With global warming making the weather a hazard and pollution rampant around the world, we are all trying to do our best to keep our lives on the right side of the environmental debate. Electric cars, renewable energy sources and sustainable lifestyles are no longer just things that are fashionable — they are necessary.
One of the largest producers of waste in our homes comes from our kitchens. It’s not just the food itself, but the packages and containers that everything comes in today. Plastic pollution is ruining many of our waterways and has become one of the most troubling issues of our time.
There are some simple and affordable ways to do your part to keep your carbon footprint just a little bit smaller. You may think that it is difficult for just one family to have an impact on such a vast issue, but as with any change in the world, it can start small. Take a look at some of these environmentally friendly kitchen tips that can help you save time, money and the world that we live in.
Recycled Paper Products
Every kitchen has a rack for paper towels. Although they are a great convenience for picking up quick spills and messes, unless they are made from all recycled materials, they are a drain on the environment. There are many products out there to choose from that are made from recycled materials. For your small kitchen clean-ups, consider using fabric tea towels and washcloths that can be reused over and over. Although the cloth alternative still needs to be washed to be reused, it requires less of a carbon footprint than creating more trash in the bin.
Avoid Non-Recycled Packaging
In any grocery store, there are endless aisles filled with shelves of cardboard or plastic packaging. Manufacturers are trying to keep their products safe from damage or spoiling during transit, but the real damage comes when their containers make it to the landfill. This style of packaging not only takes up more room in your cupboards, but more room in the recycle box or trash.
Plastic containers or packaging can take years to degrade and end up sitting in the landfill for decades. The obvious step here is to try to avoid any plastic packages all together. When products come in a cardboard container, check the box to see whether or not the company is using recycled packaging. For things like coffee pods that used to all be plastic, there are some now available in recycled materials as well. It may seem like a small thing but when you consider that you throw away anywhere from 1 to 5 of these small plastic containers a day, it can really add up quickly.
Buy In Bulk
There are many nationwide chain bulk stores now where you can get just about anything. Take your own bags with you to avoid the plastic collection bags they may have available at the stores. Some places offer paper alternatives, but you can always take your own as well. Buying products in bulk is almost always the cheaper alternative, so why not save some money and buy your baking goods, cereals, pet food and snacks without any of the packaging to dispose of? Storing your bulk foods in sealed waterproof containers can also make them last much longer.
Water Filters & Drinking Containers
One of the largest contributors to the plastics pollution issue is plastic water bottles. One of the easiest ways to cut down on your use of plastics in a big way is to give up the bottle. The oceans, waterways and landfills are stocked full of plastic water bottles that have been thrown away.
Although bottles can be put in the recycling bin to be broken down and reused, we all know that those bottle don’t always make it into the blue bin. There are hundreds of quality water filters for your taps or your fridge dispenser that can provide you with filtered water for drinking and cooking. Invest in a good metal or recycled plastic water drinking bottle to have something to carry around with you instead of a plastic container.