going every day to the supermarket might be a stretch. So, have you considered growing some of the herbs at home? Parsley, coriander, rosemary, or chives are just some of the herbs that can easily be grown and cultivated at home. Whether you live in a house, apartment, or have a balcony or a backyard, these spices will be fresh, organic, and natural products of your love and care.
Additionally, getting food from the local market is a great place to start if you want to incorporate sustainability into your diet too. Most commonly, the foods that are sold there are fresh and updated weekly or bi-weekly. The local farmers take an organic and natural approach to harvesting the fruits and vegetables so while you keep your health on the highest possible level knowing what you are eating, you will support the locals and contribute to sustainability.
3. Use eco-friendly cleaning products
As you are certainly aware, the chemicals that are part of the cleaning products are very strong and harsh. By cleaning, we release those chemicals back into nature, through soil and water, which eventually leads to pollution, affects the sea life, and the animals. Releasing the chemicals back into the ecosystems is considered as one of the greatest dangers of modern living, which contributes to leaving and leading an unhealthy life. To become more sustainable and eco-friendly, switch the traditional cleaning products with safer ones. Believe it or not, there are three ingredients that help with the cleaning and you already have them in your kitchen: hot water, vinegar, and baking soda. When mixed together, they can be used as a product for cleaning floors, countertops, or tiles. One simple recipe to start incorporating this sustainable cleaning product is to mix 3 scoops of baking soda, 2 liters of hot water, and ½ cup of apple vinegar. For those of you who cannot stand the strong smell of vinegar, add few drops of lavender essential oil.
4. Defrost food naturally
Contributing and taking part in socially responsible and sustainable kitchens is to learn how to preserve and save energy. The fridge is one way to start doing so. Another way is to defrost the food naturally. Leaving the food to defrost at room temperature will save electricity. So, instead of using the microwave before you eat, take the food out of the freezer sometime before it needs to be consumed. Not only you will save energy, but the food will also taste much better.
5. Learn how to preserve food
A huge amount of waste in the world comes from food. Learning how to pickle and preserve food can be a great way into decreasing the amount of food waste that your household produces. One way of doing that is to always keep track of what is in your fridge. When the food comes close to the expiration day, you do not necessarily have to through it out. Find some recipes where you can make some meals, at a high temperature that will serve you instead of throwing them away. Another way is to start buying less. If you see that you are constantly throwing certain products, then, start buying them in a lesser amount. That way, you will always have fresh and healthy food in your fridge and you will preserve food instead of wasting it.
6. Buy products in bulk
Connected to the previous tip of preserving the food, buying in bulk contributes to a sustainable kitchen. You might wonder how? Well, each product comes in certain packaging. When two or more of the same products are packed into bulk, unnecessary packaging that pollutes the environment is avoided. If you think better, you will see that each of us produces so much waste, and all of that can be prevented when the products come in either recyclable packaging or they are packed in bulk. Pretty convenient right?
7. Soak the dishes
We know that this might sound so old school but believe us when we say that this is a great way to establish a more sustainable kitchen. After each meal, do not just start to do the dishes. Fill out the sink with water, and let the dishes soak for a bit. The still-fresh food leftovers, as well as the stains, will dissolve in the water, which will save you time, water, detergent, and energy. This applies both to those doing the dishes by hand or dishwasher. By taking this approach, first of all, you will save water, save detergent and make your dishwasher run more efficiently.
8. Cover the pots and do not open the over door
One of the most common, but wrong ways when preparing food is to frequently open the oven door. Although this might seem unimportant to you, it is actually quite connected to a more sustainable kitchen approach. This comes down to preserving the heat, and here is why:
when cooking, the pans should be covered so that the heat will stay inside it and cook the food. Depending on the type of stove you have, this will save gas, or electricity and make the food better prepared. The situation is the same with the oven too. One way to find out how the cooking is going is to use the internal light of the oven or the timer. Another way to save energy is to turn off the over few minutes before the food is ready. The heat that is inside the oven will still be strong to finish the food – this is one of the biggest secrets of famous chefs. By doing this, you will make a small, but a noticeable contribution to the sustainability of your kitchen.
9. Keep the devices turned off
When you are not using a certain device, make it your habit to unplug it from the electrical socket. Although this is available and possible for some of the smaller kitchen appliances, it is a great way towards a more sustainable kitchen and practice. When a certain appliance is not actively used, it still uses energy, One example of that is when there are lightning strikes, some appliances might suffer severe malfunctions. This is clear proof that even when not working, the appliances are subject to electrical charging.
10. Invest in organic products
Eating and consuming organic food started as a trend a few years back, and certain people were eager to follow it. However, on the other side, there were the ones that have always paid attention to what they eat and have looked for organic foods. With the increased accent on the pollution and foods that are made of who knows what ingredients, people, in general, became more aware that choosing organically is the best way and solution for keeping and leaving a healthy life, and with that body too.
What comes greatly appreciated and important about organic food is that it is grown or produced without the presence of chemicals and different agents that are dangerous both for humans and the environment too. That is why buying organic products helps preserve the environment. Prioritizing local products, as mentioned above, from the local farmers market, is a great and suggested way to contribute to the local economy. By doing this, you will gain a lot. You will switch and add to your sustainable kitchen, avoid pollutants that are emitted into the transportation of the foods, know what you are eating, and above all, be happy and satisfied with the choice that you have made.
By including these 10 little things, you will be on your way to set an example and contribute to sustainability in general. Each contribution and change starts from our own houses, in this case, our kitchen. The kitchen is the place where the entire family can gather, prepare food, and bond. Why not do all of that and save the environment at the same time? Setting an example for the younger generations, as well as the older ones too, is a great start to making one big change in the world, that might easily reflect the entire lifestyle and functioning.
Sustainability is not a trend. It is a movement and revolution into leaving a proper and healthy life. That is why the green kitchen is a great way to start doing so. Be sustainable, be organic and be eco-friendly – your plate will be thankful and you will live up to see the results.