Do's and Don't's of Going Green in Your Kitchen
Going green in your home isn’t just about conserving the environment. It’s also about learning self-sustainability which means learning how to spend and waste less by reusing, recycling, and making your own food and products. Now we don’t expect everyone to run out and buy their own chickens but we can all learn how to re-grow our own veggies and, in turn, save a ton of money. If you’re looking for ways to add more money to your kitchen renovation budget, going green is a great way to pinch pennies. The best part? Going green is so simple, you can start today with these tips.
Sans the plastic.
You may think you’re already “going green” by reusing those Country Crock containers and plastic storage bowls but the truth is, these products were not meant to be used long-term. In fact, these containers reach a point of no return, meaning they can’t be cleaned anymore and have to be tossed. Silicone containers are made to be reused and can be purchased for a little more than plastic containers. Another plastic storage product you should replace? Clear plastic wraps that serve as makeshift storage tops. Make the switch to reusable, washable wraps instead.
Give fruit and veggies new life.
Did you know you can re-grow many fruits and vegetables from scraps of “used” produce? Most of them can be re-grown starting with just the scrap and a container of water. Check out 39 fruits, veggies, and herbs that can be regrown here. You can even grow some veggies and herbs right inside your kitchen with the help of one of these products. Before you toss those other produce items that can’t be regrown in the trash, give them a new life by tossing them into a compost pile.
Make your own cleaner.
Going green with your cleaning products can save you a ton of money. Our favorite multi-purpose cleaner is white vinegar. It can be used to clean everything from laundry to the kitchen sink to the bedroom carpet. We recommend mixing 2 cups of vinegar with 2 cups of water in a spray bottle to use as an all-purpose cleaner. Keep the rest of the vinegar in the laundry room as a stain remover and laundry softener.
Invest in green sponges and “paper” towels.
“Green” sponges and “paper” towels are made from natural, recyclable materials that can be cleaned and reused. The paper towels aren’t actually made from paper, which is why some refer to them as “unpaper” towels. These products cost a bit more than disposable paper and plastic products but they actually save money in the long run because they are long-lasting and reusable.
Use sturdy, long-lasting cookware and utensils.
Sure, nonstick cookware is nice...while it lasts. But Teflon products are notoriously short-lived and there’s a reason your grandmother prefers using cookware made from cast iron and stainless steel. Cookware made from these materials are built to last a lifetime. The initial investment in these types of cookware is more expensive than investing in cheaper products but you save money long-term because you likely won’t have to purchase new cookware for many years, if ever. The same can be said for investing in good utensils.
Choose filtered instead of bottled water.
Tap filters, filter pitchers, and reusable water bottles save a lot of money and reduce the amount of plastic waste. If you do stick to bottled water, consider adding a recycling bin to your home so the plastic can be re-used.
Buy and cook in bulk.
If you can store it long-term or it has a long shelf life, buy it in bulk especially when it’s on sale. Meal-planning and prepping aren’t just for people trying to eat healthy, it’s for families who need to save money and time. Spending an afternoon on your day off preparing freezer meals and meals for the week reduces waste and saves time during busy weeknights. You’ll also save money by avoiding the temptation to go for cheap fast food during busy evenings filled with sports and other recreational activities.
Be energy-efficient when cooking.
You don’t have to invest in a solar oven to save energy when you cook. Just use items like a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or electric skillet when you can to avoid turning on the oven or stove.