The kitchen is a fundamental space in our home.

We spend countless hours here as we store, prepare and cook our food, enjoy meals, socialise and wash up.

Unfortunately, this generates a large percentage of our household waste.

Within the kitchen is a great place to make changes and create eco-friendly habits that you can begin today.

Below I’ve shared some tips and ideas to help lead a more sustainable and eco-conscious lifestyle and create that eco friendly kitchen.

1. Please no more plastic

We’re all realising that plastic pollution is a genuine and immediate problem all around the world and yet our kitchen’s are full of it.

UK supermarkets produce an astonishing 800,000 tonnes of plastic every year[1], how much of this do we actually need?

After returning from a supermarket trip and restocking your fridge and cupboards, how many pointless pieces of packaging are brought home alongside your foods?

Even items with nature’s perfectly developed packaging such as bananas and onions are not safe from plastic wrappers!

Go loose

Loose produce in reusable mesh bags in an eco friendly kitchen
Loose produce – Ditch the plastic wrappers

When shopping, try buying your produce “loose” without excess plastic packaging.

If this is impossible in your local supermarket, then use your power and voice as a consumer to inform the food companies that you’re unhappy with their lack of effort to do their bit for the environment.

You can do this quickly and effectively by raising the issue with the company on social media.

There lots of zero-waste and eco-conscious stores popping up, where you can find all the essentials and more.

These products either come with biodegradable packaging or without any packaging at all.

Simply take your reusable containers to fill with goodies for you eco friendly kitchen! 

Bake your own snacks

Do your favourite yummy treats come with excess packaging or unnecessary individually wrapped?

Perhaps you could take the time to cook and bake your favourite snacks from scratch and be rewarded with a treat that not only reduces your plastic waste but also benefits your body by containing less processed ingredients!

Make some eco-swaps

Some more excellent everyday eco-swaps in the kitchen are:

reusable containers in an eco friendly kitchen
Reusable containers help reduce plastic

2. Reduce Food Waste

Over one year 6.6 million tonnes of food from households around the UK ends up in landfills. Some of this is waste is inedible such as bones or eggshells, but the vast majority of this consists of wasted food intended for consumption[2].

Food scraps
Leftover food

If you’re regularly:

  • Scraping your half-eaten dinner into the bin
  • Finding soggy salad leaves and mouldy veg in the fridge
  • Finding food a few days, weeks, months, even years out of date in your cupboards

Then it’s time to rethink your shopping, cooking and eating habits.

Plan your eating and make use of scraps

Our food is nourished with bags of love and energy as it moves along the chain from farmer to supermarket, chef to the plate. So why all the waste?

Making a conscious effort to cook the correct portion sizes for you, plan meals around and use up leftovers is a fantastic start to reducing your food waste and impact on the environment.

There are also lots of easy ways to prevent some of your inedible food waste ending up in landfills such as turning veggie scraps and skins into stock or creating compost to fertilise your garden or dyeing fabric with avocado skins. 

3. Eat your way to an eco friendly kitchen

locally grown vegetables shown in a persons hand
Locally grown produce

There are lots of different paths to follow to enjoy a more environmentally friendly diet.

One is to shop and eat locally.

Not only does shopping for and eating locally grown produce help to support your local economy and community, but it’s also great for the environment.

This benefit comes from reducing your carbon footprint due to the food not being driven, shipped or flown across the world before ending up on your plate!

The closer to home your food comes from the fewer fossil fuels get burned during transport; you’re saving harmful greenhouse gases from being released into the atmosphere[3].

There’s also the bonus that much less time gets spent between the crop harvest and consumption.

Therefore you can enjoy fresh food that is tastier and more nutritious, without the need of added preservative chemicals.

This tip isn’t just a tip for fruit and vegetables, keep an eye out and source locally grown dairy, fish, meat and grains too!

Did someone say the V-word?

Another earth-friendly path to follow is to eat a plant-based diet.

“A vegan diet is probably the single biggest way to reduce your impact on planet Earth, not just greenhouse gases, but global acidification, eutrophication, land use and water use.”[4]

J Poore & T Nemecek, Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers

Does the idea of giving up all your favourite foods to go “vegan” scare you?

No need to worry, forget about the label and make the changes that you can commit to and enjoy today!

If you don’t think you could make it through even one week eating vegan then first try leaving the meat and dairy behind for just one day of the week.

If you’re reading this thinking “oh but I couldn’t possibly give up cheese” or “but what about my weekend fry up” then start thinking about which food swaps you wouldn’t miss.

Remember that every small change you implement in your life adds up to create a more sustainable lifestyle.

How about swapping your cow’s to plant milk, or grilling up a beetroot burger instead of beef?

There’s now an impressive variety of delicious and healthy dairy, and meat alternatives on our supermarket shelves, some of which you wouldn’t even be able to tell are plant-based!

4. Everyday efficiency

Dishwasher with dishes and cutlery
Dishwashers are energy-hungry

An easy way to reduce your carbon footprint in the kitchen is to up your efficiency.

Our kitchens are full of appliances that guzzle vast amounts of energy.

Although it may be best to go without these gadgets where possible, we can use them more efficiently if that isn’t an option.

A simple one is not to run the dishwasher with just a few dirty dishes.

Instead, wait until you have a full load to make the most of each wash cycle. Also, check if your dishwasher has an eco-setting to use less energy and water.

Make the most of your oven time

If you’re like me and prefer your foods baked or roasted, then another efficient and eco-friendly habit is to make the most of every time you heat your oven by cooking multiple dishes at a time.

You could, for example, cook tomorrow night’s roasted veg at the same time as tonight’s.

The same amount of energy is required to heat the oven whether you cook one dish or fill the shelves so a little forward thinking can help you become more environmentally conscious and efficient in the kitchen. 

Each step taken to create a greener and more eco-friendly home is a positive movement towards fighting climate change and saving the environment, and now is the best time to start!

Which of these changes are you going to make today?

We would love to hear from you, which eco-swaps you’re implementing or any ideas you have to share on how to have an eco-friendly kitchen that makes a difference to our environment! 

Written by Katie Olson


[1] Greenpeace, Plastic Pollution, www.greenpeace.org.uk/challenges/plastic-pollution/

[2] WRAP, UK progress against Courtauld 2025 targets and UN Sustainable Development Goal 12.3, January 2020

[3] Tabitha Whiting, Should You Buy Local Produce To Reduce Your Environmental Impact? May 15, 2019, medium.com/@tabitha.whiting/should-you-buy-local-produce-to-reduce-your-environmental-impact-3d49abbae697

[4] J Poore & T Nemecek, Reducing food’s environmental impacts through producers and consumers science.sciencemag.org/content/360/6392/987

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