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The kitchen is the heart of the home. There are some rooms in my house that go virtually untouched from day to day, but no other room gets quite as much use as my kitchen. We eat in it, play in it, organise in it, talk in it, socialise in it, cook in it and store all manner of things in it. Therefore, it makes sense to turn your kitchen from normal kitchen to eco-friendly kitchen first.
For us, the journey to becoming environmentally conscious was both sudden and gradual. One day (not long after my first child was born) I realised that I needed to do more to protect the planet and to create a healthy world for my children to grow up in. However, making the change remains an ongoing process where I slowly learn new things and make informed and intelligent switches.
It may seem like an impossible or unachievable task when you first start the process to transform your home, and life, to one with a reduced impact on the planet. Hence it is important to remember the following:
- Any change you make has a positive effect. You might be just a tiny drop in the ocean, but you are joining a movement of people all making similar changes. When many people chose to make a difference that’s when the big change occurs.
- Change first those things that will have the least impact on your life. For example, we made the switch to more gentle cleaning products early on in our journey. For us, this had virtually no impact on our day-to-day lives as we had no idea what was in the products we were using before so these products just slotted right into their place. Once you have made these minor tweaks you will want to make more and will be willing to make more dramatic changes.
- Do not allow the opinions of others to deter you from your goal. You know you are doing the right thing so don’t let someone who frowns when you tell them the changes you’ve made derail your plans for an eco-friendly life. Instead, persist and you will act as an educator, showing them environmentally conscious adjustments do not need to change your whole life.
- Talk to people about the changes you are making. When you make the switch to more sustainable products there’s little harm in sharing this with your friends and family. It could be that they were unaware that such products existed. Knowing that there are simple swaps out there could be just the thing that is needed to encourage others to do the same.
Now I am not expecting you to run out and spend a load of money to save the planet. If I did that I would be a terrible personal finance blogger.
What I am encouraging you to do is look for solutions that exist in your home and your lives already. Or if one does not exist then there are plenty of DIY projects on Pinterest that will teach you how to make many of these products. Crafting and DIY projects are wonderful because of the sense of achievement is huge and you get to fill your home with many unique items.
Naturally, you may find that there are some items that you need to source from outside your home. That’s OK! But remember to try all the usual tricks from finding a bargain. You can check out my post on saving money when you shop here.
Anyway, here are the top switches we have made in our kitchen on our eco-friendly journey:
This one, surprising, was one of the later additions to our kitchen and a bit of a splurge. Where we live, the council provide us with a small food waste bin for outside and a smaller caddy for indoors. But it is ugly! For a long time I refused to have it in the house because I did not know where to put it or what to do with it. Plus it was not particularly good for locking in any odours.
One day I realised that it was only vanity that was standing in the way of including this feature in our kitchen, so I spent some money and bought a lovely brushed steal one. It looks great and has a special feature that traps all the smells. Check out some options for your home here.
We love love love these! We have integrated reusable wipes across our home and family so it makes absolute sense for them to be a big part of our kitchen. They were first introduced when we started introducing our eldest to solid food.
The mess was unbelievable so we had a stash of wipes of hand to clean everything up. We soon came to see that we could use these for many different purposes and they have now replaced napkins, kitchen rolls and cleaning cloths in our kitchen. Here are the ones we use.
Food waste is a terrible thing. My husband particularly hates it. But buying food in bulk or cooking in batches is a necessary for someone who is trying to keep the costs down. This is why we have a lot of storage pots. We use them for freezing food or packing up lunches.
My favourites are these by U Konserve. I use them for putting the kids snacks in and for keeping leftovers in the fridge. Many people might decide that foil or cling film might work instead but this is literally creating waste.
Jars are great! I save jars from various foods like mayonnaise and peanut butter and then transform them into various useful items. Jars are perfect for storing food that you have bought in bulk that comes packaging free. One example is that in our house we store our loose leaf tea in jars.
This means that we do not need any packaging for transporting the tea home and it stays fresh for ages. I’ve also used recycled jars for lunchbox ideas, for growing plants in and for freezing. A good stash of jars is a wonderful thing!
Bees wax wraps
Oh these are amazing! I made my own bees wax wraps and used fabrics that I love so I want to use these all the time. We love wrapping up homemade cakes or biscuits in these when we take them round to friends houses. They are a great replacement for foil and cling film and can be used to cover bowls and dishes or for directly wrapping food. They can only be washed using cold water though so it is not advised to use them for meat products.
We swapped laundry detergent for an Ecoegg. This simple product will go in the washing machine with your dirty laundry and produces the same results as washing powder or laundry detergent. It contains none of the nasty chemicals, is much kinder for your skin and you get so many washes out of it that it will save you money. This one is one of those very simple swaps that you can make a start with.
