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Have you been taking steps toward sustainability in your home? Taking things room by room is a great way to ensure you’re incorporating best practices to keep your home as eco-friendly as possible. A good place to start is the kitchen.
Whether you’re starting a kitchen remodel or just looking to make a few changes in household habits, it’s easy to go green in the kitchen. Here are a few ideas on how you can create an eco-friendly kitchen.
Are you looking to remodel your kitchen for sustainability? Contact a kitchen remodeling pro today for quotes from contractors in your area, for free.
Creating An Eco-Friendly Kitchen
One of the best places to start in your home when you’re trying to make it a more sustainable living environment is the kitchen. There are many elements you can control that helps to reduce your carbon footprint. While some homeowners choose to remodel for sustainability, often, it doesn’t call for a full remodel to create a clean-living kitchen. It’s a good idea to make some small changes first
“Kitchen utensils made from recycled materials or biodegradable materials are a great way to start an eco-friendly kitchen,” Emily Hoefler, kitchen and bath specialist at Renovations Group Inc, said. “Eco-friendly kitchen supplies are another great item that is not only safe for families, but good for the environment.”
Here are some areas you can look to change:
- Cleaning Products
- Waste Reduction
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Cleaning Products
One of the easiest changes you can make for a greener kitchen is the cleaning supplies you use. There are many toxins in commercial cleaning products that are both harmful to you and the earth. You can easily find non-toxic and earth-friendly cleaning supplies for all of your needs. There are many brands available that are eco-friendly you can buy at the store. Often, you can make your own cleaning supplies from items you have around the home. One kitchen cleaning supply that I go through often is a multi-surface cleaner.
This is an easy one to make and I love having it in my home. It does have an interesting ingredient, vodka. This helps to disinfect the surfaces. I combine one-part water and one part-vodka in a glass spray bottle with 15 drops of citrus essential oil. My preference is lemon. I shake it to combine and spray as needed.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Flooring
If you’re looking for a kitchen upgrade, flooring might be the way to go. Over time, kitchen floors can become dirty and outdated. If you’re thinking about replacing your kitchen floor, it might be a good idea to make it a material that’s eco-friendly too. Recyclable materials are always recommended. If you like the look of wood flooring, bamboo has grown in popularity over the years. Not only is it a green flooring option, but it’s also gentle on your wallet as well. The average cost of bamboo flooring is between $2/sf and $7/sf.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Appliances
Have you ever considered how much energy your kitchen appliances use? Older appliances can use more energy than newer models, making it more expensive for you and more taxing on the earth. “Replacing kitchen appliances with energy-efficient alternatives is a great way to cut down on energy use,” Hoefler said.
Look for kitchen appliances with the energy star label so you can be confident you’re making an earth-friendly choice. Appliances with energy star certification can save you money as you use them. While you may need to make an initial investment upfront, you’ll save more money long-term. For example, a certified dishwasher can only cost $35 a year to run, according to Energy Star.
Eco-Friendly Kitchen Countertops
You may not think of sustainability when you think of your countertops, but if you’re remodeling, this is one area you should consider a green upgrade. Recycled wood has become a popular material in recent years, and according to Hoefler, glass is growing in popularity as well.
“Recycled glass countertops are a great alternative to quartz,” she said. “We have some on the front display in our showroom and get lots of people walking in and commenting how beautiful and smart they are. You don’t have to sacrifice on style to use recycled materials. “
Recycled glass countertops use at least 85% of recycled materials, keeping them out of landfills and providing another use. The average cost of recycled glass countertops is between $75.09/sf and $106.03/sf
Kitchen Waste Reduction
Outside of upgrades and remodels, to create an eco-friendly kitchen, you must create new habits. If you’re not already recycling, set up a place to do so and Hoefler suggests making it easily accessible. It’s one of the simplest steps you can take toward sustainability.
“Incorporate a pull-out recycling bin into your cabinetry design. Making recycling easier means you’re more likely to do it,” she said.
You may also want to consider reducing the amount of food waste you have in your home. Americans waste approximately one pound of food per day, according to a study done by the University Of Vermont. This is a lot of food to be wasted by homeowners. Here are a few ways you can cut back on food waste in your own kitchen:
- Make a grocery list before you shop, reducing the amount of extra food you’ll by.
- Keep a list of leftovers that are in the fridge to eat.
- Before you throw out fruit or vegetables that may be turning, consider freezing them for later use. A great example is using a brown banana for banana bread.
- Consider starting a compost pile in your yard to get a second life out of produce.
- Keep track of what food you’re throwing away and evaluate how much it's costing you.
When it comes to creating an eco-friendly kitchen, small steps go a long way. A chance of habits will make a big difference.
“When it comes to practicing eco-friendly habits or incorporating eco-friendly items into the kitchen, start small,” Hoefler said. “Don’t sweat the small stuff and expect a 100% change overnight or you might overwhelm yourself. Any small steps you make have an impact!”
What steps are you taking towards creating a green kitchen? Share with us in the comments below!