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6 Ways to green your kitchen

Suzi Milovanovic has been a mother of all kinds: stay at home mom, work from home mom, and go-the-office working mom. She blends all these perspectives in her contributions to various local and national print and online publications, tel...

Eco-friendly kitchen ideas

The kitchen is the heart of the home – it's where all the action is from cooking family meals to the party gathering spot. Since the kitchen also ranks the highest in terms of waste-producing and energy-consuming rooms in the house, it's also the perfect place to start on the road to greening your home and way of life.

Woman in kitchen

A green kitchen starts with easy, budget-friendly choices that reduce the impact on the environment and save you some money in the process!

1Dishwasher savvy

According to a study by the California Energy Commission, you'll save 37 percent more water by using a dishwasher than if you did the dishes by hand. To achieve this water savings, remember these things: Only use a dishwasher that was made after 1994 (look for energy star appliances for maximum benefit), turn off the heat-drying option, don't pre-rinse (the newer dishwashers can handle food residue) and only run the dishwasher when it's full.

2Use filtered water

Say bye-bye bottle. Americans pitch an estimated 24 billion empty water bottles into the trash each year, according to Earth911.com. Even if you recycle, keep in mind that it takes energy and resources to manufacture and transport these bottles – and recycle them too. An easy option is to fill reusable bottles from the tap. You can pick up relatively inexpensive carbon filters or reverse osmosis systems if you are not partial to the taste of water from the tap.

3Focus on your fridge

It almost seems impossible, but it's true – a full refrigerator uses less energy than an empty one. Each time the door is opened, the fridge has to kick in to regulate the internal temperature. If there is food in the refrigerator, less outside air is introduced, resulting in less air that needs to be cooled. Remember to keep your fridge at an optimum temperature – 36-38 degrees for the fridge and between 0 and 5 degrees for the freezer.

4BYOB

Bring-Your-Own-Bag is the hottest craze for retailers. Stylish and earth-friendly totes not only help the environment by reducing the amount of plastic bags that go to landfills, it is also an excellent marketing opportunity. The bonus for you is that there are other uses for those totes – beach bag, brief case, carry-on luggage and much more!

5Grease disposal

By now you should know better than to dump grease down the drain, but remember that any fat – even the "good" ones like olive oil – can damage your pipes, the sewer system and the environment. Even though you may wash your cooking grease down the drain with plenty of soap, somehow, somewhere it will cool and harden, wreaking havoc on sewer systems. Wait until the grease cools, then pour any excess fats into a disposable container (like those empty glass jelly jars) and throw it in the trash once you've filled it.

6Green cleaning

For generations, we have been under the impression that unless it smells like lemons or pines, it's not clean. Funny thing is, real clean doesn't have a smell. Synthetic fragrances are just one of the chemicals found in commercial cleaners (Exhibit A: warning label). Instead, try greener, less expensive cleaning methods using an all-purpose spray cleaner made up of washing soda, dish soap and hot water. Give your rags and sponges a second life by toss them into a small pot of boiling water for five minutes to sterilize and keep them out of the landfills.

The first steps to greening your home starts with using these easy and budget-friendly ways to green your kitchen.

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