How to Reduce your Kitchen’s Carbon Footprint

Carbon footprint is a phrase that’s often used when talking about the environment, pollution, greenhouse gases, etc. But what exactly does it mean?

Simply put, carbon footprint refers to the amount of greenhouse gases produced to, directly and indirectly, support human activities. This is measured in units of carbon dioxide equivalent (CO2e).

If you’re wondering why it’s such a big deal, the answer is because it’s what causes global warming. It’s a very serious issue that needs to be addressed as soon as possible. Some of the biggest impacts of global warming are:

  • Changes in weather and seasonal patterns
  • Deforestation
  • Loss of habitat
  • Depletion of resources.

What do all of these impacts have in common?

They’re all bad. Worst, they’re already happening. Ultimately, the ones who will suffer the most at the end of it all, are us.

But the good news is that it’s not yet too late. Reducing your home’s carbon footprint is the best and quickest way to help overcome this problem. After all, everything starts from your home — and you can begin in your kitchen.

The below tips will help you lower your kitchen’s carbon footprint so be sure to check each and every one of them.

Choose the right appliances

Instead of standard models, opt for energy-efficient appliances. These appliances use 10% to 50% less energy than their counterparts. This means that you’ll save a lot of money on your utility bills.

Energy-efficient appliances work by utilising minimum energy to do the required task. Some of them even make use of renewable energy sources like solar energy, making them even more cost-effective and eco-friendly.

And don’t forget to unplug appliances when you’re not using them. Contrary to what most people think, appliances on standby mode still consume a lot of power, so it doesn’t make sense to keep them plugged in when they don’t have anything to do. Green living guy energy star appliances

Here’s the best part. When your energy-efficient appliance like the freezer uses less energy, it minimises the exploitation of natural resources. You see, generation of electricity uses resources like water, coal, fossil fuel, oil, etc. This process also leads to water, air, and soil pollution.

When there’s less demand for energy, that means fewer resources need to be consumed. And when less energy is produced, there’s less pollution.

Cook the right way

You cook every day. That’s probably why a lot of people overlook it. Breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, and everything else that requires cooking — these things need energy and most of the time, water. When you use too much energy to cook, you’re unknowingly increasing your carbon footprint.

Here are kitchen practices that you need to do instead:

  • Use just enough water to cook. Anything excess is wasted, and more water means more heat (more energy) is needed.
  • Use lids when cooking. This will trap the heat which leads to shorter cooking time.
  • Microwave instead of oven cook. Using the former can cut down your energy usage by as much as 80%.
  • Whenever possible, buy local meat as opposed to getting it from the supermarket. Meat, as well as other ingredients in the supermarket, had to travel long distances to get there. Transportation of these goods used energy like fossil fuel which emits CO2.
  • Keep your fridge away from heat sources and sunlight for it to work efficiently. Also, don’t forget to defrost your fridge or freezer regularly.
  • At the same time, let your food cool down before putting them in the fridge. By doing so, it won’t have to work as hard to keep your food cool.
  • Consuming less meat and dairy also helps reduce your carbon footprint. You see, raising cows and livestock is resource-heavy. The lands used to grow these animals were previously forests or rainforests. And deforestation contributes to climate change.

Grow your herbs and vegetables

The idea of growing your herbs and veggies can be daunting to many, but it’s pretty easy. You don’t need to be an expert, and you don’t necessarily need to have a large area for your vegetable garden.

The truth is, most of the herbs and vegetables that are commonly used in the kitchen are perfect plants for gardening beginners. Not only will they be fresh and free from pesticides, buy they’re locally-grown.

As a plus, gardening is also healthy for you. It’s a good way to exercise and keeps the air that you’re breathing at home clean and safe. But if you think that gardening is not your cup of tea, just make sure that you source your herbs and veggies locally from green grocers or farmers markets. This produce will have a smaller carbon footprint, as it won’t have travelled as far to make it to your plate.

Reduce your food waste

Both surprisingly and alarmingly, a lot of food goes to waste considering how many people in some parts of the world don’t even have food on their tables. To top it all, food waste is one of the top contributors to greenhouse gases.

These tips can help you cut down your food waste significantly.

