Build an Eco-Friendly Kitchen Pantry

If your kitchen is the heart of the home, your pantry is like the main valve that keeps it all flowing smoothly. Does that thing have a name? (Can’t you tell that science was never my strong suit?)
What I’m trying to say is the pantry is where everything flows.
Essentials in the Green Pantry
Besides those natural spices and organic pasta, there are a few things your pantry should include in an effort to be more eco-friendly.

* Permanent storage to cut down on packaging waste (buying in bulk is not only cheaper but helps to reduce garbage)
* Shelving that keeps the air flowing (a must in all pantries)
* Be an appropriate size (too small and you’ll need more frequent shopping trips, too large and you will overstock causing waste)
* A small garden set up to grow your own herbs (okay, not specifically IN the pantry, but herbs are a major pantry player)
Building It
It’s easy to shape up your existing pantry. Get out the power tools and a little imagination to be well on your way.
Permanent storage can be more than a few Rubbermaid containers (although those are a must for any pantry). Use recyclable plastic wherever possible. An even better choice would be to use vintage glass jars and containers. Excellent for reuse, this type of storage simply needs a thorough cleaning and it’s good to go.
Consider the spacing between your shelves and adjust as necessary. Some things need to be kept airtight for freshness and other things need to breathe. Try to create areas for both and move the shelving so that different heights are available.
If you find that your pantry is too small, look around to find another area for food storage. Sometimes that is a front hall closet or another cabinet. Rolling kitchen islands with cabinets and shelving are also good as impromptu pantries. Use what is available whenever possible. If the pantry is too large try storing countertop appliances inside to eat up the extra space.
It may be a little outside of your pantry space, but growing an herb garden is an excellent step in the green direction. Even in the city, a window box full of your favorite herbs will serve you well and give your menu a flavorful kick.
With these tweaks and additions your pantry will be more eco friendly. And you’ll enjoy a cleaner, better functioning kitchen. No more scientific metaphors for here.
photo courtesy of flickr/back_garage

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