Long-term sustainability is always on my mind. My brain is always scheming for ways to become more self sufficient, more sustainable, and more natural.
The health of my family and the health of the planet are very important to me. But here’s the thing… sustainability is super overwhelming.
The idea of transitioning every aspect of your daily life in order to be greener is paralyzing. I know how you feel… believe me, I’ve been there.
The key to living a more sustainable and natural life is to take it one baby step at a time. You can’t overhaul your entire life in one day. Change a few little things, give them time to sink in and become habit, then change a few more little things.
If you’re into the idea of sustainability and living a more natural life but don’t know where to start, this one’s for you.
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3 Eco-Friendly Changes for Your Kitchen
There are plenty of easy and simple ways to start living more sustainably, but we’re only going to cover three, and they revolve around what goes on every single day in your kitchen.
If you can use these three easy tips to go green in the kitchen, it will make you healthier, save you money, and help out the planet in a big way.
1. Start Composting Kitchen Waste
Composting is one of the easiest and most sustainable things you can do in your kitchen. We’ve had lots of people ask us to help them to start composting. I’ve found that more often than not, people over-complicate the idea of composting and never get started doing it because they’re paralyzed by the fear of doing it wrong.
I’m telling you now, there’s practically no way to mess up compost. It’s literally just throwing unwanted organic material in a pile outside and letting it rot. You can invest in a compost bin, compost tumbler, build a composing bin out of pallets, or simply keep a pile in a corner of your yard.
For the simplest and easiest composting system, start with a lidded container on your kitchen counter top. This could be an empty coffee can or a thrifted ceramic jar, you could even buy a cute kitchen compost container if you want something nice. Toss all of your organic material into the jar as you are preparing meals.
When the jar is full, take it outside and dump it in your designated compost spot. It should be a spot that’s out of the way but still easily accessible to your kitchen. Whenever you’re doing yard work you can add to the compost pile. Toss in grass clippings, leaves, weeds, and spent veggie and flower plants.
Every once in a while use a shovel or pitchfork to stir up the pile, turning the stuff on the bottom upside down so it can get some oxygen. This speeds up the rate at which your compost pile decomposes and it’s a good workout for your arms too!
Here are the things we compost:
- Food scraps
- Egg shells
- Coffee grounds and tea bags
- Nut shells
- Dirt and dust from vacuuming and sweeping
- Hair from haircuts
- Pet hair after brushing
- Some wood ash from the stove (half of it goes into our chicken dust baths)
- Spent bedding from the rabbitry and chicken coop
- Shredded paper and cardboard
- Grass clippings
- Weeds and spent plants
2. Save Kitchen Scraps for Making Stock
We used to pick up chicken stock at the grocery store every single week. High quality chicken stock is close to $5 a carton. We use it in practically everything we cook, and were spending close to $250 a year just on chicken stock. We finally stopped buying and started making our own, and you guys, this is so easy it’s crazy.
Whenever you roast up a chicken or a turkey, save the carcass. Put it in a big gallon zipper freezer bag and pop it into the freezer. Whenever you trim veggies or herbs for your meal, pop the parts you would normally throw away into the freezer bag as well.
When the freezer bag is full, simply dump it into a pot of water and simmer for several hours. You can store the resulting stock in the fridge to use fresh or store in the freezer to make it last longer.
The best thing about making your own stock is you can customize it however you want. You can add salt and seasonings or not, it’s up to you!
Here are some things we add to our freezer stock bag: celery and carrot tips, garlic ends, lemon rinds, onion skins, herb stems, and chicken and turkey bones.
3. Ditch the Commercial Cleaners and Paper Towels
The kitchen is notoriously one of the most dirtied places in the home. We make two meals per day in our kitchen and I feel like I’m cleaning it constantly.
Getting rid of your commercial cleaners and stopping the use of paper towels is one of the easiest ways to be more sustainable and more healthy.
Replace Commercial Cleaners with Natural Ones
Commercial cleaners are full of nasty toxic chemicals. Do you really want to be spraying them on surfaces that you use to prepare your food? You can easily make your own kitchen cleaners and reuse the same spray bottles, which will save you money, help the environment, and save your health.
Some Easy to Make Natural Kitchen Cleaners:
- All Purpose Cleaning Spray
- Lemon Vinegar Cleaner
- Earth Friendly DIY Kitchen Spray
- Natural Oven and Stovetop Cleaner
Replace Paper Towels with Washable Alternatives
Stopping the use of paper towels, or at least drastically reducing it, is a huge move for a more sustainable kitchen.
Everyone knows paper towels are wasteful and bad for the environment. There are lots of alternatives, one of which you could start using today.
Reuse Old Materials as Rags: We like to cut up old towels and t-shirts to turn them into rags. We use these with our homemade cleaners to clean all the surfaces in our home, and then into the washing machine they go!
Convert to Washable Unpaper Towels: For everyday kitchen clean up, consider converting from paper towels to “unpaper towels.” These washable towels come in cute patterns, are super absorbent, and mimic the ease of regular paper towels.
If you’re looking to go green in the kitchen, these three simple changes are sure to get you started. Once you hop on that natural living train, it becomes easier and easier to change your life for the better.
Are you already living more sustainably in the kitchen? Tell us about it in the comments!