Going Green, Simple and Cheap: Kitchens

Many people are completely intimidated by the concept of going green. It really feels like if you don’t start using a rain barrel, install solar panels on your roof, eat, drink and breathe 1000% organic, and compost every living thing under the sun, you’re a failure. But I’m here to tell you that simply isn’t true! There are tons of ways to be green simply and cheaply – and I know because as a young mom, I’m forever on a tight budget. So read on to find out my simple ways to go green, room by room.
Next on the list of rooms is kitchens. I think kitchens are one of the easiest, least complicated places to go green. If you think about it, your kitchen is probably where you spend a good deal of time when you’re home, and where you regularily use a great deal of things that you never even thought could be green. Here are the three simplest ways to turn very common kitchen tasks (cleaning, eating, and trash disposing) into greener habits:

Cleaning In my kitchen, I’m always cleaning up something — the baby’s highchair, scattered cat and dog food, random spills — which means I can go through a lot of cleaning products very quickly if I’m not careful. However, I’ve made sure that just about every cleaning product in our stash is eco-friendly and chemical free. My favorite kitchen find though was Twist sponges. They’re made of biodegradeable, unbleached materials and work just as well as any of the plastic scrubbies you find at the store. That way I know my BPA-free items are staying that way, and that when my sponge has lived through it’s purpose, I’m not cluttering landfills with something that will outlast the human race.
Eating Going organic can be totally daunting. First there’s the prices, then finding who sells organic things near your house, then there’s checking for the USDA label, then wondering how it tastes, then more worry about the cost, then not knowing if it’s really worth all the hype, and then even more more about the prices — it can be a pretty hard thing to gear up and just do. So do it one food at a time. Experts say that the foods you should eat organic if nothing else are: meat, milk, coffee, peaches, nectarines, apples, pears, sweet bell peppers, celery, strawberries, cherries, grapes, kale, leafy greens, carrots, potatoes, and tomatoes. Start with something like milk. Try it out for a couple of weeks. Then try getting organic tomatoes for a couple of weeks. Keep adding these seventeen products to your cart instead of their chemical-laden counterparts, and before you know it you’ll be eating organic without much thought or effort. And a way to keep the costs down? Just don’t buy more than you’ll eat in a few days, because without all those additives and preservatives, organic food will spoil faster than you’re accustomed to. Also, a lot of bigger supermarkets are now offering store brand generic organic foods to their shelves — so try those out, a time or twice, no pressure to purchase it if you don’t like it.
Trash Disposing I don’t know how much more easy, simply, and cheaply green you can get than recycling. Just set up a separate trash can (or two) for your recyclables, and keep it near your actual trash can. Put recyclable containers in the sink with your dishes to be rinsed off, and then toss them in the appropriate recycling container once clean. Most municipalities have recycling pick-up programs, but even if yours doesn’t, I bet your local waste disposal plant has a recycling program. Some states even offer money for recycling — which can make you money while saving the planet. Also, try to look for products that are made of recyclable materials, and make sure to re-recycle them when you no longer need them. It’s all about keeping trash out of the landfills and oceans and trying to reduce the amount of waste we produce each day. Save your leftovers for lunch the next day. Reuse plastic to-go containers. Buy yourself a sport bottle for water instead of a case of bottled water. These are all super simple ways to be green that barely take the effort of raising a finger.
How do you keep your kitchens green? Compare notes with me in the comments, and stick around for the next part of the series where I’ll talk about going green in the bedroom!

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