Celebrating Earth Day in the Kitchen

by Laura on April 2, 2015

in Featured, Planning, Traditions

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The first Earth Day, held on April 22, 1970, heralded an emerging consciousness of the impact our day-to-day activities had on the environment. Since that day 45 years ago, environmental concerns have come to the forefront, and have come to affect our choices from cars to the food we eat.

In celebration of Earth Day 2015, Family Eats offers up 10 easy ways to reduce your environmental footprint right in your own kitchen.

 

 

 

 

1. Compost

Cut down on trash and waste, and compost at home. Reduce the amount of solid waste that goes into landfills and recycle your solid wastes into soil that can be used in your own garden. Composting makes the soil healthier and helps you grow a garden full of food and flowers without the aid of chemical fertilizers .Go ahead, save your food scraps and feed your garden, not the landfill.

2. Cut down on the amount of packaging that comes into your kitchen

The packaging on foods is excessive and adds to the landfill on a daily basis. Cut back on the amount of packaging you dispose of by choosing to purchase bulk foods (i.e. cereals and grains), or use reusable produce bags for your fruits and vegetables. Take reusable grocery bags with you to the store, and stop purchasing single serve foods and beverages, such as boxed juices, single serve snack packets, and bottled water.

3. Buy local

Much of the food found in your local grocery store has travelled a good distance to reach the shelves. When you purchase locally, you can achieve energy savings by reducing the transportation costs. You’ll be helping the local economy, too.

4. Cut back on meat consumption

The meat that we eat “generates an estimated 18 percent of total human-induced greenhouse-gas emissions globally, according to a U.N. report released several years ago. Add to this the growing number of writers who have brought to light the effect our meat consumption has on the environment, further adding fuel to the movement. Assembly-line meat factories consume a huge amount of energy, and also pollute water supplies, while generating significant amount of greenhouse gases. Further, they require increasing amounts of corn, soy and other grains.

5. Pull the plug

When it comes to appliances in the kitchen, the big ones – refrigerators and ovens are the big draw on energy. That is why consumers are replacing those energy guzzlers with Energy Star rated appliances.

Whether it is cost savings or the environment that is at the forefront of consumer buying decisions, when purchasing a new small appliance, think about how that can make you save money – and the environment. Did you know that a microwave oven uses more electricity to power its digital clock than cook the food? How much energy will you expend by unplugging the toaster every morning?

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6. Seek products made With renewable, eco-friendly materials

We can’t escape the message about deforestation, so the call for eco-friendly products from renewable sources resonates with a growing number of consumers. To that end, the past few years have brought a host of bamboo and other plant-based products to the market, from cutting boards to tableware to kitchen textiles.

7. Use cloth instead of paper towels or paper napkins

Getting back to the throw-away issue, choosing cloth napkins instead of paper ones, and using cloth to wipe up spills and the counters rather than paper towels, is a better choice on the environment. To add to your environmentally friendly choice, choose cloth made of organic cotton, bamboo fibers, hemp and wood-based cellulose pulp.

8. Focus on green cleaning

Choosing eco friendly kitchen cleaning products is commonplace in many homes, and is an environmental practice that is being embraced by consumers across all demographics. Environmentally friendly lines found on store shelves are growing in popularity, but can add up in the pocketbook. So, consumers are switching to more environmentally friendly cleaning products or common household products like vinegar, baking soda and borax. Whether you make it at home, or purchase it, make the change to more environmentally friendly cleaning in the kitchen.

9. Make the right choice when cooking

When cooking, choose quality cookware that conducts heat well, or opt to use a small appliance that will use less electricity than cooking in the oven.

Although slow cookers are used for a longer period of time when compared to cooking in a conventional oven, the lower cooking temperature results in a cost savings over the higher temperature over a shorter period method of cooking in the oven. On the same note, using pressure cookers can save money because foods cook in about one-third the time of conventional methods.

Other eco-friendly cookware options include cooking on an induction cooktop, using a fondue pot (it’s lot’s of fun, too), or choosing pans made in an eco-friendly manner

10. Switch from plastic to glass

Our fear of plastic food containers has left us scrambling for the past. We made the switch several years ago when the twins were babies, to glass bottles instead of the BPA-laden plastic ones we had unknowingly used before. Even if there are no babies in your household, switching from plastic to glass is a good choice –Especially since the FDA is now expressing concern about the possible health risks from bisphenol-A, BPA, which is widely used in plastic and in food packaging.

 

 

 

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