Silicone cupcake molds
The kids and I love baking! We regularly use up “less-than-best” fruit by making buns or muffins, or want a tasty treat to take on a picnic or day out. One day I realised that I was cooking my cakes in a paper case that got almost instantly thrown away. It is so wasteful!
The solution to this was reusable cupcake moulds. Now once we have eaten the cakes we wash up the moulds and put them back in the cupboard for next time. What is even better is that they come in beautiful colours that make our cakes look fab!
This one may be less obvious to see the impact on the environment but trust me it is there. When you buy dried herbs the come, once again, in some sort of packaging. They have also been processed and transported from farm to factory to shop and all of this harms our beautiful planet.
A simple selection of pots by your back door or along your kitchen windowsill with your favourite herbs growing in them can prevent all of that. Plus bringing plants into your home will cheer you up and make your house look great. Just remember to give them a bit of water every now and then.
Vinegar and bicarbonate of soda
These are the only products you need to clean your entire home. You don’t need 500 bottles of various products lurking under your kitchen sink. Most of them will just be variations on that same thing. There are many tutorials on the internet about how to use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your home. Trust me you will not see any difference in the level of cleanliness in your home.
Ice lolly makers
It’s been a hot summer so far and keeping my kids happy and hydrated has required near enough my full attention for the last two months. At the start of the heatwave I was buying Tesco’s version of Mini Milks but disliked the amount of sugar and whatever else that might be hiding in these.
On top of this I was throwing away plastic wrappers and lolly sticks. That’s when I found the silicone lolly moulds. (Have a look at them here.) I now fill these with juices or homemade smoothies and sometimes even just water for my youngest. When they are done, I give them a clean, refill and pop them back in the freezer. They’re so easy!
If you haven’t got a reusable water bottle then you might be the only person without one. This is the first step most people take on their eco-friendly journey and it is such a simple one. Not only do you stop yourself from buying single use plastic bottles but you save yourself money AND it encourages you to drink more water too. I got a Klean Kanteen stainless steel water bottle for Mothers’ Day this year and I love it. You can check out prices on Amazon here.
When you were a kid you probably had a lunchbox with some character on it that you loved at the time. Some member of your family might make your lunch and you’d pack it in your lunchbox and take it to school with you. Why did you stop doing that? Buying lunch every day is expensive and it generates an extraordinary amount of waste. Think! That’s a sandwich wrapper, a crisp packet/yoghurt pot and a drinks bottle that you are throwing away every day.
There has been a big crackdown on plastic straws in the last year or so. Many companies have now stopped automatically providing straws with their drinks. This is an excellent step forward, but I actually do quite enjoy sipping icy cold drinks through a straw.
For this indulgence, I treated myself to four stainless steel straws. I love them! They look amazing and I do not feel any guilt about using them, because I wash them up and shove them in the drawer. If I know we are going out for a meal and I might want a straw with my drink, I take these with me. They are so easy to rinse off when I get home.
A bit like the water bottle this is one of the early steps that many people take. Buying a reusable cup for hot drinks is a sensible choice. It stops all those single use cups from going in the bin. You save money because places like Starbucks will give you money off if you bring your own cup. AND you get to choose a cup that looks awesome. I personally am more of a tea drinker so I found a lovely glass and bamboo travel mug with a diffuser and some very good friends of mine bought it for me for my birthday.
Unfortunately I think the one I have is no longer in production but you can have a look here to get some ideas.
Tea and coffee making facilities
Do not get one of those pod machines! That is too much waste! We have one but we haven’t used it in a long time. It is expensive and all those little pods just end up knocking about on the planet forever. However a good set of tea and coffee making facilities is a great way to help the environment.
As I’ve just said I love tea, particularly loose leaf tea. Near to where I live we have a brilliant tea specialist shop (luckily I have a couple to choose from here) and I am able to take my own jar in and they will supply me my tea without any packaging. They do coffee too!
If coffee is your thing then there are some great machines out there for making coffee at home. Plus there are some great online tutorials too. Making your coffee at home is a top money saving move but it also prevents any temptation from those coffee shops and the potential waste that goes with it.
Fabric sandwich bags
These are one of my favourite things in my kitchen. Washable sandwich bags. If you are someone who makes their lunch and takes it to work every day then great. If you are parent who bulk buys snack foods and takes those out with you then great. But if you are putting these things into plastic bags that you then throw away then you need these. They come in different patterns and sizes and styles. There will be a design to suit your need.
A good starting point
This is by no means all the items you need for an eco-friendly kitchen. These are just some of the ones I have found and love. My advice is every time to throw something away to try and think of way not to have to do that again. Once you adopt this mindset you will gradually find that eco-friendly living becomes a fun game.
What items have you introduced to make your home more eco-friendly?
Disclaimer: Remember the information you read here does not represent advice. Any ideas or suggestions are just that and may not work for you. Read the full disclaimer here.