Happy Earth Day: 7 Ways to Go Green in Your Kitchen

Planting a tree, picking up trash, or biking to work are all great ways to celebrate Earth Day, which is quickly approaching (April 22nd to be exact!). But how about turning the focus indoors this year? There are plenty of ways to help the planet in your own home, and the kitchen is a great room to start the “green” movement. Take a look at these seven super tips for becoming more eco-friendly in the kitchen. Happy Earth Day!

#1 Do the dishes by hand
Water conservation experts say washing dishes by hand is actually better for the environment. Don’t leave the faucet running while you wash because it’s more wasteful. Instead, go green by filling one side of the sink with warm soapy water and the other with water for rinsing. Enlist the kids to help dry the dishes!

#2 … But it’s ok to run the dishwasher
Our crazy busy lives don’t always allow time for hand-washing dishes. When you do run the dishwasher, make sure it’s a full load to keep it more eco-friendly!

#3 Start a compost bucket
Earth Day is a great time to start a compost bucket in your kitchen. Potato peels, onion skins, and coffee grounds are all perfect composting candidates! Just make sure the container you’re using has a tight fitting lid to keep bugs and critters out of your kitchen. Designate an area in the yard (preferable out of the reach of pets) to put the scraps in when the container is full. Compost is nutrient-rich and awesome for gardens!

#4 Say bye-bye to plastic baggies
Millions and millions of these lunchbox favorites end up in American landfills every day. Go green by opting for cloth versions of plastic baggies which can be washed and reused time and time again. Or use plastic containers that’ll last longer than a single use.

#5 Fix or replace a leaky kitchen faucet
Don’t think that small drip, drip, drip from the kitchen sink is a big deal? According to a recent article in The Washington Post, leaky faucets (along with other household water problems) contribute to one trillion gallons of water being wasted each year in the United States. One trillion! If you can’t fix it yourself, call in a plumber to do the job, but don’t ignore the drip any longer!
#6 Opt for “green” countertop materials
If you’re in the market for new countertops, look for ones that leave a smaller footprint. Stainless steel is an economical and more eco-friendly option. Home experts estimate that about 65-80 percent of stainless steel is actually recycled content and can be recycled again and again. Wood is another great option for kitchen countertops. Since wood is a naturally occurring material, wooden countertops don’t require a lot of energy to be made. Even though marble and granite are both natural materials too, the energy that goes into quarrying them makes them less eco-friendly choices.

#7 Recycle!
Keep a recycling bin in your kitchen or at least near it if you don’t already have one. Check cereal boxes, empty plastic containers, and glass bottles to see if they’re recyclable before you throw them in the trash. Instead of tossing old pots, pans and bakeware, donate them if they’re still usable.