Simple Ways To Green Your Kitchen

The kitchen often serves as the heart of a home, so why not make yours more eco-friendly? Here’s a list of some easy ways to keep your kitchen a little greener.

Use Greener Cleaners

Chemical-based cleaners can be harsh on both you and your wallet. Baking soda sprinkled on a damp sponge is terrific for scouring; distilled white vinegar diluted with water (use equal parts of each) will make windows and mirrors sparkle. Inexpensive liquid Castile soap, found at most grocery stores, is a great all-purpose cleaner for sinks, counters and other surfaces. These nontoxic, environmentally friendly substitutes take care of messes for a whole lot less.

Watch Your Water Usage

Many regions of the country are dealing with chronic water shortages, so do your part to preserve this precious resource. An easy way to cut down on water use—and your monthly utility bill—is by installing an inexpensive, low-flow aerator on your sink’s faucet. When using your dishwasher, don’t hand-rinse the dishes first—that only wastes water. And only run a load when the racks are full.

Say No To Paper Towels

Rather than waste roll upon roll of paper towels, do the forests a favor and switch to natural-fiber dishcloths. Washable, reusable kitchen cloths made from organically grown, 100 percent cotton, like these tea towels from Branch, are a great alternative to paper—and much better looking, too.

Beat The Heat

Instead of firing up the oven to reheat leftover pizza or cook small dishes, use the toaster oven or microwave, advises Energy Star, a joint program of the EPA and the U.S. Department of Energy. In fact, you can reduce your cooking energy consumption by as much as 80 percent when you use the microwave to heat small portions. Another benefit: When you run the air conditioner in the summer, your house won’t be as warm with the oven off, so you’ll use less energy.

Get a Countertop Composter

Don’t discard it, compost it! Turn kitchen scraps like vegetable peelings, eggshells and coffee grinds into rich fertilizer for your garden, local park or city block. With a stylish, compact kitchen composting crock, such as this one from the Gardener’s Supply Company, it’s easy to do some good for the planet. Plus, it will never stain and has an activated-carbon filter to trap odors.

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