Watt, Why & How e-Newsletter

Easy Steps to a Greener Kitchen

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When it comes to your kitchen, you might think of "green" as the vegetables you're supposed to eat. Being green in the kitchen, however, goes beyond what's on your plate. The appliances you use can save you time and money on future gas and electric bills while helping the environment. Even how and where you buy your groceries can have a significant impact.

Buy in bulk, but don't overspend. On your next trip to the grocery store, consider buying your groceries in bulk. Buying in bulk decreases the amount of packing that is thrown away and means fewer trips to the store. But don't buy things you don't need! Stick to your grocery list to avoid throwing away food or other items that may end up in the local landfill.

Become a gardener. You don't need a green thumb to start a garden. All you need are a few plants that will produce fruits, vegetables or herbs that you can eat or use to prepare meals. Don't have the time or interest to take care of plants? Find a nearby farmers' market and buy local! Local produce is sold right after it is picked, making it fresher and more nutrient rich than produce from the store.

Choose your oven and keep it clean. Electric and gas ovens each have their advantages. Electric ovens cost up to two times more, according to the U.S. Department of Energy, but are more energy efficient. A slow cooker is the most energy-efficient option, and since it needs little to no supervision, it allows you to focus on other tasks while cooking. No matter which type you choose, keeping your oven clean will make it work more efficiently, saving energy and money. 

Use ENERGY STAR appliances. When purchasing appliances, make sure they have the ENERGY STAR label. ENERGY STAR appliances use up to 50 percent less energy than other standard models, making them a great investment. 

Keep the leftovers. If you're not a member of the Clean Plate Club, you probably have leftovers after each meal. Instead of throwing them away, consider ways to reuse them. For example, leftover chicken could be added to soup. Start a weekly "leftovers night" and eat any foods remaining from your meals over the course of the week. With a variety of foods on the table, everyone can find something to eat and nothing will go to waste.

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