November 28, 2010

9 Steps to a Greener Kitchen.

When it comes to “going green”, especially in the kitchen, sometimes it can be totally overwhelming.  But remember, while none of us can do everything, all of us can do something.

And sometimes, that’s all it takes to get started. To simply “Do One Thing” and with Thanksgiving behind us, now is a great time to start.

So below, I’ve put together a list of ideas of 9 Baby Steps that you can take to green your kitchen.  If you want to start slowly, go for it.  Pick something that you want to green this month.  Then next month, choose something else.  Pretty soon, you’ll be off.

Why start in the kitchen?  Because as everyone knows, it’s where we live, where we feed our families, where we share our lives.  It’s the heart of the home, especially during the holidays.

It doesn’t have to happen overnight. Greening your kitchen is a process and sometimes it helps to make it happen in “Baby Steps” so that you can make your kitchen a little bit greener for the holidays.

9 Baby Steps to a Greener Kitchen

  1. According to Healthy Child Healthy World, conventional cleaners can contain toxic chemicals that aren’t listed on the label.  Chemicals that your grandmother didn’t have in her house.  Natural ingredients work just as well to get rid of germs and bacteria.  Use baking soda for scouring (so cheap!) and vinegar for antibacterial action. Look for non-toxic cleaning ingredients that don’t contain harsh solvents and chemicals, fragrances, chlorine or ammonia. (Suggested Product: ECOVER).
  2. Phosphates in some dishwashing detergents can contribute to water pollution (in your dishwasher and when the water runs down the drain), so look for phosphate-free detergents.  And when running your dishwasher, make sure it is full  (Suggested Product: SEVENTH GENERATION)
  3. If you don’t have a stove hood, crack a window to let gas, smoke and humidity out when you are cooking.  Since I tend to burn something on an almost daily basis, this is especially important in our house, as it lets the toxic indoor air out and allows fresh air in!
  4. If you microwave, consider using ceramic or glass dishes or paper towels so that the toxic chemicals in plastics don’t leach into your food or your baby bottles.   (Suggested Product: MASON JARS)
  5. When it comes to ridding your house of pests, conventional products are loaded with poisons and chemicals.  So make sure to use products that contain biodegradable ingredients that are not only safe for the environment, but more importantly, safe for your children and pets. (Suggested Product: ECOSMART)
  6. Take a cleaner drink.  If you live in an old building with lead pipes, as most of us do, then run your tap water for a few minutes before drinking it.  And never use hot tap water for food and drinks.  Heat water on the stove.  And remember, tap water is actually more regulated than bottled water.  But if you are worried about the quality of your tap water, install a water filter. (Suggested Product: GE CONSUMER AND INDUSTRIAL REVERSE OSMOSIS WATER FILTRATION SYSTEM.  Product: BRITA WATER PITCHER)
  7. Freshen up your fridge: store your leftovers in glass containers so that the chemicals found in plastics don’t leach into your food and your next meal! Product: (Suggested FRIGOVERRE GLASS FOOD STORAGE from TARGET)
  8. Nonstick coatings on pans can release toxic fumes into your kitchen and foods and are often made of plastics.  Use stainless steel or cast iron when cooking to avoid these added ingredients! (Suggested Product: KITCHEN AID’S STAINLESS STEEL from TARGET)
  9. Can’t afford organic?  No worries.  Opt for fresh frozen or dried foods over canned foods, which can contain bisphenol-A, a chemical linked to hormone disruption whose use has been banned in other countries.  (Suggested Product: SAFEWAY Conventional and Organics).

Need additional ideas to get started?  Please visit www.healthychild.org for inspiration.

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