Transform your space with these easy, practical ideas and see how small changes add up to big benefits for our planet.
Trash Matters - Recycle
In many neighborhoods, Green living begins just outside the front door with curbside recycling. Paper, plastic, and aluminum account for 85% of packaging materials, and each is recyclable. Aside from produce, most grocery items are packaged in containers made to be recycled. If your family plows through a pantry full of groceries every week like we do here, start recycling. You'll be amazed at how much trash and precious resources you'll save from going into landfills. When we began a voluntary recycling program, the news spread quickly, and from the inspiration of one kitchen, we're now kicking off a pilot recycling program for our entire company!
Crack the code by checking with local recycling centers for a listing of what can and cannot be recycled in your neighborhood. Before you begin, simplify sorting by designating colored containers or bags for easy separation and collection.
The checkout line dilemma--paper or plastic? Neither is acceptable for environmentally savvy shoppers. Paper bags generate an extreme amount of air and water pollution during production, and plastic bags pose serious threats to wildlife because they do not decompose. The solution is simple: Choose reusable cloth bags made from lightweight canvas, nylon, or recycled cotton. Eco-bags, as they are often called, are durable, budget-friendly alternatives for transporting groceries. Bags can be purchased in most supermarkets, online, and at local farmer's markets. Select those that compress easily for storage, and stash several in your car.
Choosing to reuse helps decrease our consumption of precious natural resources and minimizes the volume of nonbiodegradable materials in our landfills. By making the switch, our Test Kitchens Professionals prevent an estimated 312 bags each per year from ending up in public landfills.
Going Green, One Kitchen at a Time
Everywhere you turn, Green is the word. Grasping the basics begins by cutting our daily production of household waste. An average kitchen contributes more than 200 pounds of waste each year, making it the ideal place to reduce our environmental impact. Take the challenge, and go Green with the Southern Living Test Kitchens as we reduce, reuse, and recycle our way into an eco-friendly kitchen.
3 Simple Steps:
- Compost fruit and vegetable peels and pulp.
- Buy local produce to cut down on the amount of oil consumed in transport.
- Choose vegetable-based dishwashing detergents over petroleum-based products.
Green Kitchen Guide
Going Green in the kitchen has never been so simple. With little effort, your small changes will add up to big benefits. Before you begin, consider starting a home composting program to help reduce food and yard waste.
Check out the links we've included to help you transform your kitchen and monitor your eco-impact. Visit www.thegreenguide.com and www.epa.gov/climatechange/emissions/ind_calculator.html. You'll be amazed at the lasting impact made by one environmentally friendly kitchen!
Composting―Benefits Beyond the Kitchen
Three squares a day plus snacks create waste that adds up quickly, especially among larger families. It's estimated that we could prevent 38% of our discarded food from going into landfills by composting. Use nature's decomposition process to recycle raw food scraps and chemical-free yard clippings into rich organic soil. Take a load off your garbage disposal, and begin a home composting program that benefits the environment and your garden.
Getting started is easy. First, choose a kitchen and outdoor compost bin that's right for you. In our Test Kitchens, we collect raw food scraps in ceramic crocks. We have found that lining the collection bins with biodegradable cellulose- or corn-based bags makes for a no-mess transfer to our outdoor compost bin. (The bags are available from www.cleanairgardening.com.) Next, it's important to familiarize yourself with the type of food scraps that can and cannot be used in compost bins. As a general rule, all raw fruit and vegetable materials can be composted. Materials to avoid include meat-, fish-, and dairy-based foods as well as any food prepared with fats including oils, butter, dressings, and sauces.
Good Composting Materials: Fruit rinds and pulp, vegetable peels and stalks, nut shells, tea bags, coffee grinds and paper filters, crushed eggshells, grass clippings.
Check out these helpful resources for starting your own home composting program:
Follow the links below, and crack the recycling code: