We don't all have the money to completely overhaul or redo our kitchens. But the good news is that there are plenty of steps we can take to go greener and get a more sustainable kitchen. Here are some steps to take for a more sustainable kitchen that won't cost the earth – literally or metaphorically:
Refuse, Reduce, Reuse, Repair and Recycle
Whether you do need a new kitchen, or are trying to improve one you already have, the five 'R's of sustainability can give you a good place to begin – a framework to help you make the right choices.
Refuse – to buy products or use materials that contribute to the perpetuation of damaging systems.
Reduce your consumption in general – thinking twice before you buy anything at all.
Reuse what you already own for as long as possible, and consider second-hand and reclaimed options before buying new.
Repair old items, make do and mend to keep things in use for as long as you can.
Recycle whatever you can, both within your home and through kerbside recycling or municipal recycling schemes.
Following these five 'R's can allow you to reduce your impact on people and our planet. And they can also help you move closer to a zero waste lifestyle.
If You Do Buy New, Buy Better
When you do need new items for your kitchen, make sure you consider sustainability. Consider each item carefully and try to choose options with lower environmental impact wherever and whenever you can. For example:
Make sure you choose energy-efficient appliances when new fridges, freezers etc. are required.
Choose energy efficient LED lighting.
Switch out plastic products (especially disposable ones) for natural, eco-friendly alternatives.
Choose natural, compostable materials wherever possible. Make sure you are informed about the things you buy and that you choose options that have had minimal impact on people and planet.
Take Steps to Reduce Water and Energy Use
Choosing the right appliances can be one important way to reduce water and energy use. But there are plenty of other small steps you can take in your kitchen to be more sustainable. Reduce the amount of water and energy you use by, for example:
Switching off lights and appliances when they are not in use.
Turning off the tap and using the plug when washing up etc..
Boiling water in a closed kettle rather than a pan.
Putting the lids on pots to reduce energy use when cooking.
Use simple DIY solutions like blinds, or draft excluders to reduce energy use for heating or cooling in your kitchen.
Those are, of course, just a few suggestions. There are plenty of other small and simple steps that you can take.
Go Greener – Grow Your Own
Another interesting thing to consider is that you can potentially use your kitchen not just for cooking food but also for growing some. Growing your own in a small scale way on a windowsill or in another sunny spot is a great step towards a more sustainable way of life.
When thinking about your kitchen, its layout and design, think about including containers, or even a vertical garden area, to make the most of the space. And think about installing a small composting system too. This can also help you reduce waste and live in a more eco-friendly way.
Another thing to think about is whether your kitchen is optimised for green and sustainable food storage. Including a good cool-store pantry in your design is a great way to ensure that you can store and preserve food effectively, and with lower energy use, in the old-fashioned way.
Of course, there is far more you can think about when planning and creating a sustainable kitchen. But thinking about the above can be a good place to begin.
Wondering what the most sustainable kitchen countertop material is ? Well , that's a tricky question and there is a great deal of debate over what the most sustainable countertop material is . We analyzed more than 10 countertops options from the point of view of sustainability in this blog .