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5 Eco-Friendly Kitchen Hacks

A photo of the earth surrounded by cartoon hands

Image Credit: Marissa McMinn

Today, we celebrate Earth Day. Since April 22nd 1970, over 190 countries and 1 billion individual people have mobilized to lay the groundwork for a more sustainable future.

Curious how you can make your kitchen a more friendly place for the environment?

Solid Dish Soap Is Back

Solid dish soap is a real eco-friendly hero. Many brands use low, plastic free packaging. Mass production of plastics for dish soap, scrub brushes, single use bags, and many other kitchen products began only 60 years ago but has created about 8.3 billion metric tons of waste. The production of plastic goods doubles every 15 years, but with plastic free packaging in our kitchen products, we can slow that pace.

Walnuts are a Jack of All Trades

We can cut plastic out of our routines with sustainable scrubbing tools. The unexpected star of the show? Walnuts.

Walnuts are naturally abrasive and can be shaped into durable scrubbing sponges that are tough on grime but easy on the planet. Need a more focused tool? Many kitchen scrub brushes are available with natural fiber bristles like Tampico and sustainably grown wood handles.

Say Goodbye to Plastic Produce Bags

Plastic produce bags are referred to as “film” in the plastics industry. They can pose problems in the recycling process due to their thin and light composition by jamming recycling processing machines. Due to their low weight, they wreak havoc in the environment by blowing long distances and breaking up into smaller particles in the ocean.

Many reusable produce bags are made of 100% cotton. Our favorite is from Food52, made of 100% cotton with the weight of each bag printed on its’ side to allow grocery cashiers to tare the bag easily before weighing your items.

Composting is Easier than You Think

The US produces the most food waste in the country and it is the second largest source of waste within the US. Give your kitchen scraps a second life with your own composting project. It’s easy to start!

Leonard Diggs,  director of operations at the Pie Ranch Farm in Pescadero, California suggests starting simple. “It doesn’t have to be, you know, all the things that you find online that are really cute little ceramic containers,” says Diggs. He says it “can just be an old milk carton. When you make the first chop of the butt of that asparagus, boom, it could go right in there.”

Gardening with compost nourishes your plants and contributes to much healthier crops. Lacking a green thumb? Many municipalities provide services to process compost, and private organizations are rising to meet the challenge as well.

Recycle Carefully

In January 2018, China set in motion the “National Sword” policy, banning the import of plastics to recycling processors. Since 1992, China had imported 45% of the world’s plastic waste leaving countries to search for more solutions to domestic processing options.

There is no national standard for most countries, leaving policies up to municipalities. Some may accept wide varieties of plastics, some accepting only a few types. Items deemed too dirty or otherwise unrecyclable are sent off to landfills, or shipped to other countries left to drown in our trash.

Check with your city or county to determine what is recyclable in your area and avoid purchasing products that aren’t acceptable by your local facility.

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