Sunday, November 9, 2008

It's Easy Being Green...In The Kitchen

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Being green, for me, is not just being a "band wagoner" nor am I part of Al Gore's supposed plan to take over the world. Being green has been a way of life for me and it's just plain common sense. My grandparents lived through The Great Depression and World War II. They lived green out of necessity-- not because some politician or celebrity told them it was cool. They instilled many of these ideas in me so it's sort of second nature.

The basic idea is this: Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. How simple is that?We have put some very easy to implement ideas to work in our household that city dwellers, suburbanites and country folk can use. They take very little time and/or money. In fact, they may actually save or earn money.
Ten Easy Ways to be Green in your kitchen:
1. Clear the clutter and don't accumulate more. Although, I have many collections and way too many dishes, we try to keep it down to a dull roar. Step away from the mall!!! We try to live with what we need instead of everything that we want. This also applies to certain kitchen gadgets that are unnecessary and end up in the landfill. (I'm thinking of a certain boxers electric indoor grill and by the way, it was a gift.)
2. Buy high quality items that will last and look for items made from organic or recyclable materials. Don't forget to check out yard sales. I purchased my very high quality chefs knife at a yard sale for $1. I also lucked into a stack of brand new Williams-Sonoma kitchen towels last year. I could still kick myself for not buying that mandolin for $15. Someone else's seldom or never used item, may be just the thing you're looking for.
3. The more fresh items that you use in the kitchen, the less packaging to throw away. Enough said.
4. This leads me to gardening. We have an organic vegetable garden. No fuel is used getting our veggies from the farm to the table. Our little 15x15 plot yields more than enough for two people and we have some left to freeze for the winter. We use only human energy with no power tools allowed. Once the soil is prepared and the garden is planted, it takes very little time to maintain.
5. "The Earth Machine" AKA ,the compost bin, lives in the back yard. We purchased it at a yard sale for $3 but before that we had one constructed out of chicken wire and some cheap wood that was leftover from another project. The chicken wire was even purchased at a yard sale for $1. Composting sounds more intimidating then it actually is. It takes no more time to throw something in the compost bin than the garbage. I keep a bowl handy to throw scraps in and then it get taken out to the compost heap.
6. Don't waste food. Eat the leftovers. What ? Are you too good???
7. Recycle as much as possible. We don't have recycling available with our trash service so we keep three garbage cans outside for aluminum cans,steel cans and plastics. When they are full, we take them to our local recycling center. We paid for all of the garden supplies for this year and had some money left over, from our recycling. This is great!!! Somebody is paying me to take my garbage. Awesome!!
8. Take your own bags to the market. More on this to follow...
9. Use non-toxic cleaning products. I prefer Method products because of the affordability but there are lots of other great products out there. Don't forget baking soda and vinegar.
10. Minimize the use of paper products. We use cloth napkins and bar towels to minimize our paper towel use and I don't think we even have any paper plates. Yuk!!!!
So there you have it. Even if you can only do a couple of things to help out our planet, that's a couple more than you were doing before

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