For many people, leading a sustainable lifestyle is a top priority. But if you have an older home, you may find it more difficult to embrace a green lifestyle. That said, 61% of homeowners who have lived in their current homes for more than six years will choose to renovate rather than move. What’s more, you may not have to sign up for an expansive renovation to make your home more eco-friendly.
Let’s start in one of the most popular rooms: the kitchen. You probably rely on your appliances to store and cook most of your meals — and upgrading those appliances may allow you to save energy (and money). But that’s not the only way to achieve a more eco-conscious kitchen. Here are just a few other steps to take if you want to protect the planet with small changes in this space.
Start a Compost Pile
Food waste is a huge problem in the U.S., as it represents 30% to 40% of the entire food supply. In 2010, 133 billion pounds of food (worth $161 billion) were wasted, according to the USDA. But you can offset some of that food waste in your own home by being careful about how much you buy, planning out your meals, and composting what you’d normally throw away. Fruit and veggie scraps, eggshells, coffee grounds, and yard debris can all be composted to create a natural fertilizer that can keep your garden looking gorgeous. If you don’t want to start a compost pile in your yard, you can keep a compost bin in your kitchen and sign up for a program that allows you to drop off your waste at a local site.
Eliminate Toxic Chemicals
Each year, more than 1.57 billion gallons of paint are sold in the United States. But many of those paints contain harsh chemicals, known as VOCs, that can be damaging to one’s health and to the earth. If you’re giving your kitchen a new paint job, be sure to choose a product that contains zero VOCs. And whenever you clean that kitchen — which should be frequently, as your kitchen is one of the dirtiest places in your home — you should use products that are non-toxic. There are plenty of natural and effective cleaning agents on the market, but you can also make your own out of some basic elements. Not only will you be doing your part to save the environment, but you’ll also ensure your family will stay safe.
Get a Faucet Upgrade
Getting a new fridge or stove is a big investment. But most people can afford to upgrade their faucet — and there may be a good reason to do so. If your faucet is older, it probably isn’t a low-flow model. That means you might be wasting quite a bit of water. But according to the EPA, installing a WaterSense faucet (or even a faucet aerator) could save you quite a bit of money. You should also take this time to ensure your kitchen faucet isn’t leaking, as fixing that problem could save both money and water. It might also benefit you to outfit your faucet with a tap filter. Although only 1% of the planet’s water is suitable for drinking, installing a filter right on your faucet can eliminate the need for bottled water or a bulky jug in your fridge. That’ll end up saving you time and money while you eliminate single-use plastic.
Switch How You Brew
If you like to start off your morning with a cup of coffee, you might want to take a closer look at how you get your caffeine. Relying on a Keurig machine might be handy, but those K-Cups are bad for the environment. You might want to switch to a traditional pot brew with a mesh coffee filter or start using reusable, stainless steel K-Cups. Be sure not to use disposable coffee cups and lids at home; while they might be a pain to wash, reusable mugs are much more environmentally friendly.
Creating a greener kitchen might sound like a huge undertaking, but it’s actually much simpler than you’d think. With these steps in mind, you can make small adjustments to reduce your carbon footprint while you save money — all without disrupting your regular routine.