POPSUGAR Celebrity

Simple Ways to Be More Green in the Kitchen

Apr 18 2011 - 4:58am

Since Earth Day is this Friday, it's a great time to make a conscious effort to be more green in the kitchen. I'm a firm believer in the we are what we do [1] philosophy in which small actions by lots of people creates big change. If everyone stops using plastic bags, the world will be a better place! These suggestions may seem like no brainers to those who already live eco-friendly lifestyles, but to those who don't, I encourage you to participate and take these simple steps to becoming more green.


Instead of throwing out food scraps — like potato skins, apple cores, carrot peels, onion layers — compost them. You'd be surprised at how much waste can actually be composted!


Sure you recycle newspapers, aluminum cans, and plastic bottles, but what about the cup that your morning coffee comes in? Or how about the empty Velveeta box? Or the tin of white beans? All of these things can be recycled (some, like the white bean container, should be rinsed out before being tossed in the bin).

Use Reusable Grocery Totes

Plastic bags are so bad for the environment that many cities and retailers have banned them. Do your part and transport groceries from the store to your house in a reusable tote bag.

Buy in Season Produce

Think about it. If you purchase out of season fruit or vegetables, say a peach in Winter, then that peach came from someplace where it is in season — meaning it traveled a long distance. Buying seasonal produce reduces your carbon footprint.

Reuse Old Glass Jars & Containers

Don't recycle all of your old glass jars [2] or takeout containers [3]. These can be used over and over again to make salad dressings, store sauces, or hold leftovers.

Only Run the Dishwasher When It's Full

When I turn my dishwasher on, I not only use the "save water" mode, but I also make sure that it is totally packed! Running the dishwasher when it's half full is a waste of water.

Shop at the Farmers Market

To ensure that you buy in season, shop at the farmers market. The produce is locally grown and you'll be supporting small farms and businesses.

Use Cloth Napkins

Whenever possible, substitute cloth napkins for paper napkins. It reduces waste and saves trees.

Drink Water Out of Reusable Bottles

I'm a huge fan of drinking bottled water and giving it up was very hard to do. After learning about the plastic vortex [4] in the Pacific Ocean, I finally started carrying a Klean Kanteen [5]. At home, I fill an old wine bottle with [6] tap water, chill it in the fridge, and use this for drinking.

Plant a Garden

There's nothing more local than your own backyard and there's nothing more satisfying than cooking with food that you've personally cultivated. Even if you live in a small apartment with no balcony (like I do) consider planting an herb tower [7].

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