Let’s face it; we all live busy lives and sometimes are not the best for reducing waste and practicing sustainability. While it is not something that I am proud of, I can look back on my daily habits and think about ways I could cut back or ways to incorporate environmentally friendly living into my life.
Each year, I look back on some things I would improve upon about myself. After educating myself on world sustainability, I thought why not research ways to implement sustainable practices within our home, starting with the kitchen. Between food prep, the garbage bin’s location, and all the other storage in the kitchen, this part of the house is the perfect way to start. Throughout this article, I plan to introduce you to some of my favorite sustainability tips to include when designing your kitchen. From energy conservation to composting, you would be surprised at what little efforts you can make and the big impact!
Are you looking to be more sustainable or have any sustainable design tips that you’ve implemented into your home? We would love to hear about them! Connect with us on social using #SharpHome on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. We can’t wait to hear from you!
All Roads Lead to Induction
The appliances in your kitchen are the most crucial part of a kitchen renovation and serve the most purpose. When designing your new and gorgeous kitchen, doing your research for the right appliances is essential. Yes, the cabinetry and countertop selection is fun to pick out, but you may be surprised to hear that going to the store and picking out just any appliance may not be the best idea. If you are all in for a sustainable kitchen design (which why wouldn’t you be), I say we ditch the gas and go towards an induction cooktop.
Throughout the country, we see a rising trend in alternative cooking methods, with induction being favored by many. We at Simply Better Living know a thing or two about cooking with Induction. Our recent post highlighting “Induction Cooking Unique Features” showcase many of the key benefits, including environmental benefits. According to the U.S. Department of Energy, after testing the energy efficiency of four conventional cooking tops (induction, electric coil resistance, smooth electric resistance, and gas), induction ranked at the top of the list. That’s right, induction for the win!
Not only are they environmentally friendly, but Sharp USA makes a 30” European Black Mirror Finish Induction Cooktop Made with Premium SCHOTT® Glass and a 36” European Black Mirror Finish Induction Cooktop Made with Premium SCHOTT® Glass. Each cooktop includes a power boost mode to increase the cooktop’s speed by 50% and have different cooking zones with simmer enhancement. That’s right; you can now boil the water quicker and be eating your macaroni dinner in no time!
These will serve as a wonderful gateway to a beautifully designed sustainable kitchen between the advanced safety features and competitive pricing.
Redesigning your home is always fun, and it is great to incorporate the whole family. Looking at different samples for flooring, cabinetry, and countertops really serves as a creative outlet to let your personality shine throughout your space and home environment. As the weather begins to cool down, and due to everything happening throughout the country, we often spend more time at home than normal. If I am correct, I bet that means that you want to renovate now more than ever. In fact, ever since I started working from home, I have been renovating my office and living space every chance I get.
While we can have while doing it, we can remodel our kitchens by taking a sustainable and eco-friendly approach. This includes keeping it in our minds when we pick out different materials and are considering the layout of our new space.
A blog post from “My Move” highlights some examples of how to remain efficient and sustainable when sourcing materials for our dream kitchens.
I am a fan of repurposing your old cabinets instead of buying new ones. It turns out you can still have your magazine-ready kitchen and your dream color cabinets by just changing the hardware and the color. Taking off the cabinet doors and painting them on a flat surface will really make them shine. Yes, there are some instances that you may want or need to get new cabinets. If that is the case, consider using reclaimed woods or look throughout the internet to see if you can refurbish other cabinets. Bam! You are reducing waste and costs significantly!
A few other sustainability tips mentioned were to consider using glass tile backsplashes. If you plan on using one made from recycled material, that is a win-win for you and the planet. All in all, your kitchen will look beautiful, and your planet will thank you!
Choosing a Timeless Kitchen Design
Everyone has different tastes, and guess what? They change all of the time! The home that I live in now I have lived in for about 12 years, and this past weekend I just painted my walls a different color for the third time. Popular and trending design patterns and colors that are “in” change every few years or even after a couple of months.
