The kitchen is the heart of the home; however transforming your kitchen into an eco-oasis is no small feat. I found the best approach is to start small and challenge yourself to make a conscious effort with everything you bring into your home, whether it’s cleaning products or food purchases. Get to know exactly what you are throwing away; you may realize it’s compostable or recyclable, and from there you can look for more sustainable alternatives. Here are five simple changes that you can do to make your kitchen more eco-friendly today.
- Grow a Herb Garden
Having fresh herbs is an invaluable gift. The medicinal effects of herbs have been documented for centuries. You can make mint tea to help with digestion and cilantro (coriander) is high in antioxidants, essential oils and vitamins. Herbs such as basil, thyme, dill, cilantro and mint can thrive on a windowsill. Add fresh herbs to all of your delicious creations and you will wonder why you didn’t start earlier.
- Use Eco-Friendly and Biodegradable Products
Switch to eco-friendly house cleaning products that are biodegradable or if you’re feeling creative, make your own. Vinegar can be used for almost anything and is an incredible cost-effective solution. Dilute apple cider or white vinegar and add orange, thyme, eucalyptus or lavender. It is that easy and you don’t have to worry about toxic chemicals in your home as well as polluting our waterways.
- Make you Coffee French Style
Make your morning cup of coffee with French press. A French press plunger has a reusable filter and is easily washable so you can make as much coffee as you like with less waste. If French press is not your style, try using reusable filters to avoid extra waste. Friends often tell me how convenient their Nespresso machine is, but these little capsules go directly into a landfill. Compound this by daily use and it has a massive impact on the planet. If you have a Nespresso machine and love it, there are now biodegradable and compostable coffee capsules created by Coffee Capsules 2U (in New Zealand) or find your own locally. Lastly, coffee grounds can be re-purposed in your garden to keep out pests and are compostable.
- Buy Ethical
Know where everything you buy comes from whether it is food, clothing, or other household goods. Buy from your local shops or at your local farmers market and buy what’s in season. Try to buy in bulk when you can to decrease unnecessary packing. Check to see where they source their raw materials, if they test on animals and do they pay fair wages. Transparency if key and invest your hard earned dollars in companies that invest in their employees and support their communities.
- Go Plastic Free
Get rid of plastic, it is bad for you and it leaches toxin into your food. Plastic is also bad for the planet, especially our oceans. With unprecedented amounts of plastic causing ecological devastation the easiest place to start is to eliminate is single use plastic items. Ditch the grocery store plastic bags and bring your own. If you have them, re-use them for garbage bags. Use mason jars or reusable glass jars to store items. Don’t buy plastic wrap, but try reusable eco-friendly beeswax wraps instead. You can normally buy them at your local farmers market or make them yourself. They are washable and reusable, beeswax has antibacterial properties naturally and helps keeps your food fresh without the waste of plastic.
The best time to start is now and start small, with each choice you make you can challenge yourself to make conscious decisions to create a more sustainable home, whether it’s dish detergent or eliminating single-use plastic items. Since we became conscious of making more sustainable choices we decreased the amount of garbage we produce by two-thirds, so every little bit helps. Small daily actions in the home can have a tremendous environmental impact and we’ve made our new years resolution to make 2018 the most sustainable year yet. We would love to know your tips and tricks to creating a more eco-friendly kitchen and home? Share your thoughts and ideas directly in the comment section below.
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