Keep food local in the kitchen. Photo Credit: Culinary Delight Catering
Okay, so you’ve got a kitchen full of Energy Star appliances, bamboo floors, recycled glass countertops, walls splashed with milk paint (that you didn’t cry over when you spilled) and lots of natural light flooding in to help reduce your dependency on electrical bulbs. The question is, are you truly living green in your kitchen? It’s so much more than just having the right materials in the kitchen - if you’re not making the right choices on a daily basis, then you may be short-circuiting your greenest efforts.
If you want to be more eco-friendly, start by making more conscientious choices when it comes to the food you keep in your kitchen. One of the most beneficial things you can do for the environment and your own community is to purchase locally grown produce, meats and other foods. By doing so, you're supporting not only your own community, but also small farms as an industry. So many small farms fail each year because the competition with commercial farms who supply big chain grocery stores just wipes them out. When we buy from local growers and producers, we help to sustain the small farms and businesses across America, which in turn, helps to preserve our land and natural resources. There are several buy local programs across the nation to help you locate good local sources of food.
These days, it pays to think twice before putting anything in the trash can. Before deciding that the fate of what’s left on your plate is to end up in a landfill, consider composting. Composting is a great way to encourage garden growth. Basically, you’re just taking all of your non-meat organic trash and turning it into nutrient-rich soil. All you need is some type of lidded container and a bit of will power.
Anything organic from the kitchen can go into the container. Most people prefer to separate out any meat products because they have the habit of attracting unwanted animals to your neck of the woods. When the container fills up, dump the contents into a pile out back. And when you get ready to garden, just churn the compost into the soil and watch how your garden grows. Of course, if just any old bucket won’t do, you can always purchase a kitchen composter, which will keep more of the smell out of your house and begin the decomposition process more quickly. Not only are you saving space in landfills, you’re also giving yourself a leg up in the county fair’s vegetable-growing contest.
Keeping a kitchen clean is a full-time job, but you can feel a whole lot better about it if you choose natural cleaning products. So many of the cleaners we use are made of chemicals and toxins that we shouldn't be breathing in - period. Not to mention their detrimental impact on the environment. Consider switching your cleaning crew over to natural, healthy and very common household items like vinegar (great on glass, stone and tons of other surface materials), baking soda (excellent for hard spots that need scrubbing) and lemon (for eliminating tarnish). Another great natural cleaner is tea tree oil. There are so many alternative cleaners on the market today that are both eco-friendly and better for your health.
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