It’s Earth Day ~ and a great time to take stock ~ do you run an environmentally friendly, sustainable, healthy kitchen? Are you making the best choices for your family and our planet? Here are 20 easy steps to a greener kitchen this year.
Sometimes it takes a kick in the pants to do the right thing, and Earth Day reminds me that I need to try harder to keep a green kitchen. I try to make good choices, but I only score an 11 out of 20 on my own list, how do you guys measure up? ~ I’d love to hear how you cut down on chemicals and waste in your kitchens, let’s trade secrets…
DIY REUSEABLE OILCLOTH BOWL COVERS
If you sew, these adorable bowl caps are such a fantastic project, and make great host gifts, too. They’re washable and reusable and replace all that plastic wrap in landfills that can take up to 1000 years to degrade. Um, this is a no-brainer. And if you aren’t crafty you can buy lots of festive cloth bowl covers on Etsy.
Why make your own soap? You’ll avoid the harmful chemicals that are often found in store bought soaps like the powerful antibiotic Triclosan, parabens, Dioxane, and Sodium Lauryl Sulfate, which all eventually go into our groundwater. Homemade soap is easier than you think, and there are endless variations. This is a good one for beginners. More in depth soap making info here.
They come from one of my American Artisans, and I just love them. These beautifully crafted waxed canvas bags, made in Portland Oregon, look just like paper, but they’ll haul groceries for a lifetime. You can get lunch bag sizes, too. Brilliant.
Why buy ‘fresh’ herbs in those plastic boxes that pile up in our landfills when you can grow your own so easily in the kitchen. The herbs are fresher because they’re living! If you don’t have counter space, I love this ingenious hanging system. For a simpler set up, try this Herb Planting Kit.
REUSEABLE SILICONE STORAGE BAGS
Responsible baggies, who knew? If you’re hooked on the convenience of plastic zip lock baggies (I know I am) give these a try. BPA-free, self-sealing and airtight, made of an extra-durable silicone for use over and over again. Dishwasher safe, too.
One of the easiest ways to go green in the kitchen and throughout the house is to simply replace paper towels with cloth. The key is to buy lots of them to start with so you don’t run out between washes. You can even buy cute cloth paper towels made to fit right onto your paper towel holder, how convenient.
If you want to make a difference, eat meatless once a week. Raising cattle is tough on Mother Earth and the atmosphere. Cows use up an inordinate amount of land, water, and plant based food, and they create more greenhouse emissions than cars, boats, planes, and trains combined. Yikes, hand me that veggie burger!
Crocheted dish rags come in handy when you need something super absorbent in the kitchen. You can get homemade dish scrubbies, too.
You recycle paper and plastic, so why not recycle your veggies while you’re at it??
Cleaning your kitchen can be a toxic experience ~ The Environmental Working Group has compiled a cleaning product HALL OF SHAME…are any of your favorites there? Luckily it’s easy to go green when you clean, and there are countless brilliant homemade cleaning supply ‘recipes’ out there to clean everything from the sink to the microwave to your stainless steel appliances ~ I love it!
When they came out with those disposable cleaning wipes everybody thought it was the greatest idea, until we really thought about it…with every wipe the landfill grows. These diy all natural reusable wipes just make sense. You can make floor cleaning wipes (Swiffer style) too.
DIY FRINGED NAPKINS IN WATERCOLOR LINEN
This is the easiest first step if you’re looking to go greener…ditch the paper and use cloth napkins. They’re SO much nicer and family meals all of a sudden feel a little more…dignified. Make them yourself (the fringed napkins below require no sewing!) or buy them, it’s all good.
This is one of my favorite eco-hacks, and they really work!
DIY FRUIT AND VEGGIE SPRAY WASH
We all know it’s important to wash our fruits and veggies, but did you know that you can make a natural wash yourself and skip the plastic bottled stuff? The homemade versions range from easy to super easy. Smart.
I love this stuff, and if you don’t have the inclination to make it yourself, you can buy it here.
Silicone sleeved glass water bottles are one of my favorite things. I always have one with me, on my desk, in my car…they feel great in the hands, and they encourage me to hydrate. I LOVE them!! Plastic water bottles are one of the biggest threats to our health and environment, so just give them up, period.
If you eat healthy and cook lots of veggies you probably know how those plastic produce bags can mount up. Breathable mesh bags are washable and reusable, and so much better than plastic for keeping things fresh. I own these bags and love them, but there are lots of choices on Amazon.
REPLACEABLE CLEANING SPONGE WITH BAMBOO HANDLE
Sometimes you just need to get things CLEAN. I get that, but why not do it with this sustainable scrub brush with replaceable head.
If you don’t compost your kitchen scraps you might want to start in ’18.
When you buy your food at a farmers market you know you’re buying local. You’re supporting local agriculture and your food doesn’t have to be shipped long distances. Farmers markets carry lots of organic options, too. Handy market locators search by zip code to let you know what’s in your area. When I punched in mine I discovered 2 new markets I didn’t even know about!
If you cook a lot you wash your hands alot, so this gentle, natural homemade product makes a lot of sense. You can find all sorts of pretty pump jars, but I love to use foam pump dispensers because you use less product and it rinses quicker.
Questions and Reviews
Great list, Sue. Thanks!
I especially love the idea of hanging herb pots from a curtain rod. Such an easy and obvious solutions it seems almost silly that in all the times I’ve thought about how I could hang herbs this way never crossed my mind – but it never did.
Thanks Kimi ~ I’m hoping to do another one of these posts this year, I think it’s such an important issue these days 🙂
I do or have almost all of the above! One of my simplest easy thing to do… When washing dishes. I soap as much of my items as i put them n the sink with a reusable nylon scrub cloth then I rinse over a large pot catching the water to use for watering my outdoor plants.
That’s so smart Renee, I read that the way most people do dishes by hand uses way more water than the dishwasher!
We compost everyday but I see so many more ideas I could add to our routine. Great post with terrific ideas 🙂
So many wonderful ideas, you’ve got me psyched!
Have you try the enviro cloths? I love them – they get everything super clean and shiny with no chemicals!
No, I haven’t tried those, but I’ve seen them advertised for all sorts of stuff, including removing makeup with just water. They’ve really come out with some great products lately.
Just found them on Amazon, I’m ordering some 🙂
great reminders, thank you! what home made liquid hand soap do you use?
What I do is combine an eco friendly brand of dish soap, like Meyer’s Clean Day, and combine with water in a foam dispenser. It’s cheap and works great.
Thank you for these inspiring ideas. Instead pf paper towels I buy a large pack of 100% cotton cleaning cloths at Costco. I do not recall the price, but they are really a good price. I used them with white vinegar for cleaning a whole host of household surfaces.
That’s a great idea, Lynn!