6 Ways to Create A More Sustainable Kitchen
Looking for ways to live more sustainably but don’t know how to start? Start in your kitchen and then head to your closest farmer’s market! Making meals at home is one of the greatest ways to decrease your ecological footprint and there are a wide range of possibilities to increase your sustainability through your kitchen.
What is Sustainable Cooking?
Sustainable cooking reflects how your food choices affect local sustainability, health, and the environment. Every year, nearly 7.4 million tons of wasted food are dumped in landfills. Making small changes to live more sustainably can help reduce your impact on the world around you, and in the kitchen is the best way to start!
Here are 6 things you can do in your day-to-day life to improve your ecological footprint and create a more sustainable eating lifestyle
1. Reduce liquids. When filling pots to boil water or when washing the dishes, be sure to stay mindful of the amount of water being used and how much the recipe may call for. You can also try to avoid letting your water boil away by timing your meal preparation accordingly!
2. First in, first out. Make sure to check your fridge regularly to make the most of your freshest products. What is going bad? What needs to be used first? What can be frozen and saved for later? And don’t forget to check waaaaay in the back for any foods that might be hiding!
3. Compost. Compost. Compost. The shining star that everyone in the kitchen sustainability world talks about. Taking food scraps, garden waste, and other compostable products can help reduce the amount of waste that is transported and added to a landfill. Composting can also be useful for planting and gardening. The waste can easily be added to create nutrient-dense soil for your plants!
4. Reduce plastics. Using reusable bags to grocery shop, packing produce in reusable bags, and getting storage containers instead of using plastic baggies are all ways you can reduce the amount of plastic being used. One-time use plastics contribute to a lot of landfills, so taking the step to utilize reusables will help prevent more plastic pollution.
5. Buy local! Locally sourced foods have proven to be more sustainable and a better choice overall. Shopping at your local farmer’s market and eating seasonal can also increase sustainability because out-of-season produce is usually sourced from long-distanced locations. Choosing sustainably sourced products, such as organic meats, and reducing the amount of packaged goods you buy can also be great choices.
6. Make meat minimal. Choosing to eat less meat and more fresh fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes can not only increase sustainability but also decrease the possibility of health risks. By cutting back on milk and dairy products, the number of greenhouse gases these products produce can be reduced.
Other ways to make your home more sustainable.
Aside from sustainability in the kitchen, there are other changes you can make around the house to reduce your ecological footprint.
Recycle: By recycling, we can help reduce the number of gas emissions being released by landfills. Recycling can also help reduce the need for new/raw materials, which will help our wildlife, rainforests, and other natural environments where those products are sourced.
Reduce Indoor Toxins: You would be surprised at the number of factors that contribute to a toxic indoor environment. Paint fumes, furniture, carpets, and cooking and heating fumes can cause air pollution. Closed windows can also increase the amount of carbon dioxide being circulated in a space and cause headaches and drowsiness. Inviting an air-purifying plant into your home can help reduce these emissions!
Clean Naturally: Ditch that $13 “organic” all-purpose cleaner and use organic ingredients that are found around an average household. Vinegar, baking soda, lemon juice, and even some essential oils can lend a great hand in house cleaning.
Try to practice being more sustainable in your home and be mindful of how your choices affect the world around you. Here’s to a more sustainable life!
Written by: Nicole Groh, Wellness Workdays Dietetic Intern