Many of us believe that food is what gathers people and helps us create memories. And this thought does carry some truth since food is a massive way of sharing culture, getting to sit close to love us and spend however long or short time we want together. In many ways, the kitchen can be seen as the heart of the house, so it’s essential to consider if we are making it as eco-friendly as possible.
Sadly, food waste is one of the most significant issues affecting the entire globe for the most extended amount of time. This doesn’t only go for developed countries but also developing ones that show incredibly high malnutrition rates. It’s heartbreaking to learn that apart from food waste severely affecting the environment, health, nutrition, and the economy, humans are to blame for most of it since one-third of food intended for consumption worldwide is wasted or lost.
The good news is that we can still take responsibility, make life changes, and work towards making those memorable moments around the kitchen table we’re, for the most part, familiar with, something the rest of the world can one day also partake in.
1. Start to plan your weekly meals before going to the supermarket. Meal planning has three basic steps: selecting your recipes, grocery shopping, and then preparing. You can decrease your food waste (you buy only the necessary ingredients) and time spent in the kitchen planning your meals ahead.
2. Choosing to buy fresh and unpackaged food in a local farmer’s market and bulk shops using reusable bags or containers can be your new way of grocery shopping if you still don't do it. It will avoid to decrease your plastic waste and help you to eat more seasonal food.
3. You can switch to reusable or long-lasting items, like reusable food wraps instead of a single-use plastic film to seal containers and a reusable baking mat for anything you want to cook in the oven instead of single-use baking paper. Plastic film and baking paper are not recyclable and only create waste in our landfills.
4. Learning to compost will decrease your carbon emissions. Why? Because organic waste can't break down in a landfill. The lack of oxygen in landfills impedes organic materials from biodegrading. Plus, when in a landfill, the organic matter releases methane into the air. On the other hand, inside a compost bin, it will decompose very quickly. There are plenty of options you can find online for compost even inside an apartment.
5. When choosing how to clean your dishes by hand, ditching the plastic sponge is a good tip. When you're doing your dishes with it, you're scrubbing off tiny pieces of plastic – microplastics - for the environment. Plus, they are not recyclable, filling up landfills after only a few weeks of use. You can try a biodegradable sponge made of cellulose or loofah instead. They can clean all pots and pans in the same way that the plastic sponges. The best thing: they are biodegradable and compostable (the cellulose sponge should contain no glue or added chemicals).
6. Lastly, taking awareness of your cleaning habits can be the deal breaker between you and sustainable living. You’d be surprised how often people start buying in bulk to decrease waste, consume seasoned products, and compost responsibly but skip over all the paper towels they use to clean up everyday spills. If this resonates with you, why not give reusable kitchen towels a go? This doesn’t mean you should buy expensive new towels, but use what’s around you. Maybe grab old towels or cotton t-shirts from around the house, cut them into squares, and use those instead of paper towels. They can effortlessly be thrown into the washing machine and used repeatedly. Repurpose is a great way to avoid waste in our homes!
Hopefully, this has been encouraged to help you build a more eco-friendly kitchen and home so that we can continue gathering with loved ones, sharing delicious treats, and aiding in spreading awareness on how not everyone has the same privileges as us. Let’s keep in mind that while we enjoy the heart of the house and experiment with different meals and activities, this earth is still the only home we all get to share, and we should all be taking care of it equally.