In celebration of Earth Day, we're sharing Elyse's Top Ten Tips to make your kitchen more sustainable and eco-friendly. More and more people are wanting to know how they can make a difference for the environment in their own daily lives. Our kitchens are one of the most impactful places to start making small changes for a better environment.
Elyse’s 10 Tips to Conserve Resources in the Kitchen:
1. Reduce water. Save water by rinsing your dishes as soon as you’re finished eating. Less food stuck to the plate means you’ll need less water to scrub clean. Only run your dishwasher when it is completely maxed out.
2. Cook once, eat twice. Double recipes and get creative with leftovers so that you can buy less ingredients, run your oven less frequently, and stretch meals further.
3. Meal prep. Reduce food waste by prepping your fresh ingredients in advance. You’ll be a lot more likely to use up that bunch of kale or head of lettuce if you wash and chop it all at once and then store it in an airtight glass container.
4. Minimize plastic. It can be really hard to completely eliminate plastic in our kitchens since even whole foods like meat, rice or dried beans often come wrapped in plastic, but you can use a lot less plastic by skipping the zipper bags and plastic wrap. Instead use silicone bags and glass storage containers. Mason jars in a variety of sizes are inexpensive and versatile or recycle PB jars and yogurt tubs for food storage.
5. Cook more. The more you cook from scratch the less you’ll depend on packaged foods, which will significantly reduce your amount of trash and plastic. Bake cookies, energy bars, granola, muffins, bread and make sauces and salad dressing from scratch and store it in reusable containers in your fridge or freezer.
6. Buy in bulk. For pantry staples that you use frequently, look for larger quantities or bring your own containers to refill at the bulk bins. A huge bag of rice or a large tub of coconut oil, which will last for months, uses less resources than lots of small bags and containers. A well-stocked pantry also means less frequent trips to the grocery store—save gas!
7. Go local. As much as possible shop at the farmers market. When you buy produce or packaged foods from halfway around the world it takes an incredible amount of fuel to transport them to your door. Also local ingredients are more nutrient-dense and delicious. Win-win.
8. Shop organic. Organic farming practices are better for our bodies and better for the planet. The most important foods to stick to organic are fruits and veggies with no skin (or skin that you eat like apples), meat, dairy, and eggs.
9. Bring your own bags. Most of us already bring our own shopping bags, but it’s also worth investing in reusable cloth or mesh produce bags to eliminate single-use plastic in the produce section.
10. Edible garden. This one I haven’t mastered yet, but if you have the time and space, you can grow a lot of your own produce right in your own backyard to save money and the environment.