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Green and Sustainable: 10 New Tips on Kitchen Life Hacks

September 27, 2020

As we all know, our environment is in danger because of our behaviour. By changing a few of your habits over time, even at home, your impact can become huge over time. A small touch here, a small change there and you spend less food, less packaging and save money.

Sustainable Kitchen Life Hacks

Everyone knows you can do help the environment by riding your bike or walking instead of taking the car, or by thinking to turn off the lights. But how can you live more environmentally conscious in the kitchen and around it? But what does it mean to "make the kitchen more sustainable"? Roughly speaking, it means that with only a few tricks and small changes in your everyday life, you take care to protect the environment. 

Making the kitchen more sustainable can be easier than you think. This is why we collected helpful tips for your kitchen, which you might not already know.

 

1. Food lasts longer than you think

We often throw food that has passed its best-before date as "expired" in the garbage - a completely unnecessary waste of food. It is often possible to consume the goods for several days to weeks beyond the expiration date without any problems. We recommend: Just take a close look at the product in question and trust your senses.

What you cook too much of, fill in food boxes and eat the next day or the day after.

 

2. Buy quality kitchen utensils

1. Take your time

Taking time saves money. Specials and promotions are great (of course!). But do you know straight away whether an offer is best for you? And are you saving money?

Our experience shows that a good kitchen takes time. Anyone who buys hastily is usually buying too expensive. So take the time you need - especially if you want to get as much for your budget as possible.

This is how you can take your time:

  • Compare prices
  • Wait for sales and promotions
  • Obtain offers
  • Check alternatives
  • Oversleeping decisions

All things will save you money in your new kitchen.

2. Separate "important" from "unimportant"

And think carefully about what you need. Because expensive bad purchases often happen with kitchen appliances. For technical gadgets that we don't use in everyday life. Or for expensive brands where cheap ones would be just as good.

So that unimportant details do not blow your budget, you should inform yourself well in advance and be clear about your personal needs because every kitchen is different. And every kitchen buyer has other priorities and wishes.

How do you recognize excellent investments that are worth spending your money on? Very simple - they are:

  • Things that (should) last a long time - like right electrical household appliances
  • Things that make your life easier - like cabinets with practical interiors or hot water fittings
  • Something that will save you money in the long run - such as economical fittings or electrical appliances
  • Things that cannot be replaced without great efforts - like the right kitchen sink

3. Get professionals involved

Whether architect, kitchen planner or carpenter - professionals help save money in the kitchen. Maybe not at first sight, but in the long run. With their experience, their expertise and their ideas.

Our tip: When choosing "your" kitchen planner, listen to your gut instinct. If the chemistry isn't right, then it's not for you.

4. Go hunting!

What does an excellent fitting cost? How do worktops differ? Which extractor hood is expensive, which is cheap?

Those who know prices have a clear advantage. Therefore, inform yourself in advance as well and in as much detail as possible. So you know where to save later.

Our tip: For complete kitchens, you should have at least two or three offers.

5. Get to know the alternatives

Orienting oneself to what "everyone has" is easy. But it is often worthwhile to get to know alternatives. Example kitchen rear wall: Classically tiled an expensive affair.

Splash protection can also be done differently: with a lacquered wooden panel, for example, which is comparatively easy to assemble yourself. Other ideas that are more and more often overtaking the classic tile mirror are plates made of glass, ceramic, plastic and even metal.

The same applies to the worktop. Here there are financial worlds between a stainless steel work surface and a standard wooden panel. Take a close look - and see what suits your cooking habits and budget.

6. Leave your layout as it is

Do you dream of making your new kitchen "completely different"? Think about it carefully because significant renovations need big budgets - especially when the stove and sink also need to be connected to the water and electricity.

Our tip: if your layout is right, leave it as it is.

As long as you find your kitchen layout practical, the plumbing in good condition, and everything working, there is no need to remake everything.

But if you've been wanting a kitchen island for a long time or need more space for baking - go ahead! Make your wishes come true.

