9 Steps to a Greener Kitchen.

Via Robyn OBrien
on Nov 28, 2010
get elephant's newsletter

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.


About Robyn OBrien

A Texas native raised on Twinkies and PoBoys, Robyn O'Brien has leveraged her experience as a food industry analyst to uncovering how one of life's most basic activities—eating—has led to skyrocketing rates of cancer, autism, obesity and allergies. In doing so, she not only encountered enormous obstacles but also found courage and her life’s work: restoring the integrity of the American food supply and the health of our country. As an accomplished author, a tenacious researcher, a compassionate, working mother of four and a gifted communicator, Robyn brings enthusiasm, insight, and passion to her work. In the years that she has been a speaker and a nationally recognized author and health advocate, she has delivered powerful messages to thousands of people around the country, from entrepreneurs to members of Congress to corporate professionals to mothers' groups, schools and universities.


5 Responses to “9 Steps to a Greener Kitchen.”

  1. Melanie Barrett says:

    Here is where I started. I am not using any electrical appliances to clean my home – using reusable cloth for mopping and a broom for sweeping.
    I just had a wonderful lunch – white corn tortillas with a slice of already cooked sweet potato heated up. I baked three times what I needed in sweet potato so I am making creative use of what I have. I am slowly replacing plastic useage with other ways. Using more cloth and glass. Using vinegar as a cleaner and reading labels of products. Reading articles like this one.

    My Thanksgiving is traditional but the rest of the year I am trying to add more green ways to do things around my home. Some work – some don't but each year it gets easier to figure out a better way. I do not shop at Whole Foods, but on rare occasion since it seemed to have lost its way and gobbled up competition and caters more to the wealthy. Better to actually shop locally.

  2. candicegarrett says:

    Here's what we do: cook from whole ingredients, replaced ziploc bags with reusable containers, replaced paper towels and napkins with cloth, never use paper or plastic plates, even when camping or for birthday parties (we use our own kitchen utensils) bring our own shopping bags to the grocery store and we utilize our freezer for leftovers (mama's own "convenience" food. The kids also bring their own water bottles in their lunches (no juice boxes) and reusable lunch bags.

  3. helene_rose says:

    Great suggestions. The only dishwasher soap that I found that works is BioKleen's automatic dish powder! It really does work!
    Sometimes i use "soap nuts" in the wash instead of detergent ~ they are dried berries ~ and can be thrown into the compost!

  4. SOFLY_Anna says:

    Grate article! Very helpful advice on baby steps. I've been using organic and natural cleansers for a while until yesterday I really read the ingredients on my over-priced 7th generation soup and I started looking into each on-line. The list is not appealing. Also, found a few articles: http://smartklean.wordpress.com/2011/04/29/sevent