We visit our kitchens several times a day to prepare our meals, snacks and beverages, often using an array of appliances. It’s imperative to keep this space sparklingly clean and hygienic, but how do we ensure our heart of the home has a heart for the environment as well? We offer some practical tips for a cucina sostenibile.
Cut excess waste
Get resourceful with anything leftover in your kitchen, rather than simply throwing everything away.
Don’t peel organic carrots or new potatoes – simply scrub them and they’ll be good enough to cook and eat! Freeze any excess of chopped celeriac or Italian fresh herbs to reuse in soups and casseroles later.
Use leftover coffee grounds and tea leaves as natural fertiliser on your plants or in the garden.
Use leftover cucumber slices as instant eye masks – lie back and enjoy the cool feeling of a slice over each eye!
When boiling vegetables, save the nutrient-rich cooking water to make your own vegetable broth to add to soups or casseroles.
Recycle the rest!
Ensure you have bins for the following types of waste in your kitchen and recycle anything you cannot retain and reuse:
Compost bin – for used tea bags, eggshells, outer or brown leaves of brassica or salad vegetables, stalks or peel and so on – alternatively, if you have a garden, consider creating an outdoor compost heap. Whichever method you choose, use the composted organic waste as effective plant fertiliser.
Plastic recycling bin – naturally, throw any plastic containers, wrapping and packaging in here and ensure it gets sent to your local plastic recycling
Paper recycling bin – used cereal boxes, paper packaging from dry products like flour all belong in here, as do old shopping lists. Again, make sure it gets recycled locally.
Clean up cleaning
Keeping your kitchen clean doesn’t have to cause damage to the environment. Use natural cleaning tools like hemp scouring pads, cotton dish cloths and wooden-handled brushes and apply the following consumable items to clear your cucina of grime.
Acidic heroes, lemon juice and spirit vinegar have been removing stubborn limescale from kitchens for decades! Use vinegar to descale your kettle – boil a mixture of vinegar and water in your kettle in the normal way, then swish around the liquid and leave to settle for five minutes. Pour the mixture away and rinse well before making your next hot drink in your limescale-free kettle! Use either lemon juice or vinegar around your kitchen sink, including the tap, to clear away limescale build-up and oily residues.
Gentle scrubbing assistant bicarbonate of soda can be used on stubborn or sticky marks on kitchen surfaces – sprinkle a little powder on a damp cloth and scrub the stain using circular motions.
Keep hands clean using a sustainable hand wash, like N.A.E. Liquid Hand Soaps
Freshen air and absorb odours
Baking soda is also an effective odour absorber for your fridge. Place a few teaspoons in a small bowl and place on a refrigerator shelf to keep it smelling fresh. Alternatively, chop a fresh onion in half and place in the fridge as an instant freshener!
A few potted plants like aloe vera and spider plants help purify the air in your kitchen.
To add an invigorating scent to any room, make homemade citrus candles – when you next eat an orange, be sure to pull away the peel neatly in two halves and keep the stalk intact. Pour olive oil into the “bowl” so the stalk still peeks above the surface. Patiently light the stalk like a candle wick with a match – the result is atmospheric, sensual light and a sweet orange scent – and it’s sustainable!
Enjoy making your kitchen greener, cleaner – and creative!
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