Going Green: How can you make your kitchen green and eco-friendly?
Latest article from Angela Terry
Green Green campaigner and consumer expert, Angela Terry, separates climate change facts from fiction and here she explains how you can take simple, practical steps to help save the planet. Follow @ouronehome & visit https://onehome.org.uk/ for more advice.
Q: I’m just about to redo my kitchen. How can I make it eco-friendly?
A: There are so many affordable ways to do this, without losing any style or function in your kitchen space.
In fact, you might be surprised at the number of eco kitchen options that are now on offer.
Refurb the old
Firstly, to save disruption and time, consider simply updating your old kitchen with new cabinet doors and handles or painting the old doors.
Both are far better for your bank balance and carbon footprint than buying a new kitchen.
You can grab a bargain by installing second-hand or former display cabinets.
There are some amazing bargains out there.
Try Used Kitchen Company, Used Kitchen Exchange or Preowned Kitchens.
See if you can sell off your old kitchen too rather than go to landfill.
Choose a kitchen made
from recycled coffee cups
Milestone Eco Design, in Yorkshire, makes fantastic kitchen cabinets and worktops out of waste materials.
The company even offers worktops made from discarded coffee cups and yoghurt pots.
Go for energy and water
Choose the most energy efficient cooker and white goods you can afford with the longest warranty.
Appliances are now rated on a scale of A to G, with A being the most efficient as the old rating was updated last year.
Similarly using less water will save you money if you are on a water meter.
Opt for eco flooring
As the kitchen is the heart of the home, its floor must be ultra-hardwearing. Wood – as long as it’s FSC rated – can be one of the most durable and environmentally friendly.
You could even invest in a reclaimed wooden floor.
Try the Reclaimed Flooring Company or Ebay.
Alternatively, you might consider lino.
Easy-to-clean and available in an amazing array of colours, it’s making a comeback.
Both linoleum and its modern counterpart marmoleum are entirely natural, as they’re made from solidified linseed oil, pine resin and ground cork – not to be confused with vinyl, which is made from plastic!
Install green tech
Investing in some smart gadgets could save you cash in the long-term.
In the UK, we waste £68 million each year overfilling our kettles.
If you boil a lot of water, a boiling water tap can reduce your bills and emissions.
An induction hob is energy efficient, however, it will only work with magnetic pans.
When it comes to lighting, LEDs are an essential choice.
You can stick them in strips under cabinets for dramatic lighting.
American pop star Katy Perry and fiancé – Lord of the Rings actor Orlando Bloom – have often been spotted riding eco-friendly electric bikes with their kids through the cycle paths of Montecito, Santa Barbara.
What a wonderful way to spend time with the family! E-bikes are good for both you and the planet.
They cost much less than a car, from around £500 to £5,000. And their range is improving all the time. Even the most basic models can go 20 to 30 miles between charges.
Swap plastic-based scourer for natural alternatives. Made from wood pulp and sisal, compostable sponges with scouring surface available on Etsy, costs £12 for six. Ocean Saver sells wooden pot scrubber with a replaceable head for £10.
How to maximise energy efficiency of fridges
Fridge freezers are the one appliance that’s constantly running. There are many things you can do to make them more energy efficient, cutting your bills and your carbon footprint.
Keep your fridge
away from heat
If you put your fridge next to heat sources, like cookers and radiators, then it’s going to have to work harder to keep food cold. Likewise, keep it out of direct sunlight.
Give it some space
It’s best to leave at least a five centimetres gap between your fridge and worktops, units or other appliances, as it constantly needs to release heat from the back.
If this process is hindered, then it has to work harder and longer.
Shut that door!
Every time you open the fridge door, you let cool air out and warm air in.
Only open it when you need to and close it straight away when finished.
Don’t put hot food in it
Always cool food to room temperature before putting it in the fridge.
Otherwise, it has to work harder to chill it.
Keep it full
A fuller fridge works more efficiently because it has less air to keep cool.
If you have an empty shelf, you can stick a jug of water on it. That’ll help your fridge run better.
But don’t overfill it
Don’t stuff so much food in it that you block the air vents. Good airflow is crucial to keeping your fridge operating smoothly.
Keep it organised
If your fridge is properly organised, you won’t waste time with the door open, rummaging around to find what you need.
Put the food that will go off first at the front.
This will help avoid food waste as well. If you can, try to store food in glass – rather than plastic – containers. It retains the cold better.
Dust its back
On the back of your fridge, you’ll find the condenser coils, which are vital to keeping down the temperature inside. They can get dusty, which makes them less efficient. You can clean them with a soft brush or vacuum cleaner. Please switch off the appliance first.
Monitor the temperature
Your fridge’s temperature dial should be set between two degress centigrade and four degrees centigrade. If it’s at the lower end of this range, you could safely increase it slightly. It should always be less than five degrees centigrade.
Check the door seals
Over time, the seals around your refrigerator’s door can wear down or split. Warm air will then get into your fridge and it’ll have to work harder. Try to keep the door seals clean and replace them if you notice any cracks.
Fact or fiction
Oil and gas companies investing in renewable energy. False. None on track to meet the Paris Agreement. Research from Influence Map shows 12 per cent spending is dedicated to “low carbon” activities, despite touting green credentials.
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