It’s one thing to want a healthier, greener kitchen, but it’s another to actually make it happen…the trick is to take it in small, manageable steps… here are my top 3 tips for getting started…
How green is your kitchen? I’m not talking about the color of your back splash, I’m talking about a kitchen that leaves the smallest footprint possible on planet earth, while making sure our families are fed and healthy. Keeping a green kitchen is important to me, I’ve been working on it here at home for a few years now, and luckily, it seems like almost every day a cool new eco-friendly product hits the market to make that a whole lot easier.
So let’s get to it, I challenge you to implement these three simple but oh-so-critical, changes in your kitchen this year!
#1 embrace cloth
The very first step I made toward a greener kitchen was to stop buying paper products. This can be a bit revolutionary if you’re paper-dependent, so I suggest doing it in phases…
- The first thing to go were the paper napkins. I just stopped buying them. I keep a stash of cloth napkins on the counter and use them everyday. I don’t wash them everyday, though, we use them until the stains are obvious, and then toss ’em in the laundry pile. You can find inexpensive cloth napkins at discount department stores, Cost Plus, Pier I, and of course, you can always find them online. It’s fun to collect them according to a theme…I’m mad for plaid 🙂
- Next to go were paper towels. This was harder for me. Food blogging involves a lot of cooking, which involves a LOT of clean up — and spills. I used to depend on the convenience of paper towels but again, one day I made the commitment to just stop buying them. I now make do with a combination of cloth dishtowels and a pile of rags that I keep under the sink for messy spills. Remember my American Artisans feature on Thistle Rose Weaving and their beautiful hand woven dish towels? I love the idea of buying hand made pieces that are beautiful and sturdy. Etsy has some amazing examples, like the one below from Stillwater Weaving. When I surround myself with really special natural products it makes going green a pleasure. You can also find lots of washable cloth ‘paper towels’ on Amazon.
#2 ditch the plastics
There is so much plastic to give up it can be overwhelming — again, take it one step at a time.
- Once I read about the health hazards of microwaving and storing food in plastics, that part was a no-brainer. My Lifefactory glass water bottle, above, is my bff, we’re connected at the hip, I don’t go anywhere without her, (she’s like family.)
- I’m slowly collecting glass storage containers, too, so all that Tupperware is a distant memory.
- I just got my first mesh produce bags (top photo) and I’m so excited! Everybody at the grocery store asked about them…
- The hardest thing for me to give up were my precious zip lock baggies — I used them in so many ways! I’ve found a great solution, though… I love BeesWrap for storing everyday stuff like cut onions, and open pet food cans… whoever heard of food wrap that smells divine, anyway? You can even get compostable and reusable bags if you’re not ready to go cold turkey with your sandwiches just yet 😉
#3 keep it clean, but not too clean
Yup, it’s possible you’re getting things too clean, and spreading lots of toxins, pesticides and other chemicals around your kitchen and down the drain while you’re at it.
- Start with a small change…I know we all love to wash our hands, but those little plastic pump foam dispensers cost a lot, and are full of chemicals, dyes, and antibacterial nonsense that can actually be harmful to our health. Buy yourself some natural liquid hand or dish soap and squirt a bit into an empty foam pump dispenser (yes, you can use them again and again once they’re empty!) and fill the rest with water. Screw on the top and voila — you got a full bottle at a fraction of the cost of buying a new one. I’ve done this for years, and each foam dispenser generally lasts me at least 6-8 months. If you want to match your decor, add a drop of food coloring. You can also buy glass and metal dispensers, I have one made from a mason jar.
- If you’re ready to tackle more, you can see lots of household cleaning supplies that don’t rely on bad stuff.
please pin and share for Earth Day!
I’d love to hear how you guys go green in your kitchens — let’s share tips — together we can make it happen in 2016 🙂
Don’t forget to pin these 3 Simple Steps to a Greener Kitchen!
Questions and Reviews
I am beginning my green kitchen journey. I dug out some cloth napkins I had in a drawer and will begin using them for everyday, instead of just for company. I love yours. Where did you find them?
I’ve been collecting plaid cloth napkins for a while now, I pick them up wherever I see them at stores like Marshalls, World Market, etc.
I know this late but I just saw this post. I just started going green and I have given up paper towels in the kitchen, but napkins just a little harder.
It’s funny Pamela, I feel like it’s the opposite for me…I use cloth napkins and they work so well, I often just fold them up after a meal and use them again the next day, it feels so good not to be throwing away all that paper, doesn’t it?
I love your ideas. I quit using paper towels a couple of years ago. Instead I buy those packs of cheap terry cloth washcloths that are sold at Target tied up with a ribbon. I use a damp one to wipe the counters (with a spray cleanser). Then I wipe again with a clean dry washcloth. I use them daily and wash them often. And I make sure I always have a large supply. I don’t miss paper towels at all.
Every once in a great while, I miss them…and it usually involves making bacon 😉
Where is the recipe for homemade pita bread? I don’t see it anywhere!
This isn’t the pita bread post, Debbie, it’s here: https://theviewfromgreatisland.com/how-to-make-perfect-pita-bread-every-time/
I find it hardest to give up paper towels (although I only use about one roll in two weeks or so) and freezer bags. I’ve never heard of the bees wraps, they seem great, I have to search for them. One thing I am really proud of is that I don’t use any chemicals for cleaning the kitchen, just vinegar cleaner, which I mix with water. I use that for the floor and stove, sink, working surface, actually everything. It is greener and cheaper than anything else and totally efficient.
These are awesome tips! Where was this post last year when I was trying to figure all this out?! 😉 Paper towels are the only thing I can’t give up but wish I could!
I hear you about the paper towels, every once in a while I throw a roll in my grocery cart when no one’s looking 😉
Sue, I’ve had a semi-green kitchen for decades, but I doubt I’ll ever give up paper towels altogether. I’ve cut waaaayy back on them, though, using them only for jobs that would simply ruin cloth. I keep a stack of a dozen or so towels at the ready and a stack of dishcloths right by the sink. Perhaps if I can collect some rags to keep under the sink, that would eliminate the need for even the occasional paper towel?