Page 1 of 3Greening your life—reducing your impact on the environment—takes a little research and planning. Because the kitchen is the most waste-producing room in an average house, it's a great place to start. The best way to do it is slowly, by starting with the easy, budget-friendly choices and moving on from there. Here are eight simple ways to green your kitchen.
1. Exile excessive packaging. Oats, popcorn, flour, pasta, dried fruit, beans, and even cereal can be purchased in the bulk section (also called the bag and weigh section) of your local natural foods grocery. Some mainstream supermarkets are even catching on to this eco-friendly trend. You simply scoop what you want out of a large covered bin and then the cashier weighs it when you check out. Although the store usually provides plastic bags, bringing your own reusable containers is a better option. Have a cashier weigh your containers while empty, and then the cashier will subtract that weight from the filled container.
If you can’t find your favorite foods in the bulk section, try to select the largest size that you can reasonably use (white vinegar will last forever, and can be purchased in gallon jugs, for example), or choose the brand that is packaged in cardboard or recyclable plastic, and be sure to recycle it when you’re through.
If you’re packing your lunch, use reusable containers instead of plastic baggies for lunch items, and tote them all to work or school in a reusable lunch bag. Many of these bags are insulated too, so your lunch will stay fresher.
BONUS: Packaging costs money too, so by buying in bulk and portioning out the food yourself, you'll save cash!
2. Consider compost. Onion peels, carrot trimmings, apple cores, and egg shells will all become nutrient-rich dirt in a few months if you toss them in the compost. If they wind up in the landfill however, chances are they’ll stick around for a lot longer. Oxygen is necessary to keep the decomposing process moving along, but landfills are designed to keep air and water out. A carrot stick in a landfill could stick around for over a decade.
To compost, you can buy or build a compost bin, or if you have a big yard, a simple compost pile will work just as well. If you don’t have a yard, check out worm composting, which you can do in your own kitchen. Completed compost can be used to fertilize vegetable or flower gardens, container gardens, and even houseplants, returning nourishment to the soil instead of clogging up the already over-crowded landfills.