I guess it really is true when they say the third time is a charm. After all of the time, labor, and expenses, I realized that it costs to redesign a room custom to current trends; choosing a timeless and traditional look may be the way to go to give you the classic, edgy theme you want in your home. This doesn’t just stop with your walls’ color but can definitely be applied to your upcoming kitchen renovation and plan for years in the future. “STL Design and Build” suggest aiming for longevity and choosing a sustainable kitchen design.
Whenever we start doing a complete kitchen renovation, people often go to the extreme of ripping out old contents and replacing them with new ones, which could cost lots of money and take lots of labor. Having an on-trend and ageless kitchen is something to think about, especially in the long term.
I bet you’re thinking, what kind of kitchen design is this person talking about? The answer is there is not just one to choose from! You can go from a white colonial, I dub it the “Charleston” style or a classic farmhouse look. “Real Simple” offers a few cool tips and suggestions on how to build out a timeless kitchen.
Looking throughout the top tips, I have personally taken a liking to the use of butcher blocks for countertops and other surfaces. In fact, I used a butcher block in my home workspace as a desk. Completing your design with a subway tile backsplash is the perfect way to top off your forever kitchen.
Saving and Showcasing Your Food
The purpose of a kitchen is to store and prepare food, so when it comes to designing a sustainable and eco-friendly kitchen considering food waste is essential. One thing that annoys me a bunch is when there are boxes with little foods or stale bags of chips that sit in a cabinet for weeks, causing them to be thrown out. I am a budget-friendly type of person, so when I see perfectly good food getting wasted, I see it as money going out the window.
After reading an interesting piece highlighting sustainable kitchen tips from “Life With Less,” I realized that the use of airtight containers and mason jars will serve as the perfect alternative for food storage. This will allow you to increase the life of your food items. One of my biggest pet peeves is cooking pasta (my favorite), and I leave a bit in the box or end up cooking the whole pound and throwing it away. This alternative solution allows you to use as much as you’d like to compliment your serving size.
These clear and airtight containers can also serve as a decor accessory in your kitchen in the design aspect. Recently, we have seen on social media famous influencers and celebrities showcasing their organized pantries and organization. This design trend is a great way to be conscious of the amount of food waste you create and be on trend with upcoming designs. Whether you place a mason jar with rice or an airtight container with rigatoni on your kitchen countertop or shelf, it will surely blend into your new sustainable kitchen.
Here at Simply Better Living, we are advocates for proper food storage techniques. If you are more interested in finding innovative and creative ways to store your food throughout your kitchens and pantries, check out our Food Storage Hacks and Best Practices article.
Make Room for Composting
Speaking of food waste, whether we like it or not, we must admit that it does happen, and there are times we get rid of food because it either can’t be saved or is too old. Instead of throwing it all into one trash bin or the same bag after dinner, there is a much more sustainable and environmentally friendly way to do so. Ever hear of composting?
Now that you are planning on redesigning your kitchen to be more custom to sustainable practices, designing your trash area to fit a compost bin may be the perfect way to dispose of all your old food scraps in the best way possible.
Wondering how it works? Composting takes organic waste and breaks it down to be reused, perfect for those committed to the zero-waste lifestyle initiative. This production happens in a bin that can fit almost anywhere in the home, in big or small sizes. Yup, that’s right, whether you are on the 20th floor in a high-rise apartment building or a rural area with acres of farmland, technology allows for composting to be done anywhere.
“Sustainable Jungle” highlights and summarizes some of the key benefits of compositing, including reducing waste ending up in overfilling landfills, enhancing the soil’s quality for their plants as the nutrients include natural pesticides acting as fertilizer, and the reduction of greenhouse gasses. It sounds like a win to me!
This article also includes some of the best practices and tips on composting in everyday people’s homes. When I first heard of this concept, I thought I would never be able to do it but realized it did not require that much training or skill. Feel free to check out the different types of composters and make room for them in your sustainable kitchen design.