A lot of us make conscious efforts and lifestyle changes to live green. One of them is to build an eco-friendly kitchen. In this practical design series, we’ll show you a bunch of kitchen design ideas that tread lightly on Mother Nature.
Here are our suggestions:
Go for green options
When building or renovating your kitchen, chose sustainable, natural, and eco-friendly building materials. All the materials must be produced using sustainable sourcing methods (especially wood and natural stone). Here are the items that you should consider using:
- Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified timber
- Sustainably sourced natural stone
- Low-VOC paints or stain
- Low-VOC cabinet materials and finish
- Fluorescent or LED lights
For more options, read: 11 Green Building Materials You Can Use to Build a Home
In case a building material gets expensive, we recommend that you substitute it with a more affordable option. Research about the manufacturer and read online reviews about their product.
Include a mini compost in your kitchen
Conceal an indoor compost system in your kitchen. Station it near the food preparation area so you can quickly and easily dispose of food waste. When a built-in compost bin is out of your budget, put a small leak-free trash bin on your benchtop. Use a stylish ceramic, metal, or plastic trash bin (something you can wash easily).
If you have a large outdoor area connected to your kitchen, build yourself a low-cost outdoor compost.
Composting prompts you to segregate your trash. It also gives you free fertilizer, which is useful when you grow your own food.
Reuse and Recycle
Have at least three trash bins in your kitchen and label each container as biodegradable, non-biodegradable, and recyclable. Segregate your trash like this to make recycling easier.
When possible, reuse some of your trash. Upcycle or give a second life to the things you normally throw away like plastic bags, PET bottles, egg cartons, glass jars, old/stained clothes, etc.
Grow a herb garden (and a few veggies or fruits)
One way to make your kitchen green sustainable is to grow your own food. Start with a few basic herbs. Grow them in pots on your window sill or set up a vertical herb garden system. (DIY this project to save money).
If you have lots of space in the backyard, consider planting vegetables and fruit-bearing trees. Tomatoes, brussel sprouts, and lettuce are fairly easy to grow in your garden. Pear and lemon trees and grapevines are a perfect addition to your veggie garden too.
Decorate with plants
Lush foliage instantly makes a kitchen feel alive and fresh. Place some indoor plants in your kitchen — on the benchtop, dining table, window sill, or open shelving. Choose indoor plants that give you extra benefits. Aloe Vera, for instance, is medicinal (a cure for burns). Ivy plants and spider plants purify the air too. Read: 10 Ways to Display Plants in the Kitchen
Cut your food waste
Did you know that an average Australian family throws out 200 kgs of food waste annually? If you’re concerned and want to reduce yours, here are the things you can do:
- No matter how busy your schedule is, find time to cook your own meal. Minimise food waste whenever you cook.
- Avoid heavily packaged, ready-made meals.
- Use old grocery items before opening new ones. Arrange items inside your cupboards by expiration date.
- Consume food items before they expire. If you don’t want to eat them, donate them immediately to charity or give them to an interested friend/neighbour.
How designers can help you
Building a green kitchen is good for you, your family, and the environment. When designing one from scratch or renovating your current kitchen (to make it more sustainable), we recommend that you get a designer on board. A skilled designer can help you create a sustainable, functional, and ergonomic kitchen. The right one can help you reduce construction costs as well.