Do Your Bit – Go Green with Your Kitchen

Ms Bani Anand, Director, Hairline International Research and Treatment Centre.

December 15, 2015,  13.00 PM IST || Pocket News Alert

You see the efforts to go green taking place all around you. While countries may be discussing the dire need for it at an international level at the World Climate Summit, it is up to every one of us individuals to try and make a difference. In most cases, we all want to be able to do our bit but, are unsure of where to begin.

How about starting with your kitchen? A kitchen is a space that exists in every home, no matter how big or small. It can be a fancy modular kitchen or a functional open kitchen, but it does exist. The way you handle your kitchen, in terms of storage, your choice of appliances and even your cooking methods can help you go green and reduce your carbon foot print.

This may bring you to the concern that going green may result in you having to compromise on aesthetics in your kitchen and even its utility. This is definitely not the case. Going green is quite easy, opens up a range of aesthetic options and can in fact help you in terms of monetary savings. Here is how you can make a beginning with your kitchen:

Work on Your Storage Methods: One of the keys elements to every kitchen is the storage systems you make use of. Most of us tend to purchase fancy plastic containers in bulk to give our kitchens a uniformly pretty look. Plastic is not an eco-friendly and cannot be recycled. There are also several studies to show that microwaveable plastic can be harmful in the long run.

For storage opt for glass jars instead. These are available in a range of shapes and sizes. Yes, you have to be a little careful handling them, but they will make a world of difference to the green levels of your kitchen. They are also durable. Being see-through, you never have to worry about not finding what you are looking for in a jiffy. These jars may be cleaned easily and minimize the chances of fungal growth.

Water bottles are another important element in your kitchen. Of course, when stepping out of your home, you may choose the convenience of a plastic bottle, but at home, you may go with glass bottles with air-tight stoppers. These are easily available in different sizes and colors as well. To store large quantities of water, opt for clay pots or stainless steel water filters. These are much more hygienic and long lasting.

Make a Smart Choice of Appliances: Technology has developed to such an extent that you now have gadgets for just about anything. When you are looking to stock your kitchen with these appliances, know that each one that uses electricity contributes to your carbon footprint and your consumption of a resource. Ask yourself if you really require the gadget or if you can make do, without it. A coffee-maker, sandwich maker and even a microwave, though convenient, can be superfluous gadgets to have.

If you must invest in such kitchen appliances, make sure to check on their star rating. The highest rating is 5. This means that the appliance consumes an optimal amount of energy and its emissions are at a minimum. Such gadgets may be an expensive investment in the beginning, but their benefits far outweigh their costs.

Maintaining your Kitchen: Keeping a designer kitchen or even a regular one spotlessly clean involves a great deal of effort. Usually, we are sucked in by the numerous advertisements peddling cleaning solutions that are supposedly the perfect answer. Rather than waste money and energy on chemical-based products for your kitchen, you can create cleaning solutions from a few things that you have on hand at home. For example – vinegar, baking soda, salt and water, in various combinations are potent cleansers that can get rid of even the most stubborn stains and dirt. Slices of lemon may be used as deodorizing agents around your kitchen as well.

Cooking Methods: Some ways to conserve energy in the kitchen is to use less cooking gas. Cooking in bulk can help with this. Plan an elaborate menu based on your family’s needs and spend a day or two cooking. Freeze single meal-sized portions of food and thaw them when necessary and serve. Contrary to popular believe, freezing food is not a bad option, especially if it is done the right way. Not only will you have saved energy in cooking, but will also have a good amount of free time on your hands to spend with your family.

Going green in your kitchen is simply about making a few lifestyle changes. But do remember that you need to make these changes gradually to your kitchen so that it is easier to deal with. Change containers in a gradual process. Work on replacing cleaning solutions once the store-bought ones are exhausted. Slowly alter your cooking methods to more eco-friendlier methods. Taking up these methods gradually will help you incorporate them into your lifestyle and that of the family seamlessly, making it a way of life.

Do Your Bit – Go Green with Your Kitchen

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Do Your Bit – Go Green with Your Kitchen