A healthy kitchen begins with healthful foods, but it certainly doesn’t end there. We spend a lot of time focusing on which foods you should keep stocked and which are best to toss, but there are other factors at play in keeping your kitchen as healthy and as “green” as possible.
You don’t have to own rare, organically made flooring or have a huge budget to start making changes in your kitchen. As a matter of fact, some of the simplest ways to change your health and environmental impact are actually cheaper than the traditional way of doing things.
Here are 4 ways to “greening up” your kitchen, and subsequently, your house.
1. Get Rid of Disposables – Stop purchasing disposable plastics for food storage and stop using the ones you already have today. The majority of these plastics are made with BPA or potentially just-as-harmful alternatives. Use the ones already in your house for craft supplies or to hold clothespins. But don’t use them for food. Instead of plastics, use glass. You can purchase glass food storage containers or you can buy an entire case of canning jars for the same purpose. Not only are glass jars super cost-effective, they make your food look pretty.
2. Start Composting – If you’re like most Americans, you throw away a lot of food, maybe even enough to feed another person or an entire family. Start making this food waste work for you. Composting isn’t too difficult and requires minimal tools—even a large plastic tote will work. The rich results can be used on your own garden or donated to a local community garden.
3. Clean out Your Cleaning Supplies – The vast majority of modern soaps and cleansers are a toxic slew of chemicals. They may make your floor sparkle, but at what cost? Phthalates, for instance, are a common ingredient and are known endocrine disruptors. Simple things you already have in your kitchen can do it without releasing fumes while tackling some pretty tough cleaning jobs. Try a mixture of vinegar, lemon juice, and warm water on your floors, or baking soda for scouring jobs like the sink.
4. Conserve – The kitchen of your home likely has a greater impact than does any other room in the house. Learn to take small steps that conserve both water and electricity. Soak rather than spray dishes, for instance. Covering your pots can cut down on the amount of time it takes to cook, and therefore the amount of electricity you use. Many of us have a habit of leaving the stove light or the sink light on all day; shut all lights off when you aren’t in the room (I can hear my father now!).
You don’t have to suffer serious inconvenience or even budget setbacks in order to make green-changes to your kitchen. The foods you keep inside aren’t the only things that could be affecting your health.