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:
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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.