The kitchen is the heart of your home, and for good reason. It serves as a meeting place for you and your family to enjoy beautiful meals, entertain guests, or even find a place of solitude when cooking. Whatever the reason, your love affair with your kitchen can become even sweeter by making your kitchen a more sustainable one. But what is a sustainable kitchen, and how can it benefit your family? Here’s what you need to know.
What is a sustainable kitchen?
n eco-friendly, or sustainable kitchen, is one that opts for sustainable designs, products and practices. This can include everything from choosing energy-efficient kitchen appliances, to reusing kitchen building materials, and reducing food waste. All in all, a sustainable kitchen is healthier for you, your family, and our planet. Plus, a sustainable kitchen can help reduce your energy bills too. Let’s take a look at five simple steps you can take, to make yours a sustainable kitchen
1. Move to energy star appliances
Although they might be cheaper at the outset, kitchen appliances that drain a lot of energy will be less cost-effective in the long run, boosting your household power bills. Thankfully, this can be avoided by choosing kitchen appliances with a higher energy star rating. You can make sure your new kitchen appliance is energy efficient by checking it’s energy rating label– the more stars on the rating label, the more energy efficient it will be (and the lower your energy bill)
The humble household fridge accounts for 10% of your electricity bill, so this a good appliance to get right. Compare the energy rating of your fridge on this online calculator. As an extra energy-efficiency tip, place your fridge away from your oven or direct sunlight, so it doesn't need to work harder to keep cool.
Your dishwasher will have both a star rating for energy efficiency and for water use, NSW Government online calculator so keep an eye out for these. For example, the recommends at least 3½ energy stars and 3½ water stars as a starting point. You can compare the energy rating of your dishwater on this. Choose a dishwasher model with options like half loads or eco-washes, to further reduce your environmental impact
Kettles aren’t very expensive to run compared to larger kitchen appliances, but choosing a kettle with a higher energy star rating is still an environmentally friendly win. Another simple eco-friendly tip – rather than boiling a full kettle each time, only fill your kettle with as much water as you need. It will use less energy to boil (and your cup of tea will be ready sooner too). You can also look into installing a Zip HydroTap in your kitchen sink as an environmentally-friendly kettle alternative. These beauties are water efficient and discourage the use of single-use plastics in the home.
Choosing water efficient kitchen products could save your household $175 each year from reduced power and water bills. Consider the star water rating of your dishwasher and kitchen taps. Plus, look for low-flow when installing your taps. These clever taps mix air with the water, so you’ll enjoy a high-pressure flow, but use less water – genius.
3. Get your lighting right
The most energy efficient and cost-effective lighting for your kitchen is LED lighting. LEDs last longer than traditional lightbulbs and although they are more expensive to purchase outright, these light bulbs will save you more money on your energy bills over time.
4. Sustainable kitchen design
When designing or renovating your kitchen, choose sustainable materials to do your part for the planet. Ethically sourced timber is a great option for kitchen countertops and cabinets. Search Responsible Wood’s database for certified, sustainable wood and suppliers. Bamboo is another beautiful and eco-friendly option for cabinets or flooring. You can also try upcycling materials, like glass, to create a one-of-a-kind, contemporary countertop. Stainless steel is another smart option, as it's usually recycled, reducing your carbon footprint.
5. Mind your kitchen waste
Your kitchen offers plenty of opportunities to recycle unused items. From food scraps, to soft plastics and even old kitchen appliances, you can find a recycling centre near you via PlanetArk’s RecylingNearYou. If you're a bit of a green thumb, you can also consider starting a compost bin. This will reduce the amount of organic waste going to landfill, and produce a nutrient-dense, natural fertiliser for your garden.