Healthy Home Thrive

10 Steps to a Healthier and More Sustainable Kitchen

Written by Jessika Firmage

We all want to raise the healthiest kids we can while being as gentle to our planet as possible. The known impact of each individual on our planet is no mystery.

One area of our homes that can have the greatest influence on both our health and our environment is our kitchen.

This easy-to-follow list of suggestions will help you to begin to transform your kitchen into a more sustainable, responsible and healthy area of your home.

STEP ONE

Buy in bulk whenever possible to reduce transportation and waste impacts. For example, rather than buying individual serving size packets of oatmeal, buy a couple of pounds from the bulk aisle, and enjoy a healthier option as well as save money.

STEP TWO

Save glass jars and use them to store leftovers, snacks, grains, and more. There’s no need to purchase expensive glass dishes. You can make this change easily by washing the jars your food comes in, removing the labels and re-using them. Glass doesn’t carry the many health risks of plastic, nor does it support a heavier use of petroleum products, garbage, and recycling needs which also have a negative impact. The more you get into this habit, the more items you will find re-uses for.

STEP THREE

Stop buying bottled water. Consider investing in a water filter and purchase a reusable, stainless steel or glass water bottle. Again, limiting our exposure to plastic, reducing trash and recycling, and saving money are just some of the reasons that makes this a great idea.

STEP FOUR

Commit to not buying paper towels & napkins. Instead consider making cloth “un”paper towels, buying extra washcloths, or cloth napkins instead. Anything to reduce the use of paper, and the amount of trash leaving our homes, the better. Many paper towels are made using bleaching agents and dyes which have a negative impact on our environment. Pre-fold cloth diapers also make great “un”papertowels and rags. keep a bucket under your kitchen sink to toss the dirty ones in, just don’t forget to wash them on laundry day!

STEP FIVE

Get rid of your non-stick pans by dontaing them to the Salvation Army or the like, and buy cast iron, glass, ceramic or stainless steel instead. The coating of non-stick pans release toxic fumes when over heated and can cause flu-like symptoms in humans,and kill pet birds. Undoubtedly some of the toxic fumes are making their way into whatever you cook in them.

STEP SIX

Consider getting rid of your microwave oven. Choose to eat more whole, raw foods, and less processed food. Heating leftovers on the stove or in the oven is a healthier option. This may also have a positive effect on how much food your family makes and wastes. The negative health impacts of microwaved food are very likely.

STEP SEVEN

Make your own cleaning products. Rid your home of the toxic chemicals in conventional cleaning products. If you stock your home with baking soda, vinegar, essential oils, borax and washing soda, you can make just about anything. Check the ingredients on your current cleaners on the Environmental Working Group’s Cleaners Database to learn more about the harmful toxins lurking within.

STEP EIGHT

Start composting. So many of the things we throw away would be better put to use in a compost pile. Nothing better than compost soil for that garden you are going to plant.

STEP NINE

Plant that garden. If you don’t have a green thumb, or much room, consider starting in pots or planters with things you know you’ll eat, like tomatotes. Use that compost!

STEP TEN

Get another trash can, or bin. start or continue recycling. Make it appealing and easier on yourself by getting organized. Hang a list of things that can be recycled above the cans, and a picture of a landfill to encourage you. Between composting and recycling and re-using you will be throwing away little to nothing, which will save on the money you would have spent, as well as reducing your consumption of plastic trash bags.

About the author

Jessika Firmage