We all want to live more sustainably and reduce our impact on the environment. Living a greener life is about more than recycling and buying eco friendly products. It’s also about our daily choices about energy use which have a big impact on the environment.
Living sustainably is becoming increasingly popular. But when it comes to being green in the kitchen, many people don’t know where to start.
Do you want to make a difference by taking small everyday actions?
Small changes can include cooking meals at lower temperatures, reducing the amount of water used when washing dishes or turning off your appliance when not in use. The key is to start small and make incremental changes so that you can see the benefits of doing so.
Consumers can offset their impact on the environment by reducing, reusing and recycling, reducing plastic waste and repurposing materials.
Keep reading to find out how to live more sustainably.
I. Save energy in the kitchen and house
Choose energy efficient products
Choosing energy efficient products can be the single most important choice you can make when it comes to reducing your carbon footprint.
The 2011 Powering the Nation report studied energy use in homes across the UK. At the time of the study, the households studied owned between 41-85 different electrical appliances.
A simple way to decrease your energy bills and contribute to a more sustainable future is by choosing energy efficient appliances. To find out which appliances are the most energy efficient, visit the Energy Saving Trust Register online.
The rating label on all appliances tells you how efficient they are, and gives you an indication of the annual energy costs.
Entertainment appliances such as iPads, TVs or laptops do not usually have energy labels but white goods, such as dishwashers, fridges and ovens, must display their energy efficiency rating by law. Appliance ratings range from A+++, the most energy efficient to G for certain products, which are at the opposite end of the scale. older appliances are likely to be considerably less energy efficient.
2. Don’t leave appliances on standby
Did you know that your appliances eat up electricity when left on standby? A kettle, toaster, iron and flat screen TV can all use five watts of power when you’re not using them.
Here’s a neat way to save energy – turn off your electronic appliances when you’re done using them. Leaving things like your dishwasher, microwave, washing machine, tumble dryer and electric oven on standby can waste a whole lot of electricity.
3. Save energy when you cook
Cooking is an important part of daily life, but it doesn’t have to be environmentally-costly. There are many ways to save energy when cooking such as: heat water in a kettle, always cover your pots and pans, and don’t open the oven door repeatedly – you’ll let out hot air and waste energy.
4. Save energy when you freeze food
Keeping your freezer at 5 degrees Celsius or less means it will work efficiently and use less electrical power to keep your food cold. Defrost your fridge or freezer regularly and don’t hold the door open for extended periods of time, as this will cause it to cool the temperature afterwards.
If you want to be more environmentally friendly in the kitchen, consider freezing food. When you’re not in a rush and have time to plan ahead, cook more than you need, and freeze it for later.
5. Use lightning more efficiently
Lighting can account for up to 15% of your electricity bill, so LED bulbs are a good way to start saving money.
Some simple adjustments can make all the difference, from turning lights off when you leave a room to installing power saving light bulbs. And remember to check your internal doors and windows are well sealed as this will help keep warm air in and cold air out during winter months.
II. How to save water at home
Water is a precious resource – but many of us take it for granted. With drought conditions occurring year after year all over the world, it is important to be mindful of how we treat our most precious natural resource: water.
How much water do you use in a day, and where does it go? A recent study found that the average U.S. citizen uses 170 gallons per day, which is 20 times more than the average person in Australia. Many communities are already enforcing water restrictions, but there are some simple things you can do at home to ease the burden on your local water supply and save money in the process.
Smart lifestyle choices can have a big impact on our water resources and reduce your water bill by up to 50%.
You can start with small changes, like turning off the tap while brushing your teeth or leaving the tap running for no more than one second in the sink.
Here are some easy water saving tips that can help you live more sustainably:
Only run the dishwasher and washing maschine when they are fully loaded. Wash at 30 degrees or use the ECO setting if your machine has one.
Turn off the faucet while brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face. A running tap wastes more than five litres of water a minute.
Shorten your shower time and replace baths with more frequent showers.
Use a low flow shower head.
Install a dual flush or low flow toilet. The average person uses between 30 and 50 litres a day flushing toilets, but if you use a dual flush toilet you can reduce that by half.
Fix leaks. A dripping tap can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year.
Don’t overwater your lawn or water during peak periods, and install rain sensors on irrigation systems. Did you know that 30 to 60% of domestic drinking water is used to water yards and gardens?
III. Eat more sustainably
Choose whole foods and plant-based products
Focusing on whole foods and plants is one of the most important things you can do to reduce food waste. Eating less meat, dairy and other animal products helps reduce our environmental footprint. By cutting down your meat consumption and making greener food choices, you are also making better and healthier food choices, reducing your medical bills too.
Wondering what you can do to become more eco-friendly? Take a look at some of these tips for living more sustainably, from shopping local and in-season produce to all natural cleaning products.