 

7. Renovating instead of replacing

Buying new doesn't always make sense. Often things can also be processed cheaply. A right, worn wooden floor, for example. Or a substantial dining table, like in our photo. The money you save here can then be invested in another detail of your new kitchen.

For example, in the perfect kitchen lighting.

8. Don't skimp on quality

Excellent and cheap will never go together. Neither with the kitchen furnishings nor with craftsmen, architects or kitchen planners. For all essential things in your kitchen, look not just at a price, but also at their long-term value.

If your faucet is still tight in 5 or 10 years, your dishwasher will run correctly, and the worktop is still as beautiful as it was on the first day - then you have saved.

Incidentally, this also applies to craftsmen. This is where you should find someone worth every penny. Instead of someone who "works cheaply".

 

9. Renovate "green"!

Home appliances that save electricity and water are a trend. Good thing, because they keep energy bills small. Here are a few suggestions on what to look out for:

Always check the EU energy label - so you know which devices are economical. The bigger the refrigerator, the higher the electricity bill - buy your refrigerator as small as possible. Freezers are energy guzzlers - think about whether you really need one (especially if you have a freezer)

Our tip: Even economical fittings keep the water bill small. You should, therefore pay attention to the consumption of your kitchen faucet.

 

10. Talking saves you money

Who asks, acts wisely. Granted. Haggling and bargaining are not for everyone. But if you want to save on the kitchen, you should give your best and talk.

First of all, you should ask, for example:

  • After kitchens from last year or reduced exhibits
  • After free delivery
  • After a price reduction like the one offered by the competition
  • For a lower package price when you buy several things together.

And don't worry, kitchen salespeople usually allow for a certain amount of leeway. You can approach the matter a little more briskly, mostly if you've already seen your dream kitchen cheaper elsewhere.

Our tip: If you don't dare, take someone with you to buy the kitchen which enjoys trading. You will be amazed.

 

11. Deduct craftsmen's services from the tax

Renovators and modernizers can reclaim part of the costs for the craftsmen from taxes - up to a maximum of 1200 euros per year. What do you have to consider?

  • The kitchen must be in your own house or your (vacation) apartment.
  • You have to pay the invoice by bank transfer.
  • The maximum limit for the deductible costs is 6,000 euros.

You can deduct wage and travel expenses as well as consumables. Materials such as tiles, wallpaper or paint cannot be removed

 

3. Shop locally or plant yourself

Buying fruits and vegetables according to the season definitely makes sense for the environment and is part of climate-friendly shopping. Seasonal vegetables from the region last longer and secondly run less risk of being damaged during transport and thus being sorted out. Some fruits and vegetables from distant countries break - this is also a waste of food. 

 

Some people say I am the best gardener. from r/gardening

Local ingredients are grown around your town and therefore are not imported from far and wide. Therefore, your carbon footprint is lower. If you want to take it one step further, try to plant veggies and fruits on your own. To be transparent, beginners should take a look into some tips for gardening before taking the journey to plant on their own.

 

4. Store to have more

Instead of covering food scraps with aluminium or cling film, it makes sense to fill everything in jars or glasses. Storage has a major impact on the shelf life of food. For example, potatoes and onions like to be in the dark while not being stored too cold. Tomatoes and citrus fruits are also sensitive to the cold. Fresh products such as lettuce, spinach and, of course, dairy products always belong in the fridge.

 

5. Tea is not as eco-friendly as you might think

Now for the good news, at least for us tea drinkers. Yes, we can drink tea with a clear conscience. Buying loose tea often saves you money (depending on the amounts), has better taste and protects the environment by producing less waste.

