Go Green in the Kitchen

By Joanne Loos Posted in: ImproveThe Fix is In

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I feel like my schedule is finally winding down. Since January, I’ve taken four trips, wrote and defended my thesis (did I mention I’m a graduate student?), threw my sister a bachelorette party and hosted houseguests, all while keeping up with my writing duties and teaching an undergraduate class for the first time. Needless to say, my home has taken a backseat to other things. Now, I couldn’t be more excited to settle down and start nesting once again.

Throughout this whirlwind of a year, I’ve gotten takeout for dinner more than I’d like to admit. It’s a shame because the kitchen is my favorite room in the house. I love to cook, and I can’t wait to get back in there. In the spirit of Earth Month, I’ll be following these tips to go greener.

Go-go gadget. Toaster ovens, microwaves, rice cookers and crock-pots all use less energy than stoves or conventional ovens. Whenever possible, opt for these countertop devices.

Decide on the dishwasher. Hand-washing dishes may seem to save resources, but it actually wastes more water than if you were to run a fully loaded dishwasher. Plus, if you use the energy-saving, no-heat drying option, you may even save electricity, assuming you use hot water to hand-wash.

Plan ahead. When I’m in my groove, I plan the week’s meals ahead of time. I go to the store and (mostly) stick to the list. This drastically cuts down on the chances of last-minute runs to the store, which saves on gas, as well as spur-of-the-moment calls for takeout, which saves money and waste. Bonus points for buying in bulk.

Ditch the plastic bags. I’m not talking about the bags you use for groceries, although you should ditch those as well. I’m talking about zip-close bags for storing food. Instead, choose reusable, BPA-free containers. Glass, ceramic and stainless steel won’t leach chemicals into your food the way plastic can.

Box it out. Have you ever cleaned out your fridge and found food items buried in the back? Designate a box dedicated to quickly perishable or near-expiration-date items. Encourage members of your household to consume those items first. You’ll cut down on waste and save money in the long run.

There are plenty of ways to go green in the kitchen. Start by assessing your routine and figuring out small ways to make it a little more eco-friendly. Love grocery shopping? Opt for local brands. Little tweaks can make big differences.