3 steps to take for a sustainable kitchen
Whether you enjoy whipping up culinary delights day after day or save your cooking expertise for special occasions, take the time to incorporate environmental awareness into your kitchen. These changes can bring positive results in not only the dishes you serve but also for your household budget as well as helping to protect the planet too.
Stock your cupboards with delicious, nutritious locally sourced food and produce to feed your body and help save the planet. Buying locally not only helps to promote your regional economy, it also is a great way to take advantage of your area's homegrown food offerings. Whether your town lies on a river famed for its fish, or you live near fields that grow some of the freshest veggies in the country, you're sure to enjoy the process of buying and cooking ingredients that are only a stone's throw away. Be sure to carry your local market goods in produce bags for an eco-friendly storage option too.
Locally sourced goods reduce the need for transportation, cutting down on the amount of carbon emissions produced by trucks and other vehicles that would otherwise carry these items across the country, or even the world. As well as this, because there's less distance involved, you're more likely to end up with fresher fare on your dinner table.
Recent research conducted by the Centre for Environmental Farming Systems in the US states that "economic impact" and "entrepreneurial culture" as well as less energy usage are all key benefits of opting for locally produced food.
When cooking a family feast or casual dinner, it can be all too easy to use lots of electricity. Keep an eye on your cooker and kitchen appliances to ensure they're turned off when not in use, as stand-by functions can zap lots of power. Plus, this is bad for the planet as harmful carbon emissions can be created as well as drain precious resources.
As well as this, it can pay to be thoughtful with the types of lighting used in the kitchen – spotlights and hood lights are great for providing the directional, focused light to see what you're making clearly, but be sure to use energy-saving light bulbs and turn them off when not needed to lessen the chance of wasting power.
According to Origin, the Australian energy retailer, the average household in the country consumes approximately 6.5MWh of electricity each year, which equates to about $1,500-2,500 a year. This shows that being careful to select items with the most efficient ratings will help protect your pocket as well as the planet.
Waste not, want not
Clearing up the kitchen can also allow for plenty of ways to make the space more sustainable. Consider getting a compost bin to put all those leftover scraps in and grow your fruit and vegetable where possible. Don't just put cartons and other containers in the rubbish – recycle plastic, glass and cardboard as much as possible and opt for reusable bags to store food in to ensure you think before you throw.
Another good idea is to use eco-friendly products when washing and cleaning up too – use a bowl to limit the amount of water consumed and avoid planet-harming soaps and liquids. Be sure to fix any sink repairs too – according to Save Waster Australia, a water-saving initiative, dripping taps can waste up to 200 litres of water each day!
This philosophy can also be applied throughout your home, not just in the kitchen, for more effective and energy-efficient management of your household's rubbish. Many local councils offer recycling bins to promote sustainability and you can also take larger items to recycling centres. Turning off taps and lights straight after use in the kitchen and other living spaces is an easy and quick way to help the environment from the comfort of your own home.