  • Shop smart and realistically. Don’t buy more food than you can consume. In this case, buying less is the better option. While it may result in you having to go to the supermarket more often, it’s all worth it and good for the environment.
  • Don’t over-serve food. It is tempting but overfilling your plate often leads to food being wasted. Again, less is better. If you need more to eat, go back for seconds.
  • Save and eat leftovers. Don’t jump right ahead to throwing them as they can make a brilliant lunch. Label your leftovers so you can track how long they’ve been kept in your fridge. You can even be creative and make delicious recipes out of them.
  • Store food in the right places. You may even be surprised that you’ve been keeping food in the wrong place your whole life. It may, very well be, the reason why your food goes bad quickly.
  • Watch what you throw away. Or even better, keep track of these items so you know what you repeatedly don’t use. Identify them to avoid them in the future. When you throw food away, you’re also throwing away money.

Compost kitchen scraps

If you need to throw food away, consider composting it instead. If you have a garden, kitchen scraps are a perfect addition to your compost pile. They’re organic, and your plants will benefit from from the nutrients compost provides. It also saves you money on fertiliser!

Before starting, make sure you learn about what foods can and can’t be composted. If you’re new to the world of composting, it’s best to avoid adding foods like diary and meat to your pile as these can cause problems if handled improperly, like attracting unwanted pests.

If you don’t have a garden, you can give your kitchen scraps to a friend or a neighbour instead. It’s not only a nice way of reducing food waste, but also you help raise awareness and perhaps, gain more friends.

You can also look into whether your local council offers a food scraps collection service. This is especially useful for getting rid of foods that are more challenging to compost, or those that shouldn’t go in your pile at all.

This way, food waste doesn’t have to end up in landfills. The result? Fewer greenhouse gases and a smaller carbon footprint for your kitchen.

Switch to eco-friendly cleaning products

Messy kitchens have always been dealt with by using kitchen cleaners. Unfortunately, these products contain harmful chemicals that can hurt not only the environment, but you and your family as well.

Natural, eco-friendly cleaning products are a great alternative to clean your kitchen. They don’t have harmful chemicals in them which means no chemical particles distributed into the air, and they also don’t emit strong odours. Best of all, they work just as great and sometimes, even better than the traditional products.

Design an energy-efficient kitchen

Aside from the above tips, you can also lower your kitchen’s carbon footprint by making the room energy-efficient as a whole. As well as reducing utility bills in the long term, doing so can also help you get a good result from a building survey if you plan to sell your house, as surveyors take the efficiency of a home into account during their inspection.

It’s not a simple task however, but it’s doable. The good news is that you can always seek an energy efficiency consultant’s advice if you ever get lost in the process. Nevertheless, a ‘green kitchen’ should:

  • Have energy-efficient lightings like LED or CFL
  • Be insulated to the highest standard
  • Cut water wastage by eliminating leaking taps and fixtures
  • Be built from sustainable materials
  • Be made from natural, non-toxic, and low-allergen materials whenever possible
  • Use mainly Energy Star rated products to cut energy consumption

Smaller Footprints

The key to a truly ‘green kitchen’ is consistency. As you can see, by simply changing some of the ways you use your kitchen can have a big and positive impact on the environment. Moving away from ‘bad habits’ is not that easy. However, it’s one of the best ways that you can reduce your carbon footprint.

Author Bio

Emma is a part-time property developer who loves sharing how others can make their homes amazing both inside and out on her blog Fixtures and Flowers. You can chat to Emma on Twitter.

3 Comments on “How to Reduce your Kitchen’s Carbon Footprint

  1. Thanks, Emma! Lovely to have so many simple, great, green ideas in one place! Small changes by many people add up to have a real impact, especially in the kitchen is really ground zero in so many ways.

    • Thank you Ann, I’m glad you like the ideas shared!

      You’re totally right, the kitchen has the potential to really make an impact if you make a few small changes. Most of them are very simple and easy to do, like using the right amount of water when cooking.

      Here’s to reducing our carbon footprints! 🙂

  2. Pingback: How to Reduce your Kitchen’s Carbon Footprint | Worm Farm Adviser