Environmental Tips

Environment Tips: Going Green in the Kitchen (Star Ledger 5/23/21)

Here’s a list of actions – some easy, some a little more involved – that you can take to become more sustainably minded in your home. Pick just 3 to change how you live right now.

Put a lid on it! When boiling water, putting on a lid traps the heat inside so that ir comes to a boil more quickly and requires less energy.

Put down paper towels! Sponges are great for wiping up spills and can be sanitized by tossing in the dishwasher. A wire rack is better for draining fried foods.

Ditch Plastic Bags! 8 states have banned and several states mandate charging fees for single- use plastic bags. Why not start now to make reusable shopping bags a habit.

Run the dishwasher only when it is full! Using a dishwasher is more eco-friendly than hand washing but run it only when it is full. Consider turning off heat drying and letting dishes air dry instead.

Don’t let the faucet run when washing your hands! To sanitize hands before cooking, wet with water and turn off, wash with soap without the water running for the time is takes to sing “Happy Birthday” (20 seconds) and then rinse.

Reuse parchment paper and aluminum foil! Both can be reused. Simply wipe down and fold up. Try a silicone baking mat in place of parchment.

Try composting! If you are not ready to start your own pile at home, store compostable material in the fridge or freezer before taking it to a community garden or other composting site.

Choose reusable Coffee equipment! Most coffee makers come with mesh filters. A French Press doesn’t need anything extra. There are options for reusable pods for replace single use versions. Compost coffee grounds.

Give up plastic zip-tops! Silicone food storage bags can be put in the dishwasher and are extremely durable.

Be smarter when preheating the oven! For items where a stark temperature change is not important (e.g., baked potato, bacon), don’t preheat, just put the food in. For food that does, try not to preheat longer than necessary.

Embrace Leftovers! Food eaten a few days later can be just as good as when first cooked. Eating leftovers helps reduce food waste. Reheating consumes less energy than cooking a new meal from scratch.

Opt for eco-friendly cleaning products! Buy sponges made from recycled materials and dish soaps/detergents that are biodegradable and free of phosphates. Buy products in bulk for less packaging. Consider purchasing biodegradable trash bags.