Going Green for Earth Day: Eco-friendly Kitchen Ideas
With Earth Day approaching, it’s the perfect time to think about your environmental footprint. Do you recycle? Compost? Drive a fuel efficient car? Have solar panels on your home? You may be pondering what changes you can make to live a more sustainable lifestyle, but something that you may not have thought of is how to make your kitchen more eco-friendly. The kitchen is a space in your home where the most garbage is generated and where a lot of energy is consumed. With so many green products available, there are plenty of choices that could not only help save the planet, but provide you great savings in the long run.
While it’s true that environmentally friendly building materials tend to have a higher upfront cost, there are many choices for the kitchen that aren’t too pricey yet are very impactful. Energy efficient appliances approved by the EPA Energy Star Program use 10 to 50 percent less energy than typical models, and are widely available and affordable for the average homeowner. These reduce energy costs on a monthly basis as well as provide significant savings over the course of a year. Choosing an induction cooktop for example, over gas or electric, can save you money as it is the most energy efficient cooking appliance.
A recycling station in the kitchen is a simple solution to keeping recyclables organized. This can be in the form of a cabinet pullout, with one can for plastic and one for paper. The containers are easily removable to empty into a larger recycling bin outside. Built-in counter compost systems make it easy to wipe away produce scraps into a compost bin built right into the countertop.
Designing to withstand the test of time is another way to reduce your home’s environmental footprint. Design your kitchen with timeless and quality material choice and you’ll be less likely to have to remodel again 10 years down the road because it’s become out of style. Demolishing a kitchen produces a lot of waste, and some may not be recyclable, so an enduring design is environmentally critical. When a renovation is necessary, consider donating items that are in good working condition, including cabinetry and appliances.
Repurposing items will reduce the amount going to a landfill, and is friendly to your wallet. Fixing up an old piece of furniture and using it as an alternative to a built in island is not just environmentally friendly and cost effective, but will provide character, warmth and texture to your kitchen. Repairing and repurposing antique lighting fixtures can have the same effect. From trash to treasure!
Designing an eco-friendly kitchen is easier than you think; it just takes a bit of creativity. Aside from expensive solar panels, environmentally friendly building materials, and energy efficient heating and cooling systems, there are many simple and affordable alternatives to designing a sustainable home.