How to Create a Sustainable Kitchen

Over the past few years, we have been moving toward a more sustainable, natural lifestyle. It has been a slow and subtle thing, and we’re not where we want to be yet, but we’ve made some progress. If you’re longing for a more natural and sustainable lifestyle, I think the kitchen is a natural place to start.

Sustainable Kitchen

 

How to Create a Sustainable Kitchen

I know that to a lot of people, “sustainable” seems to be a bit of a buzz word…and a liberal one at that. But stick with me here. It’s not just a hipster concept. There are several great reasons to take steps toward a more sustainable life:

  1. Stewardship. I believe that we should be good stewards of the resources the Lord has given us.
  2. Frugality. In many cases, sustainable practices are also cost-efficient. Sometimes those cost benefits are immediate, and sometimes they are over the long term, but generally, you can save money by going green.
  3. Health benefits. There is more and more research about the ways synthetics and chemicals are harming us. Most of the things on this list are things that we have done for health reasons first and foremost.

1. Switch to Natural Cleaners

grove free bonus

Until a few years ago, I never gave much thought to the ingredients of my soaps or cleaners. I naively thought that the ingredients were necessary, and non-negotiable…didn’t I have to have those chemicals to get things clean?

The answer, I learned later, is NO. Harsh, synthetic chemicals are not required to get things clean!

We now use exclusively natural, chemical-free cleaners and our home is just as clean as ever. In fact, with the benefit of certain key essential oils, it’s better than ever…but that’s a post for another day.

Because I live in a small town, these natural products are very difficult to find locally. So, I was excited to learn about Grove Collaborative. I can get the natural cleaning and personal hygiene products I love, delivered right to my door, and at discounted prices…Score!

2. Go paper-free in your kitchen

I won’t talk about this in too much depth, because I discussed it in detail here (and a little bit here about how it helps me with my grocery bill). However, I wanted to mention it here because it has been a big part of creating a sustainable kitchen. It has helped us tremendously and I really appreciate that we have cloth in our kitchen rather than everything disposable.

As an added bonus, real cloth napkins and towels are sooo much more efficient than paper ones!

3. Cut out processed foods

I wrote an entire series about this, back in the fall. It’s so important not just for living a more sustainable, back-to-nature lifestyle, but for your family’s health. Once I learned how damaging all the processed junk is for our health, I became more serious about making this a priority. I will admit that it’s a bit more expensive, but it’s well worth it. And it can be done on a budget. If you aren’t ready to take the plunge completely, take baby steps–start with some of the worst offenders, and add things one at a time. One good place to start is adding more fresh fruits and veggies into your diet. You can also cut out the worst offenders of processed foods such as chemical ingredients, sugar, corn syrup, etc.

You can read more about our real food journey here.

4. Get rid of plastics

I have heard for years about the dangers of plastics, especially when they contain liquids and/or have things heated in them, etc. However, for a long time I ignored it. It seemed nearly impossible to completely rid my life of plastics (and, I still think that would be pretty difficult), so I didn’t even try. However, I have come to appreciate baby steps…every little bit helps. I may not be able to completely rid our lives, or even our kitchen of plastics–after all, so many things are packaged in plastics by companies. However, I have taken steps to rid my own kitchen of plastics. We now use exclusively glass, wood, or stainless steel utensils, plates/bowls, storage containers, etc.

One of the hardest things for me to replace was drinking glasses. I loved my double walled plastic drinking glasses that actually kept my ice water cold. Which is why I was so excited when Mighty Nest offered a fantastic deal on a Lifefactory glass water bottle for just $5 and free shipping! (that deal is actually still active! If it doesn’t apply to your cart automatically use promo code: BOTTLEFIX2016)

Mighty Fix Sustainable Kitchen

5. Compost and Recycle

We try to buy in bulk when we can in order to reduce packaging. I also like these organic cotton mesh produce bags to avoid produce packaging (and I avoid the styrofoam and shrink wrapped veggies if at all possible!) For necessary packaging, we buy recyclable packaging whenever possible and recycle everything that we can, which in our area is metals, glass, plastics, and paper.

We also compost. We have a small kitchen compost bin like this one that I place beside our trash can in the kitchen. We fill it up and then empty it outside. You can also get a plastic version at Grove Collaborative. If you can’t have an open compost area, we have also had great success with using large rubbermaid tubs or bins like this one (look at your local walmart or maybe a hardware store…and you should be able to find one for $5-$10). It’s really neat for the kids (and the adults, too!) to see how much all that condenses and how it turns into “dirt” over time).

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