Environmental concerns are most often associated with the outdoors: recycling, protecting endangered species, and conserving energy. However, there is one place in your home that may be (unknowingly) harming the environment and it is just “a stone’s throw” away from your front door.
The culprit? Your kitchen. Although this room has many benefits such as saving you money, cooking beautiful and delicious meals, and making life easier, if it is not done right, this place can be incredibly wasteful. Below are ways to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly so that you cut down on energy and other harmful emissions:
When was the last time you saw a new refrigerator? It has been a while, huh? Well, it is time to replace them. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, your appliances are responsible for up to 20% of household energy consumption – especially older ones!
If you do not want to purchase new appliances entirely, try looking to clean or repair old appliances. The rubber lining that helps keep your fridge airtight can start to wear out over time. Replacing the lining can help keep it airtight and run more efficiently. Appliances tend to build up dust and gunk over long periods of use, ensuring they are clean can make them operate more efficiently.
It may seem like you are doing yourself a favor by placing less load in the washer, but you are actually hurting yourself and polluting more! When you run a dishwasher with only a few items, there is more room for water and detergents. This means that you are wasting as much as 50% of the water used in the wash cycle as well as all of those detergents! Overloading your dishwasher actually makes it use less energy to clean items because it uses less water and detergents.
If you find that it is hard to fill your dishwasher, try making sure dishes and pans are properly cleaned before placing them in the machine. If they still do not all fit, reduce your usage or purchase a smaller dishwasher (look for the Energy Star label).
One of the easiest ways to save on the amount of energy used in your kitchen is to use less water. By turning off the faucet while you are washing dishes, shaving with a razor, or scrubbing pans clean with steel wool, you can reduce water usage in your home by up to 30%. What seems like a small action can make a big difference!
Keep in mind that not all effects on the environment are as noticeable as others. While you clean your home, recycle trash and compost food waste, do not forget to think about those everyday actions that seem like they don’t matter but actually add up over time. Taking those few extra seconds to turn off the water or turn off the lights can save you money and reduce harmful emissions into the environment. By doing so, you are taking part in an effort to make your kitchen more environmentally friendly!