Have you been thinking of making changes to be more environmentally friendly family? With all the “green” talk buzzing about, it can be hard to know where to start. The kitchen is an excellent place to make some green changes in your home. Here are some easy, low-cost tweaks your family can try to make a difference.

Ditch the Paper Products: What do you use to wipe counters, dishes or spills? Stop going through a roll of paper towel or package of napkins every week and switch to dish rags, dish towels and cloth napkins. Paper plates and cups and disposable plastic silverware are convenient, but using reusable dishes (be it plastic, ceramic or glass), will reduce your waste greatly! Save the paper stuff to use when you’re throwing a big party instead.

Compost it: Growing up, my dad had a massive compost pile in the backyard. We composted things from our kitchen I never knew could be composted! Keep a container by your kitchen sink to put your compost in and take it out to your compost pile every night. Some cities even pick up compost with recyclables. Don’t forget to save some for your garden!
Not sure what you can compost? Here are some common compost items:

  • Scraps from fruits and vegetables
  • Wooden popsicle sticks or toothpicks
  • Coffee grounds and filters
  • Stale crackers, cereals, pretzels, breads
  • Paper bags, egg cartons or rolls (toilet paper or paper towels)
  • Wine corks

Recycle: Every time you open a package, can or container, you have the opportunity to recycle in the kitchen. If you don’t have a regular recycle pick-up, take cans, glass and plastics to your local recycling center. Or if you’re feeling crafty, recycle leftover jars or containers for craft projects.

Drinking Water: Instead of buying bottled water, use a refrigerated filtered system. This hits the environmental front in two ways: First, you’re not adding waste from the water bottles. Secondly, when you keep drinking cold water from the refrigerator, you won’t waste water when you run your tap until it’s cold enough to drink.

Cleaning Products: There are a couple easy ways to make your own cleaning products for the kitchen. To spray counters, mix one cup of vinegar with one cup of water and you’re ready to go. If you’re doing some scrubbing, you can put baking soda on a sponge. Some people even make their own soaps for hand washing and doing dishes!

Buy Fresh, Buy Local: Visit your local farmer’s market to buy fresh foods for your family. Many grocery stores have taken to advertising when they have local produce as well. To top it off, when you shop, take cloth bags that you can use time after time.

Challenge yourself to make at least one of these changes to create a more environmentally friendly kitchen and teach your kids the importance of taking care of the world we live in! Stay tuned for more advice on going green in other areas of your house!