We are all becoming more aware of the damage being done to the planet and more people are now looking at their own lifestyles and what they can do to improve things by themselves. Not one of us can save the planet but together we can make some differences and we are all capable of making some small change in our lives that might do some good.
Simple changes that anyone can make is to start refusing plastic bags in shops and takeaways. Many retail outlets now charge for plastic bags to encourage shoppers to reuse old ones. Indeed South Africa started to ban plastic bags back in 2003 many years ago before other countries such as the US and UK even considered it to be a problem. The bags were known as the National Flower of South Africa because they were seen everywhere you could imagine. Roads, rivers and beaches were strewn with plastic. The environment benefitted quickly from the reduction in plastic bag production.
Other ways to reduce plastic usage is to simply refuse a straw when in a bar and when looking for containers for home look for alternative materials. The kitchen is one area of the home that can benefit from some changes to a more eco friendly environment.
What changes should you make to your kitchen?
Firstly it is important to consider your own finances and requirements. Changes can be made slowly and one at a time. There is no point breaking the bank to install an eco friendly cooker that you didn’t need nor could afford. Here are some ways that you can improve your kitchen.
If you have a garden and like to grow plants or vegetables then a composter is a great way to recycle food waste. If you don’t have anywhere to grow anything don’t dismiss this as you may have a family member or friend who will be happy to pick up and use your food waste. Or use a local compost pick up service.
Composters come in different forms and suit different budgets. A countertop compost bin is a great way to store compost before use. It comes with a charcoal lid that stops odours escaping and is pleasantly decorated. If you prefer your compost to stay out of site then you could try a cabinet composter to keep your food waste hidden.
Eco friendly taps
If you are looking to upgrade your faucet then you might consider a quantitative tap that is pre-programmed to release just the right amount of water depending on your requirements. It makes sure there is no water wastage and you get just the amount needed. You could alternatively just attach a water saving nozzle. These work by limiting the flow of water and also shut off after a certain amount of time has gone by.
If you want to change your stove top then induction cooking may be the way to go. These are more energy efficient than standard hobs and also smarter. An induction cooker can be set to turn off after a certain amount of time which a gas cooker cannot. Not only this but they detect whether there is any cookware on the hob and if not they will turn themselves off so having the benefit of saving not only energy and money but also being safer than other cookers. One thing to consider though is you may need to replace some of your cookware for an induction cooker suitable range.
Replacing plastic containers and other plastic items
As mentioned we all know plastic is not ideal and does terrible damage to the environment. However it makes no sense to throw out perfectly good plastic items and create more waste. Instead replace any plastic with a more eco friendly material as and when they break or wear out. Change plastic lunch boxes for wheat straw material or ceramics.
This small appliance can help you with reducing energy and is more eco friendly than some other cooking methods. It cooks by trapping steam inside the cooker and using the heat and steam to cook food very quickly. Much like a pressure cooker but safer than the old style ones and with a host of features. You can cook with the Instant Pot up to 70% faster than with other methods and this equates to financial and energy savings. Because the food is cooked with steam it comes out moist and tender even though it has been cooked at a high temperature and very quickly. There are plenty of recipes and advice on the internet to help you get the most out of this type of cooker such as this post by Corrie Cooks. Convection ovens and air fryers might also be a consideration as they also cook faster and more efficiently than standard ovens.
Small ways to make a difference in the kitchen
It isn’t always necessary to install expensive electrical equipment or make wholesale changes to make a difference. You can start with something simple like using a reusable coffee cup. Most coffee shops supply paper cups but you might not know that they contain a plastic liner which means they are not recyclable. Look for coffee shops that allow you to bring your own cup or container, if yours doesn’t then take your business elsewhere.
If you must use straws then purchase some eco friendly ones made from bamboo, plant based straws or reusable silicone ones. Everytime you look to buy something, check the material used. Silicone is a good alternative to plastic and many gadgets now use this including measuring cups and steamers.
There are too many ways to make a kitchen more eco friendly than can be listed here but with some research and small changes you can start to make your own little differences to your lifestyle and the world around you. Grow your own herbs instead of buying plastic bags, reuse shopping bags and put in energy saving light bulbs and you’ve already started to improve the world.