We’re pretty much agreed that going green isn’t a fad, it’s not a fashion statement, it’s a way of life or at least it should be a way of life. Whether saving a few extra pennies in these difficult financial times are your priority or you want to do your best to preserve our planet for future generations – there is so much you could be doing that don’t involve a heavy initial financial investment and don’t require too much of your time.
In most homes it’s the kitchen that uses the most amount of energy which is hardly surprising. Between storing food, cooking food and accommodating the multitude of gadgets and gizmos, cutting back on your energy consumption in the kitchen can have a massive impact on your carbon footprint and your energy bills.
Let’s Start At The Beginning – The Supermarket
Whether the kitchen is where your family naturally gather or it’s simply a room for cooking, food is at the heart of this room so you need to be aware of where this food is coming from.
When you enter your supermarket always do a lap round the perimeter as this is where all the fresh produce lives. The fresh fruit and vegetables and the bakery section are great for the environment for lots of reasons:
- Less packaging – nothing has been freeze dried and shrink wrapped to within an inch of its life so that’s less plastic and polystyrene you’re having to throw away
- Less chemicals – fresh produce haven’t usually been treated with chemicals and preservatives to make them last forever meaning you’re not adding to the toxins in the atmosphere
- Less travel – most larger supermarkets try to source as many products as possible from local farmers which means your food hasn’t spent the past week been flown and driven half way round the world
Oh and of course, fresh food always tastes better and is better for you.
If you are packing your trolley full of fresh produce think about whether everything needs its own bag, if you’re just getting a few carrots and some bananas surly they can just sit loosely in the trolley? After all, you can always wash them and it’s not like you’re going to be eating the banana peel anyway.
Don’t forget to bring your own shopping bags.
For most of us the fridge is the first port of call when we get back from the shops and there are plenty of ways we can keep energy consumption for this down.
When you’re unpacking think about whether you really need to keep everything you’re putting away in the fridge. We all know that the fridge keeps everything fresher for longer but in actual fact this isn’t true for everything
- Bread – bread will stay fresher for longer kept at room temperature than it does in the fridge, why do you think bread bins still sell in this day and age?
- Eggs – although there is still a bit of debate around this one, most scientists agree that eggs really don’t need to go in the fridge
- Potatoes – you’ll end up with a slightly sweet flavour to your tatties if you leave them in the fridge for too long
- Tomatoes – tomatoes will keep longer left at room temperature, in the fridge they just go soft and mushy very quickly
Many people use the fridge as a general dumping ground but unless it actually needs to be cool leave it out, things like chocolate or fizzy drinks taste better cold but unless you’re planning on chugging back three two litre bottles of cola of chowing down on a family size slab of chocolate, make sure you’re just chilling what you’re going to need. The harder you’re making your fridge work, the more energy it uses and the higher your fuel bills.
- If your fridge has been around since the dark ages it might be more economical to replace it, new fridges will have higher energy efficiency ratings.
- If you are looking at buying a few fridges don’t go straight to the cheapest model, the more expensive ones will be more energy efficient which will pay for itself in the long run
- Defrost it on a regular basis, if it’s starting to fill with ice you’re just paying to keep that ice cool rather than the food
- Never put anything warm in the fridge, despite it being unhealthy it’s also warming up the rest of the fridge making it work extra hard
- Look at where the fridge is positioned in your kitchen, obviously you can’t feng shui your kitchen but if your fridge is in direct sunlight or next to the cooker it’s going to be trying to counter any external heat.
About the Author: Sam is a mother of three and used to stretching money, when shes not cooking for her brood she writes for business electricity comparison website BusinessEnergy.com