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Go green in the Kitchen! Go green in the Kitchen!
Local & fresh. Reduce production and transport wastage!An old fridge can be a huge energy hog.Compact Flourescent Lightbulbs can be 4 to 5 times more efficient than traditional bulbs.Composting is a great way to turn trash into treasure.

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Organic & Green Kitchen

Top Ten Ways to Go Green in Your Kitchen 

Did you know that by going green in the kitchen (using EnergyStar appliances) folks in America saved over $12 billion in utility bills and cut emissions equivalent to 23 million cars? The kitchen is one of the places that people use the most energy, yes even more than that monstrous sixty-two inch plasma screen TV. In fact, in Western Australia people on average used 12% of their household energy in the kitchen, and in undeveloped countries such as Ghana that number skyrockets to 67%. Obviously then, the best place to start if you want to make your house more eco-friendly, is the kitchen. To help you along, we have provided a top ten list of ways to go green in your kitchen. Some are big, some are small, but every little bit counts!

1.   Unplug Those Appliances

Of course, the reason why we consume so much energy in the kitchen in because we have all of these fancy appliances at our disposal. In truth, most of the time these machines are plugged in, but we aren't even using them. Even so, they continue to draw power, just waiting for the moment when you might want to come by and microwave something. In fact, Americans spend $4 billion a year feeding our phantom electricity load, which is the name given to electricity drawn when it is not needed. All you need to do is unplug your appliances when you are finished using them. The obvious exception is the refrigerator, which we will tackle later.

2.   Invite Natural Light Into Your Home

Going green in your kitchen doesn't just involve appliances, it also involves the light we so desperately need to make sure we are putting paprika, and not nutmeg, on our chicken. One of the best ways to light up your kitchen is to invite natural light into your home. It's clean, free, and has a quality that just can't be matched by indoor lighting. Sometimes this is a project best saved for remodeling, but if that is something you are thinking of doing in your kitchen, remember to add windows and skylights to the list of new additions.

3.  Use Natural Cleaners

These days we have many options in cleaners, so there is no reason why we should be buying chemical cocktails to clean our kitchens with. The natural cleaners on the market are plant-based and biodegradable, and usually don't cost too much more than traditional cleaners. Of course, if your want to take an extra step with going green in your kitchen you can make your cleaners at home. There is no stain that vinegar cannot get rid of, and when combined with baking soda, it is a fizzy and fearsome cleaner.

4.  Utilize CFL Light Bulbs

In the past fluorescent lighting has been associated with bad glare and unattractive light. But the new compact fluorescent bulbs have much better quality light, and are four to five times more efficient that a regular incandescent bulb. They may cost a little more at the store, but the price is more than offset by the money you'll save on your energy bill.

5. Replace Your Old Fridge

If your fridge is ten years old or more then it is very likely the biggest energy hog in your entire house. In fact, in a worst case scenario a really old clunker fridge could be eating up 15% of your household energy! Current EnergyStar model refrigerators require about half as much energy as models made in 1993 or earlier. Don't throw your old fridge away though. Many communities have recycling programs that will prevent your old clunker from ending up in a landfill.

 6.  Remodel with Renewable Flooring

When the time comes to remodel, go green in your kitchen! Besides inviting more natural light into your home another great tip for green remodeling is to utilize renewable flooring. Many laminates are now made with natural products like linseed oil. Bamboo flooring is also very popular because it has the beautiful look of hardwoods, but grows many times faster than trees traditionally used for flooring.

7.  Fill Up Your Dishwasher

Many folks come from the school of washing dishes after every meal to keep a clean and tidy kitchen. Well, it may be tidy, but it's definitely not green. Wait to run the dishwasher until it is full in order to save both water and electricity. Find yourself unable to fill up the dishwasher? When the time comes to replace your appliances, consider getting a smaller model.

8.  Waste Not Want Not

Not only do we waste energy and water in our kitchens, but we also waste food. Tossing out leftovers may not have a huge impact on your carbon footprint, but it is really a missed opportunity. Part of a truly green kitchen involves storing food properly, and creating compost piles. Invest in good storage containers for food, and get a compost bin, the results of which can be used on your garden to grow huge and healthy plants.

9.      Buy Food Locally

Part of the ecological impact of our kitchens also comes from the food we buy. If it has been flown thousands of miles just to get to your fridge, it is food that has guzzled up a whole bunch of gas. Buying food locally supports farmers and the community, and cuts down on the high carbon cost of foods grown in other countries.

10.  Make it Last!

Perhaps the most important thing to remember when going green in your kitchen is to make what you have last. The best way to cut down on waste is to make what you have work. It is far greener to work with what you have than to buy the latest eco-gadget. So stick with that fridge for a year or two before buying a new model, and when you do buy new appliances, make sure you buy quality products that will stand the test of time. Ultimately it is this last tip that will have the biggest effect on going green in your kitchen.

References

  • http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?c=refrig.pr_refrigerators
  • http://www1.sedo.energy.wa.gov.au/pages/energyus.asp
Submitted by cennywenny on Sep 29, 2008