Steps to Green Your Kitchen

green-prophet-kitchen.jpgThis kicks off the first in a series of tips to make you and your life, a little more green. Home is where the green heart is, and the kitchen is a great place to start making your home more environmentally friendly.

As children, who can’t remember the kitchen being the center of activity in the house? Kitchens are generally one of the most important rooms at home, for it’s here that we cook and eat and it is an important meeting point for families and friends.

In this heavily trafficked area, doesn’t it seem strange that most of us would store some of the nastiest chemicals for scouring and scraping dirt in the kitchen?

Today, many of us store our household cleaners under the sink. And the attractive, sparkling labels always give a double message, revealed on the back in smaller print: Poison! Caution! Warning! It is no longer a secret, that the use of harsh solvents and soaps in our homes cause respiratory problems, affect the nervous system of growing children and lead to other health problems.

Not to mention that the formulation of these cleansers release an unspeakable amount of pollutants into the environment during production and after their use.So when it comes to clean, what are the options of going green?

If you are a clean-freak, buy environmentally-certified plant-based cleaning products. One widely available brand is Ecover, a company which sells everything from floor cleaner to dishwasher tablets. We recommend it, and it can be found in Israeli health stores, such as Anise.

The dishwashing soap of Ecover, doesn’t cut grease as well as traditional soap, and it is more expensive. But by using a plant alternative you go easier on the environment and your health, as even with a good rinse, a significant amount of dishwashing soap is left on the plate and consumed with your food.

If you are a little more adventurous and don’t mind the smell of pickles, a whole range of cleaning products can be made from the base of white vinegar.

Six cups water, two cups vinegar and a drop of your favourite essential oil makes a good floor cleaner. One cup of vinegar, three cups of water and a drop of tea tree oil makes a good cleaner and disinfectant for counters and walls.We tend to just use water, and a little traditional cleaner if necessary….

A third approach to going green in the kitchen is to simply clean less. Your grandma wouldn’t like to hear that.

Wash down sinks and floors with hot water, and get used to a little more grime on the floor.If there is one thing we can’t stand in Israel, it’s when people pour heavily fragranced water from their floors off their balconies.

If you do this folks (it’s great for watering the plants), please use a biodegradable cleaner and one that is not heavily perfumed.green-prophet-tiles.jpgFloors naturally look cleaner if they are tiled with wood, terracotta tiles or cork, a sustainable alternative.

Avoid using white tiles on the floors in your home if you don’t have a flare for cleaning.

According to Blue Butterfly, a new US-based campaign for educating families on health in the home, prior to WWII, most household cleaning was done using relatively safe ingredients like baking soda and vinegar to disinfect and deodorize.

In the kitchen, adds Blue Butterfly, beyond modern cleaning products, one should avoid pesticides and insecticides. In order to keep files of ants from marching over your fresh cheesecake, or cockroaches from nesting under your pipes, keep surfaces clean and dry and keep food stores (and that cheesecake) away from the hungry mouths of little beasties.

Nettings, covers, sealed containers and the plugging of holes is not a conducive atmosphere for insects.

If these basic steps fail, green insecticides such as Battle for ants and roaches can be purchased online or at alternative health stores. We haven’t checked in to see if you can find this in Israel, though.Being green in the kitchen, or anywhere in the home always means being friendly to ourselves.

Try and avoid plastic containers in the kitchen. In the last 10 years, researchers have found that certain plastic dishes and containers even those used for storing dry food, emit hormone mimics, which disrupt our endocrine system, leading to diseases and cancer.

While there are certain classes of plastics considered safe for use, who wants to take that risk? Consider buying cooking pots, storing containers and dishes made from inert materials such as glass, stainless steel and ceramic. Ceramics go well in the oven and a variety of clay can be used on the stovetop.

Now it’s time to cook and set the table. Table covers and napkins should be made from a reusable material such as cloth and not necessarily from a virgin source. Old sheets can be dyed and serve as a tablecloth and napkins.

When they get too worn, convert them to dish rags or floor rags.After your meal, veggie scraps, teabags and eggshells go into your compost pail for the garden (see James’ soulful post on starting your own), or an urban composter can be bought for use in the city home where green space is limited.

Tell the plastic film it is time for a wrap and invest in food-grade silicone food covers, which can go in the freezer.For a final touch, cover your florescent light with some pink rice paper and bask in the glory – your kitchen is on its way to being perfectly green!

Update!
Don’t stop at the kitchen.
Green Prophet on the Living Room
Green Prophet on the Bedroom
Green Prophets Tackle Your Wardrobe
Green Prophet Greens Your Bathroom

This story first appeared at www.eolife.org/image credits to nahama and chantal.

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17 thoughts on “Steps to Green Your Kitchen”

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  4. these materials are made of silicone? i think this is a great material in making such things.

  5. these materials are made of silicone? i think this is a great material in making such things.

  6. Angel says:

    I have a condenser dryer and use the water from that with a teensy bit of vinegar, salt and about 5 lemons worth of juice to wash my floors. the lemon smell cancels out the vinegar and it’s really good.

  7. Rivka says:

    This is a nice beginning. With our water shortage, I would like to see more people recycle kitchen sink water to the garden, potted plants and to flush toilet. Also recycle bathtub water to flush tiolet, to clean floors and car etc!

  8. Karin says:

    This is not the first time you have commented here ;). Maybe you do care about the planet and our effects on it, after all?
    Karin

  9. Scavenger says:

    Sorry, this goy doesnt think we will be destroying the planet any time soon.

  10. sara says:

    Ecover has started appearing in supermarkets lately. I saw almost all their products in Mega, and also in some smaller ones.

  11. Jodie says:

    For the ant problem, here in Central Texas, we sometimes use dried mollases. It normally comes in 50 pound bags, and is used for feed, but it also has the benefits of driving off ants, and contributing to the organic mass in the garden, feeding microbes that help the soil become better for vegetables.

  12. Karin says:

    Wow Linda, sounds like you have lots of neat ideas. Please share more if you get the chance.

  13. wildsynergy says:

    Thanks so much for your post, Karin! My alternative to storing food in plastic in the fridge is this: i purchase or harvest veggies using a basket or paper bag and then i place a small amount of water in a metal bowl, place the greens and other leafy veggies in the bowl, i then wet a cloth napkin and place it over the veggies. This works well. All in all, when accessing my creativity in these realms of being mindful, i ask myself how my Great Grandmother would have done it, before they came out with all of the products that we’ve learned to ‘blindly’ depend on.
    I look forward to reading more of your entries, and sharing ideas! Be well, Linda

  14. Karin says:

    Sounds like you *really* care James. If you have any other useful kitchen hints, do share. I for one would like to see the standard kitchen fridge halved in size. Who uses the fridge to its max? It’s usually just holding junk that we can’t be bothered to eat.

  15. james says:

    Nice piece. There is also a new kid on the eco block: recycled aluminium foil. Again, brought some back from UK – not sure if it’s available here yet … its from a Swedish company called If you care. check out the website: http://www.ifyoucare.com

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