10 simple ways to lower your impact on the environment in your kitchen

At Tidy we believe that the best way of lowering our collective environmental impact is for everyone to make a few small changes to their lifestyles. We don't need a few folks living a "prefect" eco-friendly lifestyle, we need everyone to start with doing just a one thing differently and build from there.

That would have a much wider, more immediate impact.

That would be tidy.

Using a men's solid shampoo is a great way to lower your personal impact on the environment. And it's a fairly simple change to make. If every man in the UK switched from liquid shampoos to solid shampoo we could reduce the number of shampoo bottles being thrown out each year from an estimated 64,000,000 to zero.

If you've already made the switch, maybe now would be a good time to try another small change to your lifestyle to further reduce your environmental impact...

Here are 10 ways you could to do just that in your kitchen:

1. Only boil the water you need in your kettle

Whether it's a stereotypically British cup of tea, or your coffee making ritual of choice that kicks of your morning, if you're boiling water first thing (or any time of day for that matter!) make sure you're only boiling what you need.

The less you boil, the faster your hot H2O will be ready, and the less energy you'll be using. That's better for the environment and your wallet too (especially at the moment!).

2. Put a lid on it

If you're into bush craft, you'll know this one already. It's another water boiling related tip: If you're boiling water for cooking veg, or pasta, or rice, etc put a lid on the pan while you're getting it up to temperature. Adding the lid significantly reduces the time to get your liquid up to boiling point, reducing the amount of energy you're using.

At camp this can mean a vastly reduced workload in terms of needing much less firewood, or carrying less fuel with you.

In the home, this means less waste, and less money spent on gas or electricity. Win.

3. Turn it off

How many gadgets do you have in your kitchen. A kettle? Toaster? Coffee machine (or two?). Microwave? How about a smoothie maker? A hand blender? Bread maker? Slow cooker? Toasted sandwich maker?

How many do you use daily, or even weekly?

How many are plugged in permanently? (We're almost certain the toasted sandwich maker isn't 😄)

Many of the above will draw power when plugged in and turned on.

Turn the power off at the wall and they won't be wasting power while not in use.

This tip won't save you hundreds of pounds or huge volumes of power overall, but if everyone did it that would be millions of households reducing their power usage. That would add up.

4. Buy what you need, use what you buy

In 2018 the UK produced around 9.5 million tonnes of food waste. 70% of that - ~6.6million tonnes! - was household waste.

That's a lot of food being thrown out. Much of it through over buying or bad planning.

The environmental cost is huge, all that waste has to be dealt with somehow.

The economic waste is huge too. The time, energy and money invested in making all that produce for it to be wasted is ridiculous.

At a per household level it's a massive waste too. Buying food and not eating it is just throwing money down the drain. At a time when the cost of living is rising, addressing food waste could be an immediately impactful way of saving some money on a regular basis.

So, plan your meals for the week, buy only what you need, and use it all up.

5. Store food to last

Related to the previous tip: storing your food smartly can make it last a lot longer.

Try googling for an extensive range of techniques for making food last longer. There are many, many ways you can try. Too many to list them all here, but to give you a flavour, here are some of our favourites:

  • slice lemons up, put them in a (reusable) ziplock bag and freeze them. They're great in summer drinks
  • submerge carrots in water in a container in the fridge, they last weeks
  • chop fresh herbs, put them in an ice cube tray, cover with olive oil and freeze them. Pop a cube in a pan to melt while cooking for nice fresh flavours.

 

6. Buy local where you can

We all know about food miles, so this one goes without saying really, but it's worth remembering: if you can, buy local. Not everyone can, admittedly either through lack of choice or lack of funds, but if you can, do. It does make a big difference.

 

7. Buy in glass if on offer

There was a time when most condiments, drinks and other liquids came only in glass bottles.

Now most offerings at the big supermarkets and from the big brands come in plastic bottles. Even if these are recycled (only 9% of plastics are, so it's unlikely they'll be even close to 100% recycled) or recyclable (less than 9%...) glass bottles and jars are still a better option. You can reuse them. Or they can be recycled fully to make new jars and bottles.

Befriend a jam maker, pickler, or craftsperson and they will be forever grateful for all the empty jars you can share.

 

8. Use refillable if possible

Even better than buying in glass would be buying packaging free. Or in packaging you can reuse over and over again.

Refill stores popped up all over the UK during the COVID pandemic, there could be one near you that you never knew about.

Even [Waitrose has started experimenting in this area], so maybe other big brand supermarkets will follow suit?

 

9. Make your own cleaning products

The cleaning products you use in the kitchen are likely to be pretty bad for the environment generally. One "kitchen drain unblocker" we saw recently stated on the bottle "dangerous for all forms of aquatic life". And that's something that's designed to be flushed down the drain, ultimately into an ecosystem full of aquatic life 🤦.

There are gentler cleaning products on the market, and it's more than possible to [make your own]. Often from relatively cheap ingredients too... Give it a go.

 

10. Switch to a green energy provider for your gas and electricity

This one's easier said than done in the current market, but if you are considering switching energy provider, try looking for one who produces their power using renewables and offsets their gas by some means.

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