The kitchen is a pivotal place in our home for making a real difference to the environment. Everyday small choices collectively amount to big changes.
My friends often tell me that they feel helpless to make a difference…And I get it! OVERWHELM makes the problems with our natural resources seem insurmountable.
However, if we are paralysed into inaction then nothing meaningful gets done. On the other hand, if we obsess about trying to fix everything then there’s little room left in life for other things that matter.
Today, I try to strike a middle ground – and encourage you to do the same! Even if your home isn’t 100% green, don’t discount the power of many small changes over time.
Here are 20 simple steps you can try for yourself (at your own pace) to make your kitchen more sustainable:
- Replace beeswax wraps with clingfilm. Beeswax wraps are a biodegradable, eco-friendly alternative to wrapping food with plastic. There are many fantastic companies who make these, or you can watch my video (link to beeswax blog page) on how to make them for under $2 a wrap in 30 minutes!
- Buy in bulk with friends. Buying bulk saves on packaging and money. Pitch in with friends and family – especially for higher cost items such as meat – to overcome the hurdle of storing and using up bulk supplies of food.
- Plant a herb garden (or even just one pot). Many herbs are very forgiving and don’t require much care. There’s nothing quite as flavoursome as picking your own fresh homegrown herbs!
- Go Meat Free Mondays. As livestock is one of the planet’s largest contributors of greenhouse gases, imagine the difference if all of Australia ate one less meat meal every week! Try substituting a classic mince meal with lentils or refried beans for easy swaps. For example, spaghetti made with lentils in the bolognese sauce is delicious, as are Mexican tacos made with refried beans instead of mince or chicken.
- Make A Scrub From Coffee Grounds. Don’t throw away your leftover coffee grounds! Simply add coconut oil, sugar, salt and a little essential oil and you have yourself a luxurious pampering treat! I filmed a Facebook LIVE Video of how to do this here.
- Eat Green…Literally. Plenty of fresh veggies (organic if possible) have a lower ecological footprint than many other foods.
- Become a locavore. Support local economy and cut down on food miles by buying food that requires less transport from paddock to plate.
- Invest in a soda stream. Drastically reduce your plastic bottle waste by using a soda stream at home. The initial investment will pay for itself many times over.
- Cook a yummy soup with your weekly leftovers. It’s been estimated that the average Australian home wastes up to $3.800 a year in unused food. Take inventory of your fridge (including all the back drawers and shelves) to use leftovers in soups, stews, casseroles and stocks, before topping up with your next produce shop.
- Store veggies in cotton tea towels. Plastic bags actually make your produce sweat and will reduce their longevity in the fridge. Store frost-sensitive veggies such as broccoli, zucchini, greens and cauliflowers in a fresh cloth wrap instead.
- Sprout your own alfalfa. You only need a jar, seeds, muslin and a little sunlight!
- Share leftovers with a loved one. Sharing food has been a gesture of goodwill in human culture for many centuries. If you can’t eat all your leftovers alone, why not gift it to a friend or neighbour?
- Get your own reusable coffee travel mug. This saves a bunch of plastic and cardboard! Plus, they retain heat better, so your coffee stays warmer for longer.
- Buy a biodegradable lunchbox (and pack your own cutlery). Eating out can cost your health, bank account and the planet. Say bye to plastic tuppaware with our MFC biodegradable lunchbox range (LINK to MFC lunchbox webpage). Plus, it has a portable cutlery set to keep in your handbag so you’ll never need a plastic fork or spoon again.
- Save glass jars to store food. I fill and freeze used glass jars with cooked rice, quinoa, pasta and soups to defrost quickly when I need them.
- Set your fridge to 4°C. In Australia, fridges account for 9% of household greenhouse gas emission. Big and inefficient fridges can create two tonnes of greenhouse has annually. Therefore, setting it to the right temp can make a big difference. And when you’re ready to upgrade, check for a higher energy star rating on your new model.
- Store leftovers where you can see them. They’ll be more likely to get eaten!
- Buy a woven produce basket. They are a pleasure to use and are almost indestructible. I also love the eco-bags that roll and clip up into a small pouch that can be easily stored in your handbag.
- Clean with vinegar and eucalyptus oil. This makes a beautiful, hygienic surface spray! Simply fill a spray bottle with 3:1 parts water and vinegar and add a few drops of eucalyptus. Patch test before spreading, however I find this creates a streak-free clean on my countertops, sink, fridge and kitchen cupboards.
- Create your own eco-friendly detergent. Castille with vinegar and a little drop of essential oil is an easy, economic option.
Want more easy tips to make your kitchen plastic free and green? Download your FREE Tip Sheet below! (Great to print and hang on the fridge!!)