Green Tips for Your Kitchen
A lot of waste comes out of our kitchen. After our cars, the kitchen leaves one of our biggest environmental footprints. Our dream kitchens with double ovens, extra-large refrigerators, water and heat consuming dishwashers, time saving appliances for every job, and oodles of garbage including packaging and food waste, all add up to a drain on our environment and foil our conservation efforts.
Here are some easy ways to make important changes:
- Recycle: Only about 30% of consumer packaging is actually being recycled. So start adding all those bottles, plastics, boxes, cans, jars, packaging and junk mail to your blue bins.
- Compost: 1/3 to 1/2 of every household’s waste is made up of organic materials. So if you are not composting you are sending too much to the landfill! Grains, egg shells, baked goods, tea bags, coffee grounds, cardboard, paper towels, perennial weeds, grass clippings, leaves and lint from the dryer can all be composted.
- Electric kettles use less energy than their stovetop counterparts.
- Use cloth dishtowels and napkins instead of paper.
- Buy natural cleaners instead of toxic products, or consider making your own household cleaners!
- Picnicking or camping? Pick up a set of lightweight, washable dishes rather than disposable plates.
- Replacing a stove? Consider an energy saving unit with an Induction Cooktop. Gas stoves use less energy than electric ones.
- Use a toaster oven for preparation rather than a conventional oven.
- Take reusable shopping bags and bins to the grocery store instead of taking home plastic shopping bags.
Cleaning House the “Green” Way!
- Make sure hazardous waste such as paint, used motor oils, pharmaceuticals, and batteries are disposed of properly at a household hazardous waste depot.
- Buy natural cleaners instead of toxic products, or consider making your own cleaners!
- Use reusable cloths and rags instead of paper towels to clean
- Take old clothes, books, toys and furniture to a reuse centre or organize a garage sale. Remember your junk is someone else’s treasure try the local Freecycle group.
- Consider donating fabric scraps, magazines and cardboard to local schools or daycares for arts and crafts projects.
- Take a moment to clean up litter around your home. Litter can take anywhere from a few weeks to thousands of years to decompose.
- Some clothes that are labeled "dry clean only" can be washed carefully by hand. If you must dry-clean look for a cleaning company that recycles the chemicals it uses.
- When the weather is warm hang your clothes to dry instead of using a dryer.
Make Your Own Cleaning Products!
Vinegar and Water can be used to clean glass and windows, mix 2 tbsp (30 ml) to 1 qt of water
To clean stainless steel, chrome, fiberglass, ceramic, porcelain or enamel fixtures, dissolve 2 tbsp baking soda in 4 cups (1 L) of water.
Use baking soda as a carper freshener. Just sprinkle on your carpet and let it sit for 15 minutes before vacuuming.
Mix ½ cup (125 ml) vinegar and ¼ cup (50 ml) baking soda, into 8 cups (2 L) of water.
You can reduce lime deposits in your kettle or coffee maker by putting in a mixture of ½ cup (125ml) white vinegar and 2 cups (500 ml) water, and gently boiling or running it through the kettle or coffee maker. Rinse well with fresh water.
Moisten oven surfaces with sponge and water. Mix ¾ cup (175 ml) baking soda, ¼ cup (50 ml) salt and ¼ cup (50 ml) water to make a thick paste, and spread throughout oven interior, (avoid bare metal and any openings). Let sit overnight. Remove with spatula and wipe clean. Rub gently with fine steel wool for tough spots.
For top of stove, refrigerator and other surfaces that should not be scratched, use baking soda. Apply baking soda directly with a damp sponge.
For light drain cleaning, mix 1/2 cup (125 ml) salt in 4 liters water, heat (do not boil) and pour down the drain. For a stronger cleaning, pour about 1/2 cup (125 ml) baking soda down the drain, then 1/2 cup (125 ml) vinegar. The resulting reaction can break fatty acids down into soap and glycerine, allowing the clog to wash down the drain. After 15 minutes, pour in boiling water to clear residue. Caution: only use this method with metal plumbing. Plastic pipes can melt if excess boiling water is used. Also, do not use this method after a commercial drain opener--the vinegar can react with the drain opener to create fumes.