You’re prepped and primed, ready to make some changes in your kitchen.
The biggest thing you can change in your kitchen is to reduce the amount of food waste you produce AND what you do with it afterwards. How and where you buy the food for your kitchen is also important to consider.
Please sir, can I have some more?
Well, more isn’t necessarily the answer here, unless we’re talking about making more of the food you buy; for example making meals from leftovers rather than binning them, or using your scraps to make beauty or cleaning products. We have a whole section dedicated to food waste here with 12 simple, quick wins and easy tips, which we recommend reading first.
- Reduce – the amount of food you buy with meal planning and cupboard organisation.
- Reuse – all of the produce, learn how to make meals with leftovers and beauty or cleaning treatments with your scraps.
- Recycle – make the most of your food waste collections, but also try composting at home.
- Eliminate produce that comes in plastic packaging; stop buying pre-packaged fruit and vegetables – buy loose items and use reusable veg bags.
- Consider the packaging of the other products you buy. Are they greenwashing, what is their packaging like, how easily can you recycle it, do they have a refillable option?
- Find a local zero waste shop to source the items you buy.
- Buy local produce – perhaps from a farmers market or local fruit and veg stall.
- Eat less red meat.
- Try to plan at least one vegetarian meal per week, and scale up to more if you can.
Consider the cleaning materials you use: products, containers, sponges and cloths.
Many are sold in single use plastic packaging and contain chemicals that are harmful to us and our environment.
Try making your own cleaning products. There are a lot of recipes online and in our Greener & Cleaner Bromley (& Beyond) Facebook group
Buy more natural or eco-friendly versions.
Look for refills to cut down on unnecessary packaging. Many companies offer a subscription service that saves money too. You can always ask in The Hub or Facebook group for suggestions of things or brands to try.
Laundry and washing machines
- We cannot promise you will ever see the bottom of your dirty washing basket, but we can promise you’ll see a difference in your energy bills and clothes!
- Turn the washing machine’s temperature setting down to 30 degrees.
- Buy an eco friendly laundry detergent.
- Try making your own laundry detergent from conkers.
- Does your eco-friendly detergent offer a refill scheme?
- If you can’t change your detergent yet, try bulk buying to increase the product to packaging ratio.
- Dry clothes on an airer or washing line instead of tumble drying wherever possible. (We know it’s the UK, but our grandparents managed…)
When you’re not using an appliance, switch off and unplug it. Saves you money on your energy bill too!
If there’s a problem with your appliance, do you have insurance and can therefore book a repair visit? Can you fix it yourself? Ifix it.com is a great website for a wide range of electrical and household items if you’d like to try; or if you’re not sure you have the skills or knowledge you can ask in local groups where the item could be repaired. You can also seek advice in the Greener & Cleaner Bromley (& Beyond) Facebook group either how or where to fix an item.
When it’s time to replace an appliance, take a pause to consider:
- Do I actually need it? Do I already own something that would do the job?
- Will I use it regularly? Do I have room to store it? Could I borrow it?
- Could it wait a while?
- Can I buy it second-hand or get it for free in a local group?
- Is there a low-energy, water saving, energy efficient or eco option?
- What are you going to do with the old appliance – can I dispose of it responsibly?
Plastic versus natural materials
There are many items in the kitchen which are made with or coated in plastic that is hard to recycle, or releases microplastics into the environment when it is washed.
Over time, consider replacing plastic items with those made from natural materials or glass. For example, a wooden or glass chopping board instead of a plastic one.
Creating unnecessary waste
One tip to be mindful of – as you start your eco journey don’t be tempted to just replace everything you have with eco-friendly alternatives. That creates a lot of unnecessary waste and can cost a lot.
Instead, think about extending the life of what you have until it no longer serves its purpose, and then moving to a more eco-friendly alternative. Or sell on what you already have and don’t use, to make some money to pay for the things you do want.
Also check out our advice for recycling, including our A-Z Wiki, rehoming, and borrowing.