Interested in upping the green ante in your kitchen? Here are nine advices to create an eco-friendly family kitchen that encourages sustainable living.
Opt for zero-VOC paint
Paint is often the first thing we consider in a kitchen revamping, and it comes in various qualities. VOC stands for volatile organic compounds—basically, stuff you and your kids don’t want to be breathing. Stick to VOC free paints for a better cooking environment.
Swap out chemical cleaning solutions
Not only are plant-based cleaners better for the environment, they won’t off-gas chemicals into your home.
Ditch plastic bag for food storage
While plastic can be recycled, it’s not biodegradable. Plus, plastic bags tend to retain moisture, developing mold and wilting vegetables. Prefer cardboard boxes, paper bags and the crisper compartiment in your fridge.
Bring in more natural light
If possible, try decluttering the space around your window from upper cabinets and transfer this storage space elsewhere, this allows more natural light to enter the room. Get rid of a dry wall and open up the space to bring in more natural light from a bay window.
Opt for earth-friendly kitchen counters
From reclaimed wood and low-carbon cement, to fly ash or recycled glass, eco-friendly materials and their combinations are endless when it comes to sustainable countertops. Examples are Durapalm by Smith & Fong, offering wood reclaimed from coconut palms past their fruit-bearing years; Squak Mountain Stone, a hand-cast alternative to natural or quarried stone made of recycled paper, recycled glass, fly ash, iron oxide pigments, and low-carbon cement.
Vinyl flooring commonly used in kitchens can ramp up a room’s toxicity because of adhesives and other chemicals that release unhealthy vapors. With rich colors, and varied surfaces from smooth linoleum to warm cork, eco-flooring choices boast competitive prices for healthier alternatives. Look for bamboo flooring (a very sustainable material as bamboo reaches maturity after only 5 years), FSC-Certified Wood, or true linoleum. Reclaimed wood flooring is also a option to consider, especially if you want to add a rustic/natural touch to your kitchen.
Use paperless towels
These reusable cloth towels are useful for cleaning up spills and wiping off counters. They wash and dry beautifully, and make a perfect paper towel replacement that is both eco-friendly and cost effective. Your can easily DIY your own set of towels (check this tutorial by Seasoned Homemaker), or look at online craft stores to find one that pleases you.
Install faucet aerators
One of the most effective water conservation savings you can do for your home. Low-flow aerators can reduce a home’s overall water consumption by up to 50%, helping your wallet and the environment all at the same time. Best of all, low-flow aerators are extremely cheap and available anywhere.
Choose natural fiber rugs
Look for wool, cotton, or jute for your rugs under the sink.
(Headline picture: Thomas Roszak Architecture, LLC, photo by Scott McDonald)