How to make your kitchen more eco-friendly
Did you know, besides the lighting and central heating, your kitchen is the greatest source of energy consumption in your entire home?
In fact, your kitchen appliances are collectively responsible for around a quarter of your electricity bill.
As for water, an average of 20 litres flows through every kitchen sink in Britain, every single day.
Source: European Commission (PDF, 79KB)
And let’s not get started on the amount of waste that comes from your kitchen – it could be as much as 20 kilos of plastic per household, per year.
So, if you’re trying to reduce your home’s carbon footprint (not to mention your monthly bills), the kitchen is a great place to start. But what can you do to make your kitchen more eco-friendly?
Here are our top five tips…
1. Get smart with your oven
According to OVO Energy, a decent oven will keep its temperature for up to 10 minutes after it’s switched off (so long as you keep the door shut). So, one way to cut down on energy is to turn the oven off a little earlier while cooking.
Source: OVO Energy
You can also recycle leftover oven heat into your home once you’ve finished by safely leaving the door open or ajar if you have kids running around. Who needs radiators when you’ve got all that hot air that would otherwise go to waste?
To make the most of your oven, keep it clean and degreased all year round. Ovens with lots of gunk inside will take longer to heat up and are less energy efficient – which could end up costing you extra in the long-run.
2. Switch to a dishwasher
While it may seem an expensive purchase, a dishwasher could help you to slash your water consumption and save you money over time.
As you may already know, it’s the more eco-friendly option compared to washing dishes in the sink.
In fact, a good dishwasher uses less than a third of the water needed to hand-wash your dishes.
And considering your kitchen tap can splash through up to nine litres of water per minute, that could add up to quite a big saving on your water bills.
Source: Goodhouse Keeping
3. Shop for whole foods
From the pantry to the crisper drawer, your kitchen is probably chock-full of plastic packaging.
In fact, a BBC documentary estimated there to be over 7,000 bits of plastic contained in the kitchens of every residential street in the UK.
Reducing the amount of plastic in your kitchen isn’t easy, but it can be done – and it starts by changing the way you shop for food.
Instead of relying on supermarket products in plastic packaging, try to find fresh, unwrapped produce and ingredients at markets. Who needs things like lettuce, nuts and berries to come wrapped in plastic after all?
If you’re worried about keeping produce fresher for longer, one simple trick is to store items in glass jars.
4. Think about your materials
If you’re thinking of revamping, repairing or adding to your kitchen, don’t miss your opportunity to make the whole space more eco-friendly.
When it comes to building cabinets and work surfaces, don’t settle for non-recyclable MDF.
Instead, look for sustainable, FSC-certified timber. Not only is it better for the environment, you can find plenty of lovely styles – and you can even get that ‘real wood’ smell in your kitchen!
These types of wood are easy to find at most major retailers. And if you’re looking to go even further, why not shop around for other sustainable materials too?
Keep an eye out for recycled glass, metal and perhaps even whole fittings – choosing a second-hand cabinet is far cheaper and much better for the environment.
5. Think about the little things too
There are all sorts of other little changes you can make around the kitchen to make it an eco-friendly part of your home.
Why not make the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products? From compostable sponges and cleaning cloths to ecological cleaning chemicals, and even bin bags made with recycled plastic, there are all sorts of environmentally friendly options out there.
Some companies even let you refill your containers which can help you to cut down on plastic waste too.
There are all sorts of ways to start to make your kitchen more eco-friendly. For other ways to reduce the carbon footprint of your home, visit Halifax’s Green Living site and get inspired.