Stock up on any produce that is in season, then plan your meals around what you have in your pantry or fridge. This will avoid unnecesarry spending and food wastage, by buying products you don’t need.
If you can buy in-season produce locally, shop at farmers’ markets; if you live in a remote area, look online for local options. You’re already living sustainably by choosing to buy your food online rather than in a supermarket.
Shop or make your own cleaning natural products
Shop for eco-friendly cleaning products or make your own. To start, you can make your own all-natural disinfectant cleaning products with simple ingredients like baking soda, vinegar and citrus. If you’re able to, shop for products made with non-toxic ingredients that don’t pollute the planet or have been tested on animals.
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IV. Minimize food waste at home
A third of food in the United States goes to waste. We waste 107 billion pounds of food every year in the United States alone, according to nonprofit ReFED. That equates to $408 billion and nearly 40 percent of our food supply.
Planning meals and using a shopping list will help you avoid buying more than you need and using it all up before it goes bad. The best approach is to plan meals based on what is already in the kitchen, then make a shopping list only for the ingredients and items you need. Use a meal plan and make a shopping list, so you only buy the ingredients needed for that week.
Buying ingredients in bulk is a great way to save money and reduce waste. However, you should only buy what you can use in that week.
Shopping when you’re hungry leads to impulse purchases and over-buying. Keep your stomach full before grocery shopping and avoid these unnecessary costs.
There are also a ton of meal-kit services which provide weekly meal plans for those that don’t dabble in the cooking arena as much! Keep a look out for companies that have an eye toward sustainability.
Store your food properly
It’s also important to know how to package your foods correctly so they last longer in the fridge and pantry.
Use the “First In First Out” rule
Organize your pantry from most perishable in the front to least perishable in the back. Store food in clear bins with labels and expiration dates. You can easily tell which item is expiring soon and when you need to buy more. Be sure to check best-before dates before using the product.
Store products in the fridge in their designated drawers
When storing food, make sure it’s easy to find and visible in the fridge. Store meat, poultry, fish and eggs in a separate drawer from packaged foods as these may drip. Make sure cold air can circulate easily around the food to keep it safe.
V. Reuse and recycle items
Sustainable products are typically better for the environment, which is always a plus. However, it’s not always easy to spot the “green” or “eco” labels on products.
Glass jar reuse
This can be a great way to reduce the amount of plastic you throw away. If you don’t already reuse glass jars, consider it.
Jars are one of the most versatile pieces of kitchen equipment you can invest in. You can make almost anything from store-bought jams to condiments and more into a reusable jar for long-term storage or to use again. If buying bulk items at the grocery store, capsules can be used to store coffee grounds, tea bags or herbs.
Wash your zippy bags
In 2017, the average U.S. household used 500 zippy bags and unfortunately, most of them are made of low-density polyethylene that fall under the category of plastic film.
So, yes ― zippy bags that are not torn and still close can be hand washed or washed in the dishwasher to be used again. Wash them with dish soap and a scrubber and let them air dry. There are even environmentally friendly zippy bag options to consider now!
VI. Reduce plastic usage
Many of us are overly reliant on plastic, especially in our kitchens. It’s time to rethink that way of living and opt for better alternatives.
According to the EPA, food and packaging/containers account for nearly 45 percent of the materials that end up in U.S. landfills. According to Green America, a nonprofit organization fighting for a cleaner and greener economy, approximately 40 billion pounds of household waste is tossed out by single-family homes every year in the US. While many of us don’t have control over what packaging companies use on our goods, we can all make small changes to help reduce waste in our own homes.
Reduce the amount of plastic bags and containers you buy
Reuse plastic grocery bags to collect food/cooking scraps or take them back the next time you go grocery shopping. The good news is that many of us have already made a big difference simply by utilizing reusable containers and bags.
Reuse plastic bags in your household
Plastic grocery bags have a second life outside of the store. They’re great for collecting food scraps, or even as small garbage can liners. If you can avoid using them in the first place, that’s best of all.
Replace plastic bottles with glass options
Metal and glass water bottles have emerged as an eco-friendly way to reuse and reduce.
Consider sustainable shipping and packing methods
With an increase in e-commerce over the past few years, there has also been an increase in innovative solutions for packaging and shipping that keep the environment in mind. These companies are helping reduce waste by offering sustainable packaging and shipping solutions to reduce your carbon footprint.
Look for cloth produce bags instead of plastic ones, reusable paper lunch bags instead of plastics ones and refillable water bottles instead of those single-use plastic water bottles. You can also order more eco-friendly products online.
Recycle your plastic
There are free recycling programs funded by brands, manufacturers, governments, and retailers around the world to help you collect and recycle plastic and other waste materials. PET is the most widely recycled material ; most clean plastic bottles, jugs, and tubs can be recycled.
Here are a few tips to start living a greener and healthier life, while reduce your impact on the environment.