Greening Your Kitchen -- It's Easier than You Think

The greenest way to conserve energy in the kitchen may be to change your habits.

It's tempting to rebuild an entirely new eco-friendly kitchen, but the greenest approach to conserving energy in the kitchen may be to change your habits instead of your cupboards. Choosing new Energy Star appliances or sustainable materials is great if these items actually need to be replaced, but there are many effective steps you can take to save water and energy even if you don’t have the budget for a complete kitchen overhaul.

Food for Thought
The most immediate, most dramatic way to green your kitchen is to change the way you eat. No, you don’t have to give up meat and exist on fruit and nuts. Eating in a more eco-friendly way starts with reducing your food waste, not with changing your diet. According to Green Parent Chicago the average family of 4 throws nearly $600 worth of food in the trash every year – that’s $43 billion dollars of food waste combined for all Americans. The impact of wasted food reaches far beyond our pocket books. Over 300 million barrels of oil and one-fourth of the U.S. water consumption are used to produce and distribute food that ends up in the trash and eventually the landfill. Once in the landfill this methane-producing waste contributes to the greenhouse effect.

Supporting local farmers and sustainable food companies should be part of your green food efforts. Planning meals and shopping with a list can help make sure you don’t overbuy during the next trip to the grocery store. Eating your leftovers will keep them out of the landfill and will keep your cash out of the trash.

A dripping tap can waste up to 50 gallons of water per day.

Conserving Water
You use an Energy Star dishwasher and only run the appliance with a full load – that’s a great start. But you might be wasting hundreds of gallons of water a day with a few bad habits. Here are some new habits to help you live greener:
  • Put fruit and vegetable scraps in an outdoor compost bin instead of down the garbage disposal.
  • Capture running water in a container while waiting for it to get hot or cold. Use the saved water to wash vegetables or water plants, or place a pitcher of it in the fridge for a refreshing drink.
  • Fix leaking taps as soon as possible. A dripping tap can waste up to 50 gallons of water per day.
  • Fill a sink or tub with clean water for rinsing when washing dishes by hand instead of running the tap.
  • Wash vegetables in a large bowl of water instead of under the faucet. Use that water for plants or washing dishes later.

Green living isn't as difficult or extreme as some people think. With a few simple changes you'll be helping the environment and reaping the financial rewards with smaller food costs and reduced energy bills.

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