Everyone reading this wants to do their part to help the planet. I know this because otherwise you wouldn't be wanting advice on how to have an eco kitchen, and I truly thank you for that.
As we know, there are fancy, showy, expensive ways to go eco friendly, but that's is not what The Earth Fairy is about. I want to give you easy, cheap and quick ways to help the planet because, let's face it, most of us don't have the time or the spare money to go to the eco extremes. Our lives are busy enough.
So let's change our habits, learn some new stuff and save the world!
When cooking, always put lids on pans
The first and probably easiest tip is to put a lid on anything when you are cooking. Most pans come with lids now (even frying pans) and when you use a lid, the heat stays inside of the pan, so you can turn the heat down therefore saving power and money on your gas/electric bill. It also saves you times as things will heat up/boil quicker. Just keep a close eye on it as it does mean its quicker to boil over and make a mess.
Only put the amount of water in the kettle that you need. (Don’t over fill the kettle)
If you only put the rough amount of water that you need in the kettle, it doesn’t have to use the extra power to boil extra water. It also boils quicker saving you time too.
I am a sucker for filling the kettle only to boil it and then completely forgetting to make myself a drink, allowing that water to go cold and having to re do it all again. I get annoyed with myself for how many times I have done this, but filling it a little will stop a mass amount of power usage, saving you money in the long run on your electric bill and I have also found that it means I don't leave water in the kettle for days at a time. For some strange reason, it seems to have cut down the limescale build up in there too. Extra tip. Fill your kettle with filtered water (if you have access to this) as limescale build up is even less, making it more efficient and means you don't have to de limescale as much.h.
Full loads in the dishwasher
If you are putting the dishwasher on, it will use the same amount of water whether its full or not, so you might as well make use of those Tetris skills we built up in the 90s. Stack till it is full to the brim and get the dishwasher to wash even more. Although, make sure that you stack properly. I started noticing bits being unclean because I suck at dishwasher stacking. It is not my fault, I never used to own one but my skills will improve.
It says to rinse everything first but quite honestly, I only do it if its really needed and my dishwasher seems to clean everything. Im not being lazy, I am saving water (or so I tell myself).
If you have an eco option on your dishwasher, try to use it. Most new appliances do have this option so its usually best to use. Always keeping them topped up with salt helps too so you don't need to do a second wash.
When cleaning, use cold water as much as you can
We have been told in the past that its vital to use hot water, then we got told that it doesn't matter if you use hot water or not to clean, so I give up. If I am wiping surfaces or doing the daily cleans with cleaning products I wet my cloths with cold water, rinse it with cold water and turn the tap on as little as possible. My boiler doesn't have to fire up, I don't have to wait for my tap to get hot, waisting even more water, and I find that everything still turns out as clean. Surely it is the cleaning products that are doing the cleaning, not the temperature of the water?
Fridge/freezer on higher temperatures to use less power (-17C and 3C is cold enough)
As much as we love our fridges, they do take quite a bit of power, so 1 degree difference is not going to affect our food that much but it will require less power. There is no need for a freezer to be on -21 degrees if everything is still just as frozen on -17. Even the small changes help!
My Dad always use to tell us to unplug anything that we weren’t using to save money on the electric bill and I have done it all of my life.Thanks Dad!!
Get into the habit of turning things off at the plug. You are probably going to drive your family insane but I promise they will get over it and hopefully you can get them to do it too. The electric bill is likely to go down, the risk of fire will be reduced and it will be something that you carry on doing for the rest of your life.
Try to learn to implement this in your life. If we all did it, we would save a mass amount of power being used, and if you get into the habit you can start reminding/ annoying your friends into doing the same.
Save Jars, tins and random containers
This might make your family think you have a hoarding problem, but I promise it helps. I have a jar problem personally, but they have come in handy and its a nice "I told you so" to your other half. Not everything has to look perfect, be bamboo and crisp to be eco friendly. I have a collection of old mayonnaise jars, biscuit tins (that I thought would be plastic free but oh how I was wrong) and little apple sauce jars. I use mine for candle making, putting homemade pasta sauces in, for cookies that I have baked and for when I am going to refill shops. Anything you can keep (and will actually use) is so much better than going to the shops and buying the new pretty glass dishes that took time, energy and you have no idea where they were made and shipped from. Second hand is grand!
Here are a few products that you can either buy or even find ways to make yourself to cut down your plastic waste in your kitchen. You don't have to have a completely plastic free life straight away. It wonderful that you want to cut down your waste and be more sustainable but give yourself time and always use up what you have first.
Washing up bar
Plastic free/Non toxic cleaning products
Did you know that some well known brands of washing up liquid are harmful to aquatic life? And that is before the damage that the plastic bottle does. Washing up soap bars are plastic free and a lot of them are non toxic. The Earth Fairy Eco Shop washing up bar is made in the UK and palm oil free too.
Cling film can’t be recycled, it won’t ever break down completely and is just awful. The good news is there are so many beautiful wax wraps (Bees wax or vegan) available, you simply need to choose what you fancy. Most of them are made from cotton (we prefer organic cotton) and they last roughly a year, but now there are wax bars you can use when yours are looking a bit floppy to bring it back to life. If you keep them clean and well looked after, they could last for years.
Everybody has to do some form of cleaning, unfortunately. There are so many cloths available to help with this task but most of them are made from plastic. If they aren’t thrown out after one use (this makes us super angry) then they will get thrown in the bin when they start to get tatty. They will ultimately, break down into micro plastics. But this is avoidable. Compostable cloths can be used like any other cloth, to clean many different surfaces and at the end of their life they can be composted.
So many cleaning products are toxic to, well everything…. Surely this is a sign that we shouldn’t be using it. At The Earth Fairy Eco Shop, we like our cleaning products to do the job but not cause harm to ourselves, animals or the planet. A simples swap to our plastic free, non toxic, plant based cleaning sachets solves all of our problems (well maybe not all) and keeps our homes fresh and clean!
I just wanted to say a massive thank you to everyone that has read all of this. This is my first every blog and I was super anxious writing it. My main aim is to help everyone start their eco journey and show you that it doesn't have to be expensive or hard to do. I hope these tips have helped and I promise my writing will be better in the future.
I am from Yorkshire and my grammar isn't great and I just write what is in my head.
I know being plastic free and sustainable can be quite daunting, but take your time and every time you make a swap for plastic free/reusable products, it really is bloody marvellous.
Thank you for thinking of the Planet. She needs us!
All my love
The Earth Fairy