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10 Tips for a More Eco-Friendly Kitchen

As news of global climate change protests flood the media, it’s no surprise that many individuals are beginning to think twice about buying that case of plastic water bottles at the grocery store. Climate change is a global phenomenon, and one, protesters argue, that requires a global solution. But did you know there are small changes you can make in your daily life that could have a lasting impact on the environment without stretching your wallet? Check out these 10 tips to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.

1. Ditch the Chemicals: Common store-bought cleaners can contain harsh, toxic substances that aren’t good for the environment or your home. Pass on the commercial cleaners and make your own. Household products like baking soda, lemon and white vinegar can clean just as well and don’t have toxic effects on animal and plant life after they leave your drain.  

2. Grow Your Own: Growing your own produce helps save money and the environment by bypassing the need for pollution-heavy transportation and prolonged refrigeration times. Investments like Tower Garden allow you to grow fresh fruits and veggies in the convenience of your own yard. The Tower Garden aeroponic growing system recycles 100% of its nutrients and water, making it more environmentally-friendly than conventional farming.

3. Cut Back on Paper Products: Avoid waste by purchasing cloth napkins and dishtowels in place of paper products. Reusable and more durable than paper goods, cloth napkins can be more efficient and cheaper in the long run.

4. Stock-Up Your Fridge: While it may seem unlikely, keeping your refrigerator stocked actually helps it use less energy.  When your fridge is full and you open the door, the cool air has a harder time escaping, helping the appliance to retain its temperature.  

5. Eat Less Meat: Meat production produces more greenhouse gases than any other protein. While eating meat has many nutritional benefits, making an effort to observe Meatless Mondays can help to reduce carbon emissions and save you money. Opt for high-protein foods like beans and Greek yogurt when making substitutions for meat.  Juice Plus+ Complete products offer a great protein boost as well.

6. Unplug: Did you know that even when appliances are not powered on or in use they can still be wasting energy if they’re plugged in? Unplugging small appliances like your toaster or coffeemaker in between uses is an easy way to cut down on energy waste. An added bonus—it will also help you save on your energy bill.

7. Buy in Bulk: Buying and preparing your food in bulk can also make your kitchen greener. Purchasing in large quantities minimizes how often you run to the store and the amount of packaging you throw away. Additionally, prepping your food in bulk helps decrease energy usage. Prepare meals in big quantities and store in your refrigerator for quick, on-the-go meals throughout the week.

8. Use Your Dishwasher: It may come as a surprise, but using your dishwasher is much more energy-efficient than hand washing. Dishwashers dramatically decrease water use and most modern models are very energy-savvy. However, keep in mind to only run your washer when it’s full—running a half-empty load is extremely wasteful.  

9. Light the Grill: Grilling is a great, energy-saving way to cook your meals. Not only do grills require less energy than stoves, but they are also a healthier cooking medium, allowing foods to drop the fat instead of simmering in it. Don’t be afraid to get creative with the grill-- fruits like peaches and pineapples make delicious grilled desserts!

10. Pass on Plastic: Purchase higher quality cookware and utensils. Although it is initially more costly, this investment will pay off. Cast iron and stainless steel pots and pans, glass storage containers and metal utensils will not only last longer than their non-stick and plastic counterparts, but they are also better for the environment and your family.

Have any other suggestions for a more eco-friendly kitchen? Share in the comments below!

Sources:

http://eartheasy.com/live_nontoxic_solutions.htm
http://www.takepart.com/article/2010/11/29/10-tips-eco-friendly-kitchen
http://www.electricitysimplified.org/2013/08/maximum-efficiency-refrigerator/
http://greatist.com/happiness/eco-friendly-tips-save-cash
http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/articles/10-eco-friendly-kitchen-tips.html
http://www.towergarden.com/content/towergarden/en-us/tower-garden-benefits/smarter-gardening.html#.VDbFDmddWSo

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