Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Recycling in the Kitchen

Hey readers, so for the next couple of weeks I've decided to a series of articles that cover different areas of your house and backyard that will list out the many things you can do to recycle in those particular areas. This idea was inspired by a video project we're doing in the environmental club at my school, so thank you environmental club! (: This week, we'll be covering the kitchen. The kitchen is a place that is just teeming with activity, resulting in many, many instances, where we could be making greener choices.

Paper towels, we all use them for anything that comes by us. Whether it's wiping the table clean, the counter top, or just drying your hands, our handy friend, the paper towel, is always there to save us. Instead, why not try using a towel? Just hang the towel by the sink in your kitchen, and every time you have to dry your hands just use that. Replace paper towels for wiping off surfaces with sponges. You can always squeeze out the dirty water from the sponge, so it'll never become too unclean to use, and it is a perfect replacement for your paper towel.

We all wash dishes, but the trick is in how you wash them. When you wash your dirty plates and utensils, do you leave the water running while you scrub at them and put them in the dishwasher, or do you turn the water off? If you turn the water off, than good for you! However, if you don't then we've got a little talking to do. (: While you're washing the dishes, rinse them with water, then use a sponge or a similar thing to scrub the residual food off, give it one last rinse at the end and then make sure to turn off the faucet once more while you put the dish into the dishwasher. This way, when you don't really need the water, the faucet will be off and you won't be wasting any of it.

Filter contaminants such as lead and chloroform, along with the taste of chlorine, from your tap water with a water-filtering pitcher or a faucet-mounted system. You'll also save money over buying bottled water, and reduce the energy used and pollution created in producing, shipping, and disposing of all those plastic containers.

Don't' feel guilty about running your dishwasher, you should use it. The dishwasher actually uses less water than doing dishes by hand. Just make sure to run it only when it is completely full, otherwise you'll have to do lighter loads at more frequent intervals. Also, when the dishwasher is being run, try to run it at its lowest setting-choose light instead of heavy and air dry rather than heat.

Throwing food into the trash can wastes a valuable resource. Turn your coffee grounds, banana peels, and eggshells into a rich soil conditioner for houseplants, lawn, and garden by composting them. Keep a small bucket near your prep area to collect waste and then just add the contents to a backyard compost bin.

Rather than storing leftovers in plastic, try old fashioned glass, ceramic, or stainless-steel containers. While many types of plastic can be recycled, they're all made from petroleum, a nonrenewable resource. So cook a recipe of a favorite dish and pack it in your Pyrex or glass covered dishes.

Until next time,
greengirl (:

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