Your carbon footprint refers to your impact on the environment through the output of carbon dioxide. Many kitchen activities, ranging from how you illuminate your counters to how you wash your dishes, result in carbon output through energy usage. If you're trying to create a more environmentally friendly, green-savvy home, start in your kitchen and make an immediate difference.
Installing faucet aerators and shopping at local markets or local farmers market are great for our eco-consciousness but there is so much more that homeowners can do to lessen their impact on the environment, and save money in the meantime.
Reduce waste. Since kitchens generate the most waste of any room in the house, start by minimizing the excess packaging you purchase at the supermarket. Buy fresh, unwrapped produce, avoid buying in bulk and huge portions unless you eat in bulk or have a big family to feed. Reuse plastic bags, glass jars and packaging. And don’t forget to compost your organic waste.
Fill up the freezer. Use less energy by filling up your freezer. Take advantage of buying fresh and local vegetables during the summer month and freezing them for the winter.
Put a lid on boiling water. This little trick will prevent heat and energy from escaping.
Don’t open the oven door. Stop yourself from peeking in the oven while food is cooking as this can drop the temperature from 25 to 50 degrees resulting in food taking longer to cook. Reconsider the length of time you preheat the oven and try not preheating at all. Consider turning the oven off 10 or 15 minutes earlier than the prescribed cooking time as this allows food to finish cooking from heat already built up inside the oven.
No-waste baking. Avoid wasting foil and parchment paper and buy a reusable non-stick silicone baking mat.
Recycle everything you can, from soup cans, bottles, cereal boxes, empty milk cartons. Use less plastic containers and other items that happen to pile up in your kitchen’s trash. Recycling containers and packages can conserve a significant amount of energy and in return reduces your carbon footprint.
Choose the right cookware. Choosing the right size pot or pan for what you are cooking can help you save energy and time.
Fill up the dishwasher. Not running the dishwasher until it is full to the rim and skipping the drying cycle will conserve energy and water.
Unplug anything that is not in use, especially small appliances. You’ll be surprised how much energy is used by appliances that not in use. This goes for anything around the house that is plugged in but not in use.
Cut down on hot water. Many kitchen faucets are controlled by a single valve. If you leave the handle tilted to the hot side and turn it on, you fire up the hot water tank even when you don’t want hot water. Simply leaving it turned to the cold water side saves energy.
Reduce toxins use. Toxins that go into dishwashing soap, floor and glass cleaners, detergents and the other household cleaners are damaging to our environment. Buy cleaning products that are non-toxic, biodegradable and plant-based or consider making your own household cleaning products from such kitchen staples as baking soda, lemon juice and white vinegar.
Make your own compost. Don’t throw away your kitchen’s organic waste such as vegetable scraps, eggshells and old food. Make a compost pile in the yard. Find the best set up for your lifestyle and show your family how to use it. Communicate with your family what you are doing and you will be surprised at the support you receive.
Lights Out. Last but not least, turn the lights out whenever you leave a room in your house.