The Low-impact Living Challenge II: 5 simple ways to go green in the kitchen

There are many ways you can go green and reduce your environmental impact. I am slowly, but surely making changes and adapting to a new, environmentaly friendly lifestyle. It isn’t always easy, and sometimes it takes more time and effort than anticipated to get over certain habits, but it sure is worth it. In case you are just beginning your journey to low-impact, fear not. Check out my previous blog post here to ease your way in. If you have already succesfully completed these three baby steps, maybe you are indeed ready for my second challenge: a low-impact kitchen.

My kitchen seems to be the place where most of my waste is produced. Whether we are talking about food, products, packaging, it all seems to begin and end right there. So I took a closer look at the things I use, made a list of habits I wanted to change, and here is what I ended up doing in order to make my kitchen a bit more efficient and environmentaly friendly:

1. Swaped paper towels for cloths and cotton towels

Paper towels are some of the most environmentaly damaging paper products used today. In the US, 2% of total landfill consists of paper towels. Not to mention that to make one ton of paper towels, 17 trees are cut down and 20,000 gallons of water are consumed. Switching to cloths and cotton towels will not only reduce their negative impact on the environment, but will also save you some cash.

tip: Use your old t-shirts and cut them into squares in order to reuse them as cloths. Make them look professinal by following Erika’s tutorial.

2. Replaced my sponge with a wooden brush and a tawashi sponge

Wooden brushes seem to be slowly taking over. And rightfuly so! They are biodegradable, making them a very low-imapct tool every kitchen should have. Tawashi sponges on the other hand, can easily be made at home using old tights, t-shirts, scraps etc. Here’s a tutorial I followed to make my own one out of a pair of old tights. And another one here for those of you that don’t speak french 🙂

3. Started buying organic dishwashing liquid and laundry detergent in bulk

No more plastic waste and toxic substances in the kitchen when it comes to washing my dishes or clothes! I simply reuse the same bottles everytime I buy my dishwashing liquid and landry detergent in bulk. Both of them are locally produced, which is great as I am not only minimising my carbon footprint, but also supporting small businesses in my town.

4. Made my own cleaning spray

Most store bought products contain lots of synthetic chemicals that come with certain risks, especially to those with skin sensitivities or alergies. Why spend money on them, when you can make a very effective cleaning product at home. All you’ ll need is vinegar! As simple as that.

Here’s how I made mine: In a spray bottle, I simply mixed one part of water, with one part of vinegar. I also added about 10-20 drops of eucaliptus essential oil. Vinegar and eucalyptus are great disinfectants and deodorizers, making this spray a great multitasker in the kitchen. More info on cleaning with vinegar here.

5. Started composting

Geneva has got compost bins in front of every building. This made my decision to start composting so much easier, as all I need to do is get composting bags and simply throw my food scraps in them. Once my bag is full, I drop it off in the compost bin in front my building. If your city has got a similar programme, make sure you support it! If not disposed properly, organic waste creates a harmful greenhouse gas, methane, which damages the Earth’s atmosphere.

More info on Geneva’s composting programme here.

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