If you’re looking to live a greener lifestyle, a wonderful place to begin is at the kitchen. But instead than attempting to create sweeping changes straight away (that could be self-defeating), try taking on one small, easy change at a time and repeat it before it becomes a habit you no longer have to think about. Here are 10 ideas for where to begin.
1. Deal with excuses. This is an excellent first step to take, no matter which habit you’re trying to alter. Think about what’s been stopping you from taking a new habit that you wish to test, and brainstorm potential solutions.
Let’s take using cloth towels instead of paper towels for cleanup:
Excuse: “Some things are simply too gross to wipe up with fabric.”
Solution: Use very cheap rags for messy chores and toss them right in a hamper at the kitchen. In addition, don’t be afraid to replace old rags from time to time — and go right ahead and keep a roll of paper towels hidden away for emergencies. No one said you have to go cold turkey.
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2. Look for local, organic food. Make going organic a fun event by making an effort to navigate a local farmer’s market once a week. You can find farmer’s markets and roadside stands locally through Local Harvest.
When purchasing all organic is too pricey, start with the foods known to contain the greatest amounts of pesticides and foods which you eat a lot of. Read up about the “Dirty Dozen” fruits and veggies on Dr. Andrew Weil’s website.
3. Use a water filter instead of drinking bottled water. Many people know that there is a problem with excessive plastic waste from the world, and that person bottles of water are a large portion of the problem. Fortunately, this is a fairly easy one to cure in the home, either by installing an undersink filter or even using a pitcher filter. If you like chilled water, simply fill out a glass pitcher from your freshly filtered tap and keep it in the refrigerator.
Ready to take it a step farther? Fill your own water bottle to bring on outings, so you won’t be tempted to purchase a bottle as you’re out.
4. Gently replace plastics. Any moment you notice a plastic container which has lost its own lid, has stains or cracks, take the opportunity to throw it in favor of a glass container. I am a big lover of glass bowls with lids — they can be used for meal prep and storing leftovers, and can be safely microwaved, too (remove lids first).
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5. Reduce your dependence on paper towels. Should you discover yourself reaching for a paper towel to clean up every last spill and trickle, this may be a tough step to tackle. I suggest stocking up on a huge bundle of dish towels and placing them in strategic areas throughout the kitchen. Even if you keep a roll of paper towels from the cupboard for extra-messy scenarios, if you can use a cloth towel 75 percent of this time, you will do good.
6. Decrease packaging. Requiring a little more attention than the ideas up to the point, becoming aware of packaging on regular items you purchase is something which can be developed over time. A wonderful place to start is by choosing a few ingredients from the bulk bins instead of the aisles of the supermarket. You will often save money by purchasing in bulk, and storing grains and beans in glass jars in the pantry is easy, pretty and functional.
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7. Switch to nontoxic cleaners. The majority of the time, it is unnecessary to utilize powerful cleaners on regular household messes. In case the mess you’re cleaning up is less harmful than the product which you are using to wash it, that’s a clear sign you could scale back a little. Notably with little ones at the home, it seems much safer to utilize organic cleaners on floors and counters.
As with all these ideas, there is space for moderation. There’s no reason to trash all your old standby cleaning products — only reserve them for occasional deep cleansing and times there has been an illness at the home.
8. Reduce waste. If you were able to cut down some packing waste per suggestion number six, bravo! The next step is to think about reducing the food waste that usually gets chucked in the bin. Composting is simpler than you might think, and once you get started creating your own “black gold” (compost), your garden will thank you. Discover how to get started making compost and create your own DIY compost bin for $15 on Simple Mom.
Do not have a garden? Some cities offer food waste containers which are collected and additional recycling bins and used in a city composting program. Speak to your town to find out if there is a program in your area.
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9. Use cloth napkins for regular meals. Should you reach for paper napkins at each meal, consider swapping them to get a inexpensive pair of everyday napkins. I suggest getting a dark color like chocolate brown or even a pleasure print which will hide stains. To prolong their use between washings, pick up a different napkin ring for every family member.
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10. Replace old nonstick cookware. There has been conflicting evidence about the protection of nonstick cookware comprising Teflon. To be on the safe side, if you become aware of an older skillet becoming scratched up, throw it. Replace the old nonstick with stainless steel, cast iron or enameled cast iron pans.
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Bonus: 11. Plant a garden. When you’ve got the space, consider giving up a number of your lawn space to get a productive potager, also known as a garden. Start small, in a raised bed with only a couple of plants all your favourite things to eat.
Grow Your Own Herbs, Fruits and Vegetables