The kitchen is generally the least eco-friendly room in our homes and it’s not hard to see why. The kitchen is home to most of the major appliances, needs lots of task lighting and is the main contributor to our water, gas and electric bills. When I was approached to write a blog post for Used Kitchen Exchange on ways to make our kitchens more eco friendly I quite literally jumped at the chance. I feel like I’ve been writing notes and bookmarking products for months in preparation for this post as there are so many elements of a kitchen to consider that it can be a little hard to know where to start. I’ve put together a list of 10 easy to achieve ways to make your kitchen more sustainable below, some are small day-to-day changes and others could help if you’re planning a kitchen makeover sometime soon.
First up is a super simple change that won’t cost much but will help reduce your plastic consumption, simply swap out plastic for glass, metal or tins. Glass storage for leftover food, tins for packed lunches or biscuits and metal water bottles instead of plastic.
Plan your meals each week to prevent being left with a fridge full of food waste (this tip also massively helps you to save money too). Meal planning is actually quite fun when you get into it and there are lots of apps or meal planning notebooks available to help you keep on track with it.
Sticking with food, shopping in a supermarket or farm shop where the fruit and veg is loose can cut back on both food waste and reduce your single use plastic consumption. We have a farm shop near us that has begun selling grains and flour by the weight in glass jars, I can’t tell you how lovely it feels bringing home my little jars of ingredients.
It’s so easy to be tempted to buy a coffee machine that uses those little single use ‘pods’, there have been so many times I’ve considered ordering one when I’ve been caught up in the hype but if we’re honest with ourselves it doesn’t take much more time to make a coffee with a traditional machine and some ground coffee (the traditional machines are usually much more stylish sat on your worktop too!).
Filtering tap water instead of buying bottled is another way of reducing plastic waste when thinking about drinks we serve from our kitchens. If, like me, you prefer sparkling water Sodastream have the solution, a machine that puts the fizz in your tap water and doesn’t take up too much valuable space on your worktop.
Our kitchens get cleaned and wiped down with cleaning products more than any other room in the home which is why this year I’ve made an effort to buy eco-friendly cleaning products for the kitchen in particular. I’ve chosen products that are free from harmful chemicals and instead made with natural ingredients…the kitchen smells SO much better for it too. Bonus!
Growing your own herbs and salad leaves is relatively easy and only requires a small space in your kitchen but the benefits to the environment are great. There’s a growing trend to incorporate a herb garden into a kitchen design which looks fab and makes the kitchen that bit more eco-friendly.
Another small addition to a kitchen design to make the overall kitchen more sustainable would be to add a cold shelf within a larder unit or large cupboard, this saves fridge space for the foods that really need to be in there and adds more versatility to your kitchen units.
If you’re thinking of a full kitchen re-design then the most sustainable thing you can do is to source a second hand or ex-display kitchen. The Used Kitchen Exchange has created an online store to browse beautiful kitchens just as you would if you were buying new, there’s something to suit all styles and price ranges. It’s not only good for the environment it’s great for your bank balance too! Check out their range here.
If you fancy a change without pulling out your existing units then why not get a new look by replacing the worktops. There are some beautiful eco-friendly materials available to create a great look, recycled glass or terrazzo would be my choice if I was in the market for new worktops.
How do you make your kitchen more eco-friendly on a day to day basis? Would you consider buying second-hand when redoing your kitchen?
N.B – This post was written in collaboration with Used Kitchen Exchange.