5 things to change about your kitchen to make it sustainable

The kitchen is the heart of your home, but it’s also the room that produces the most waste. Here are five simple things you can do to make your kitchen more sustainable. 

1. Choose energy-efficient appliances

You can reduce your energy footprint (and your power bill) by choosing energy-efficient appliances. Luckily, manufacturers have made the choice easy by providing ‘Energy Star’ ratings. These ratings use a star system to visually indicate the efficiency of a specific model. 

Don’t go out and madly replace all your current appliances, either. Keep your current appliances in top shape with regular maintenance and replace them with energy-efficient options at the end of their life.

2. Keep food fresher, longer

Every year New Zealanders throw away 157,389 tonnes of food – enough to fill 271 jumbo jets!  Much of this food gets tossed out because it goes off before we can get around to eating it. By incorporating sustainable ways to store food for longer, you can cut back on your food wastage. Did you know refrigerating apples makes them last longer, and you should keep your bread in the freezer because of New Zealand’s humid climate?

Check out Love Food Hate Waste for tips on storing food correctly to extend its shelf life.

3. Try recycled glassware

Glass is one of the very few products that can be melted down and remade into something usable again and again. This makes glass an awesome addition to any kitchen. When your current glasses break, look at replacing them with recycled glassware. 

Glass containers also make attractive and excellent storage – I like glass because you can see exactly what’s inside each container and how much is left.

4. Source products ethically

Wherever possible, look into the companies you’re buying from to make sure they use sustainable production methods, that they’re treating their workers fairly, and that they’re making efforts to reduce their footprint. 

This can extend from the types of storage containers you use right through to your kitchen itself. If you’re remodelling, consider the materials, fixtures, and fittings you use. Could you design your kitchen from reclaimed wood? What countertop material would be most eco-friendly?

5. Banish single-use products

Kitchens are one of the biggest culprits when it comes to single-use products. From plastic bin liners and paper towels to single-use plates and utensils, we’ve got a lot of work to do!

Look for alternative solutions – if you don’t have enough utensils to go around at a party, ask friends to bring over their stash. Swap out paper towels for eco-friendly cloths that can be washed and reused. And start composting your food waste – this removes most of the dirty items from your rubbish bin so you can throw items directly into the bin (no liner required).

Once you start looking for sustainable solutions, you’ll find all kinds of creative ways to give your kitchen a boost. What are your top tips for making your kitchen more sustainable?