6 tips for achieving an eco-friendly kitchen

Everybody seems to be in pursuit of the perfect, green home these days. From installing insulation and triple glazing in every feasible area of the house, to fitting water-saving shower heads and taps, it’s clear that eco-homes are just going to continue getting even more popular.

If there’s one room in the house that can make the biggest difference when you’re going green, it’s the kitchen. Not only can an eco-friendly kitchen help you save money through high-tech, green appliances, but you’ll be able to work at saving the environment through the construction of the kitchen itself.

If you’re looking to create a beautiful, energy efficient, overall green kitchen, you’re in the right place. We’re here to give you 6 tips for creating a high-quality, eco friendly kitchen. From the construction of your cabinets, to the very utensils you cook with, everything can count towards making the ideal eco kitchen.

1. The longer it lasts, the better it is

From day one of redeveloping a kitchen, it’s a good idea to invest in high quality, hard wearing products. For a true eco-friendly kitchen, use hardwoods in your design where possible, as they tend to be fully recyclable. Although wood is recommended for those seeking a traditionally green kitchen, with the creation of materials such as Durat - a 100% recyclable plastic substitute - even people seeking space station levels of hypermodernity can build their kitchens to be almost as green as those built with rustic wood.

Constructing the body of your kitchen to be as recyclable and long lasting as possible is a fast track to eco-kitchen heaven. However, it won’t do much good unless the cookware and utensils you use every day are equally as green. Use long lasting cookware, such as cast iron or stainless steel pans over those short lasting - and potentially hazardous - non-stick pans.

The same goes for utensils. Cheap wooden spoons are liable to rot, so, once again, invest in high-quality woods. Although they may seem expensive at first, a good set of knives that you can sharpen yourself will last a lifetime. Fewer replacements will help to make your kitchen even more eco-friendly. Not everyone can afford to entirely renovate their kitchen to make it eco-friendly, so a small investment in high quality, long lasting utensils and cookware can give even the least environmentally conscious kitchen a much needed green edge.

2. Reclaim

Although many of the eco-friendly kitchens shown within the pages of design magazines and spread across the internet are incredibly sleek, modern and costly, that doesn’t have to be the case. For those conscious about their carbon footprint, rather than ordering water efficient taps that need to be imported from Germany, it might be a better idea to visit a reclamation yard and go for preloved, beautiful kitchen features. Reclamation yards and salvage companies can offer a great selection of sinks, taps, furniture and artwork, to really make your kitchen stand out. Furthermore, upcycling these second-hand pieces is a great way to make your space a little more environmentally friendly.

Keeping reclamation in mind, it’s a good idea to seek out high-quality second-hand pieces for the design of your kitchen itself. Reclaimed wood is often some of the highest quality timber available, adding a rustic edge to your kitchen while demonstrating its ecological ability to stand the test of time. However, thinking beyond wooden fittings when it comes to working reclaimed materials into the design of your kitchen will help you go even greener. For instance, working old tiles or stone into your surfaces, flooring and even walls can give your kitchen a really unique edge.

3. Eco-friendly appliances

We’ve talked about reclamation and the beauty of reusing old materials and furnishings to give your kitchen an eco-friendly boost. However, with the wave of modern equipment, explicitly green in design, you can give your kitchen an environmental update for the 21st century. Buy an eco kettle that uses 31% less electricity than a standard model, a fridge made from recycled materials, or just a larger dishwasher allowing you to save water and energy by doing larger and less frequent washes.

With so many appliances that target the eco-friendly market being released every year, there’s never been a better time to get on board. Aside from simply buying the most eco friendly appliances though, it’s also a good idea to learn how to get the most out of your current appliances. The Guardian’s series of articles on eco appliances cover everything from dishwashers, to refrigerators, to washing machines and explains not only how to choose an energy efficient appliance, but also the ways to get the most out of your home appliances.

4. Buy local

One of the best ways to ensure you have an eco-friendly kitchen is to buy local as much as you can. From the start, using local tradesmen and materials to form the basis of your kitchen will often save you money, but also lets you know that you’re doing your bit to keep your carbon footprint as small as possible.

Once you’ve got your kitchen up and running, with eco appliances, reclaimed timber furnishings and hard wearing pots and pans giving you an incredibly green kitchen, don’t ruin it by living off imported fruit, vegetables and meat. Look for locally sourced produce wherever possible, when you think about how much pollution is caused by flying your lamb from New Zealand or your grapes from Chile, you’ll realise that the only way to go fully green with your kitchen is by buying local. Of course, sometimes it isn’t feasible, but wherever possible, the closer your produce was grown, the better for the environment it’ll be.

5. Recycle and compost

In Britain, 7.3 million tonnes of food waste ended up in landfills in 2015, a staggering amount that’s enough to make the more eco-conscious of us shudder. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. To make the most of an eco-friendly kitchen, you should think about waste, how to avoid it and how to manage it when it gets too much. One of the most popular ways of disposing of food waste in an environmentally friendly way is through the use of countertop compost bins.

Rather than having a huge garden-sized compost bin, a small bin that fits seamlessly into your kitchen, will give you a great, eco-friendly way of getting rid of any excess food waste. You can then use this compost to go even greener and start growing your own fruit and vegetables in your garden. If you’re living in a flat or have no access to a garden, that doesn’t matter! If you’re looking to be as green as possible, getting a window box to grow your own small amounts of vegetables or spices at home can give you a perfect way to utilise the compost you’re generating.

It’s also a great idea to recycle anything and everything that you can in your kitchen. Home recycling has come a long way since the first eco boom. Now, installing a large, multi-sectioned, simply labelled recycling bin to take care of all your recyclables is cheap, easy and stylish - just check out this bin.

6. Stay Green

It’s far too easy to design an incredibly eco-friendly kitchen, with the best appliances, building materials and design choices available for a green home, only to lose your environmental focus when it comes to living with your kitchen.

As we’ve mentioned, staying green with the kind of food you make in your kitchen is really important, but aside from that, you should be constantly looking for ways to stay eco-friendly even with the smallest kitchen goods. For instance, consider replacing disposable kitchen cloths with washable ones to save on waste, or replacing as many plastics as you can with glass, wood, or metal.

Making your kitchen green is easy, staying green is harder. However, if you put tin the effort and focus on being environmentally friendly, you’ll no doubt be able to have and maintain a consistently eco-friendly kitchen.

Here at Squarepeg Designs, we design bespoke kitchens with great attention to all those details that make a kitchen truly yours. Our specialist team of London-based designers and cabinet makers work hard to bring traditional craft values to each of our projects. Get in touch!
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