They say the kitchen is the heart of the home, and that’s true for a slew of reasons. For one thing, it becomes a de facto gathering place, especially when there’s food out for the taking. Enjoying a meal with loved ones will undoubtedly create memories you will cherish forever.
Still, there are a few things you can do to make your kitchen even better than it is now. Namely, you can begin to run yours with sustainability in mind. We must all adopt eco-friendly practices to ensure the planet’s health for years to come. Protecting the Earth will allow us to keep making memories in our kitchens and beyond.
Here are five starting projects for your sustainable kitchen.
1. Invest in Lasting Accessories
How do your pots and pans look? If they’re made of Teflon, chances are they don’t look good. The nonstick chemical makes it breezy to whip up notoriously tacky foods, such as pancakes, as they’ll slide right out of the pan. However, there’s plenty of debate about the safety of the carbon-based coating. When heated, older Teflon-covered pots used to release perfluorooctanoic acid (PFA), which had links to everything from kidney disease to testicular cancer to thyroid disorders.
Newer Teflon doesn’t have PFOA, but pre-2013 models came with the compound. Regardless, people still debate its safety. Either way, pans and pots coated with it don’t seem to last as long as their more solidly constructed counterparts. To cut down on waste in your kitchen, swap out Teflon pans for the kinds that’ll last for a lifetime. We’re talking stainless steel and cast-iron cookware — the latter can last for generations.
The same goes for the rest of your culinary accouterments. Make sure to select cutlery, knives and cooking utensils made of high-quality materials so you don’t have to replace them.
2. Swap Out Cleaning Products
Here’s another area where chemicals should be of the utmost concern. Everything from your dishwashing detergent to floor cleaner to countertop disinfectant comes laden with synthetic compounds. Once released in the air, they can be a detriment to the environment and your health, too.
Swap traditional cleaning products for all-natural versions. Plenty of companies whip up chemical-free compounds that work just as effectively as the ones you use now. You could also forgo store-bought cleaners altogether in favor of homemade versions. You’ll need to stock up on tried-and-true elements such as lemons, vinegar and baking soda. These ingredients can cut through grease and germs. In fact, they’re strong enough to use if you want to clean your outdoor grill, let alone your kitchen.