Helping the environment in the kitchen | Going Green

Eating organic and easily sustainable foods is a surefire way to do your part for the environment. However, there are many other ways to go green in and around the kitchen.

1. Invest in quality cooking tools. Cheaper isn’t always better when it comes to utensils, pots and pans. Higher quality items will better stand the test of time and will be less likely to end up in the trash with moldy leftovers. Invest in kitchen staples that are sturdy and will last. It makes a good investment.

2. While we’re talking about leftovers, don’t let them go bad in the refrigerator or freezer. Keep them in eyesight so you can have last night’s vegetable casserole for lunch today. Also, being mindful of how much you cook and portion sizes enables you to be less likely to waste leftover food.

3. Upgrade your appliances. Today’s energy efficient appliances can conserve energy, water and more. But before you invest in new items, find out if you can upgrade your current appliances. If buying new items is the greener option, find out if you can recycle your old stove, refrigerator or dishwasher, or whether there are regional “take-back” programs for old appliances so they don’t end up in a trash heap.

4. Cooking for two? Use the toaster oven. Singles, couples or even small families can save energy by cooking meals in a toaster oven instead of a larger oven. Many toaster ovens are large enough to accommodate a small steak, burgers or pizza, and are also proficient at reheating leftovers.

5. Buy locally whenever possible to reduce the amount of miles it takes to get the food from the farm to your table.

6. Buy in bulk ... provided you’re going to use the items. Bulk items generally require less packaging than those packaged individually. Invest in items that can be used around the house, not just in the kitchen. And while you’re thinking in bulk, cook meals in bulk, too. This way you save on energy and will be ahead of the game when time pressed during the week.

7. Reuse what you can, like glass jars, plastic bottles and bags instead of tossing them in the trash.

8. Upgrade instead of replacing whenever possible. However, sometimes you may want new items in the kitchen to improve functionality or to replace something that is damaged. Look to green materials or even reclaimed or recycled items. Using antique fixtures and furniture is another great way to go green.

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