Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Living Green: How to Have a Greener Kitchen

1.    Cookware:  
      No Teflon.
Teflon pans are coated with a polymer that release toxins at high temperatures, both into food and into the air. 
      No Aluminum.
Exposure to excess aluminum can contribute to Alzheimer’s disease.  Aluminum leaches into food from the cookware when heated, so it’s best to avoid if possible.
      Stainless Steel, Iron or Enamelware.
High quality stainless steel, or copper-based stainless steel pots and pans with durability are the best for cooking and safety.  Cast iron pans are also beneficial and give added iron for people who experience anemia.  Enamelware is a good option, but make sure it is cast iron that is being coated and not aluminum.  If you choose enamelware, do not buy it second hand.  Old enamelware had high levels of cadmium and lead, but modern versions do not.
      Clay, Glass and Pyrex.
Clay bake ware is excellent for baking and cooks very evenly.  It is not dishwasher safe because it is made of natural material and the clay will absorb the soap.  The clay should be cured and carefully wiped and rinsed, and dried.  Glass is very versatile,
      Baking Sheets and Muffin Pans. . 
Iron or stainless steel.

I would suggest, for convenience, that cookware be purchased with glass lids, for convenience when cooking.  Even if you purchase cookware second hand from places like Goodwill, buy with an eye towards long term use.  If you are uncomfortable doing so, buy from discounters or ask for the item as a gift. 

2.    Utensils:
      Stainless Steel
A silicon handle is helpful.  These are durable and recyclable if damaged.
      Bamboo Wood
Sustainable and durable, for things like wooden spoons or wooden spatulas.
Good stainless steel or carbon steel, with decent handles (not plastic).  These are essential kitchen tools, especially if you do a lot of cooking.  Try not to skimp on these.
Avoid Plastic and Aluminum
Not only are they virtually disposable, but many of them will leach chemicals into food when used on hot items (just like with plastic containers).  Use of aluminum is shown to affect incidents of Alzheimer’s disease.

Be sure to evaluate your need for certain items.  If you use garlic a lot and would benefit from a garlic press then get one.  You’ll also want a decent can opener but an electric one is not necessary.  Only get the utensils you will actually need and use, and which won’t sit in a drawer gathering dust.

3.    Dishtowels & Dishcloths:
Dishcloths are reusable and inexpensive. They resist harboring bacteria and have multiple uses in the kitchen.
      Can be washed and hung to dry, bleached.
They can be sterilized in a solution of non-chlorine bleach and water, or vinegar and water.  Can be washed and hung to dry, and rarely need replacing.  They also can be used as rags when too dirty for kitchen use.
      Paper towels of recycled material.
While I don’t advocate regular use of paper towels, and openly advocate avoiding use of paper plates, cups and napkins, sometimes paper towels become necessary.  If you must use them, buy them made of mostly or all recycled material.
      Coffee filters of non-bleached paper.
A French press, or cafetiere is probably the most frugal and green way to make your cup of joe, but if you do elect to use an electric coffee maker, make sure to unplug it after use and use coffee filters that have non-bleached paper (brown).  Recycle the brown paper filters and grounds into your composter.

4.    Dishes:
      Eco-friendly dish soap
Low-phosphate, natural, gentle ingredients.  Some good brands are Greenworks or Seventh Generation, both of which are at most regular grocery stores.
      Scrubbers made of plant fiber. 
Loofahs, sisal or other natural sponge fiber-based scrubbers should be used, which can be composted when no longer effective.  Avoid metal or plastic scrubbers and those with soap inside.
      Use a dish drainer and a wash bin.
Turn off water while washing. Use cold water on dishes that aren’t heavily stained. Rinse all dishes at the end of washing, instead of continually throughout the process.
      Using a dishwasher
If you do use a dishwasher, make sure the dishwasher is complete full before running and use an eco-friendly dishwasher product.
      Low-flow faucet heads.
Faucets should have aerators or low-flow faucet heads to preserve water and minimize usage.

5.    Wraps and Containers, Transporting and Storing Food
·         Recycled Aluminum Foil
·         Compostable Garbage Bags
·         Reusable Grocery Bags
·         Reusable Lunch Bags and Water Bottles
·         Parchment Paper
·         Wash and re-use plastic zip bags
·         Glass or metal containers with lids, avoid plastic containers.  If you must use, do not microwave or put hot food in them.  They can leach chemicals from the plastic into food when heat is applied.

6.    Table Top Compost Collector
·         Stainless steel, with lid for odor control.
·         Removable inner sleeve for disposal.

7.    Appliances
·         Only what is essential for cooking; this will vary per individual
·         Energy Star certified
Keep clean & in good repair for low energy use

8.    Plumbing
·         Make sure in good repair, no leaks and flush pipes periodically.
·         Faucet-mount water purifier, or pitcher system
·         Aerators or low-flow faucet heads.


Paul@Coupons and Couponing said...

Great list! I am sure I can't be the only one that thinks that, as well as being more eco, more natural materials such as wood often look and feel better as utensils than plastic and teflon too!

reckydjayoesman said...

lets go green hehehee

Takiyah Noble said...

You forgot plants. I am going to find the names of these plants, but they are specifically designed to eat up VOCs from the manufacturing process of your cabinets and flooring.

Takiyah Noble said...

Okay, found it. Just had to go rummaging in my virtual bookshelf. LOL! Okay,
A company called Greenworks has been in the business of testing the toxicant absorbency of plants for over 15 years.
They determined the best plant purifiers were the:

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) and it functions best as living room air purifier.

Mother-in-law's Tongue (sansevieria trifasciata) best used as a bedroom plant.

And, last, but not least the Money Plant also known as the Specialist plant (epipremnum aureum) best used as a kitchen plant. It thrives by eating Formaldehyde and other VOCs commonly produced by manufacturing.

See.. Told ya I would go find it for you! LOL! Matters such as green living take top priority. ;-)

xysea said...

@Takiyah Noble - Thank you so much for the green plant information. That is so awesome!

mahesh said...

Great explanation, thanks for the posting!
Kitchen Equipment