If you compare the water consumption that is needed for the production of other drinks with that of tea, then tea definitely has the edge. All sugary drinks do very poorly because 175 litres of water are needed to produce 1 kg of sugar. Wine and beer also consume a lot of water, they need 960 and 300 litres of water per litre of drink. Coffee and cocoa also cannot hold the water for tea, because they consume a lot of it. For a kilo of coffee beans, you need 21,000 litres of water and a kilo of cocoa consumes 27,000 litres. The equivalent of 140 litres of water for a cup of coffee. This is more than 4 times what a cup of tea consumes. Here there are only 30 litres of water. This is because the main tea growing areas are in regions with high rainfall. In contrast to coffee, which mainly comes from very dry regions.

 

6. Apron and cloths instead of kitchen paper

Instead of spending money on paper towels every week, you can rub your hands on cloth towels or your apron.

 

7. Buy dry food in higher quantities

Buying dry ingredients, such as flour, nuts, sugar or pasta, in larger quantities not only saves you time and money but also consumes less packaging.

 

8. Creative recycling of leftovers

Half a zucchini, a brown banana, an open mug of cream: Opened, leftover and slightly withered food can almost always be used somehow. Nobody can tell from a soup, a pizza topping or a smoothie that the ingredients were no longer fresh. That helps against food waste - and it definitely tastes good. Be creative!

 

9. Recycle your garbage

Recycling has become an integral part of today's economy and everyday life. The processing of waste so that it can be used again plays a vital role in the fight against the global waste problem. A clean waste separation lays the foundation for effective recycling. In the following article, we will explain how to separate rubbish correctly and which typical mistakes should be avoided. Because garbage sorting only makes sense if you do it right!

Separate garbage properly
Garbage that occurs in the house and everyday life can generally be divided into five different categories. All these should be carefully separated when thrown away.

But which garbage actually belongs in which bin? First of all, it should be said that regional exceptions may apply to waste separation! The following guide, therefore, only provides a general overview. You can obtain information on possible special regulations from your municipality.

Yellow bin - lightweight packaging of all kinds
Light packaging usually consists of plastics, composites, aluminium or tinplate and is disposed of in the yellow bin or sack. Lightweight packaging includes, for example, food cans, shampoo bottles, toothpaste tubes and plastic packaging such as those used for food. In principle, a large part of the packaging that we find in everyday life falls into this category. However, some products also belong in the yellow bin that does not look like it at first glance. These include, for example:

However, it is at least as necessary to know which waste must not be disposed of in the yellow sack! This initially includes all packaging, the contents of which are under pressure. Empty hairspray and deodorant bottles do not belong in the yellow bin! The same applies to containers that contain residual toxins. Detergents, textile cleaners, paints, varnishes and the like must also be disposed of separately. Other garbage that is often thrown away in the yellow sack, but has no place there, includes:

In addition to prominent waste paper such as newspapers, letters or shredder scraps, various cardboard or cardboard packaging also belongs in the paper bin. Egg cartons, cardboard boxes or paper bags fall under this definition. However, there are exceptions here as well, which at first glance look like paper, but still cannot be disposed of in the blue bin.

In addition to food leftovers - in normal household quantities, mind you - garden waste such as potting soil, moss, weeds, leaves etc. can be disposed of in the organic waste bin. The same applies to coffee filter bags, tea bags and wood wool. In general, it can be said that the organic waste bin is the right choice for any form of waste that can be composted. However, this does not include waste, such as:

The residual waste bin is the garbage can for all waste that cannot be recycled. These include photos, rubbish, toys, hygiene paper, litter for small animals or cigarettes. To jump to the hasty conclusion that everything that is not allowed to be disposed of in the other three bins is to be thrown into the black bin is a mistake. Because some products have been disposed of separately and must not be thrown into any of the garbage cans.

Waste separation is an integral part of the recycling cycle and forms the basis for effective recycling. Despite general rules as to which garbage belongs in which garbage can, you should still find out about special regional regulations from your municipality!

 

10. Always eat everything

What applies to shopping also applies to cooking: only as much as you need. If you eat everything, fewer remnants will end up in the bin. If something should remain, keep it in the fridge until the next day, e.g. in a storage jar, you can also freeze it. Instead of wasting food, you also have a self-made "ready meal".


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