The conscious kitchen
Seven planet-friendly choices for the heart of the home.
What we do in our kitchens adds up to have a huge collective impact on the Earth – whether positive or negative. If you’d rather be part of the solution, here are seven ways you can make the kind of difference we need right now.
1. Eat more plants
The most powerful individual climate action you can take is to eat more plants. Yes, it’s that simple! Numerous reports and countless scientists have shown that a predominantly or entirely plant-based diet is the most environmentally sustainable diet. By embracing more fruits, vegetables, grains, and legumes and saying goodbye to animal products, you’ll not only be an automatic eco-climate warrior, you’ll enjoy plenty of health benefits, too.
2. Shop naked!
Aim to purchase naked produce (rather than going shopping in the nude!). It’s important to consider not only the food you’re buying, but also the packaging it comes in. We’re all taking our own re-usable shopping bags now, but you can level it up a notch with your own re-usable produce bags for loose vegetables and the like. You’ll hit expert level if you can also buy your dry goods from bulk food stores using your own containers and jars.
3. Recycle and compost
Some packaging is simply unavoidable, so commit to being a responsible recycler. Check with your local council to understand what you can and can’t recycle. Never put plastic bags in your recycling bin – you can recycle these separately at drop-off points in most supermarkets Also, about half of what goes into household bins is compostable, ending up in landfill. There are many composting options to suit all living arrangements, whether an outdoor or under-bench system.
4. Ditch single use everything
Single-use plastic bags are just the beginning. You can swap plastic wrap for re-usable wax wraps, baking paper for silicone baking mats, and paper napkins for cloth ones. Save used jars for storage or invest in storage containers. When ordering take away, see if you can take your own container, decline disposable cutlery, and carry a re-usable coffee cup for your morning sip.
5. Embrace eco-cleaning
You don’t need harsh chemicals to maintain a sparkling clean, hygienic kitchen. Simply switching to eco-friendly or natural products is better for you and the environment. Look for non-toxic, biodegradable, plant-based detergents. Truly responsible brands will also package their products in recycled and recyclable materials. If you’re keen, you can even buy cleaning products from bulk stores or make your own from a simple mix of vinegar, bicarb soda and a few drops of essential oil.
6. Love local
If you have access to local produce, take advantage of it. Not only will you be supporting local farmers, but fresh, seasonal produce is cheaper to buy and packs a lot more flavour. At the same time, remember that food miles make up only a tiny fraction of emissions from food: climate modelling shows that what you eat (plants!) is far more significant in reducing your climate ‘food-print’ than how local it is.
7. Waste not, want not
More than one-third of all food produced globally never gets eaten because it either gets spoiled in transit or thrown out by consumers – talk about a waste of resources! Avoid unnecessary waste by shopping with a list and only for what you need. Store food correctly to preserve freshness (and remember you can chop and freeze surplus fresh fruit and veg), and love your leftovers! Here again, the food you choose matters, too. Did you know 36 percent of calories from the world’s edible crops are currently fed to animals bred for food? A global shift to plant-based diets would enable a far more efficient use of land.
Lead image: Cottonbro on Pexels