Monday, June 04, 2007

Making Less Impact in the Kitchen

Actually, I need to make some kind of impact in the kitchen beyond Less Impact. The dishes are piled in the sink, the refrigerator needs cleaning out and so do the cupboards. Since there are no Merry Maids plying their trade here, I guess it will be up to me to get things back in order here. As I did mention, we are in the End of the School Year Zone, which means that there's a school year's worth of clutter to deal with here and at work. Those who think teachers have it made with all our "vacation" days off per year, haven't realized that it takes all summer to file things away and catch up on all the cleaning that was neglected during those long days tending your children!

But back to making genuine steps toward Less Impact in the kitchen. Here's some advice:

Get rid of stuff you don't need. How many pots and pans do you really need versus how many are stuffed into cabinets? Do you really need three ladles? For those who are on tight schedules and who tend to let dishes pile up -- consider downsizing the amounts of glasses, cups, dishes and silverware in your kitchen. You will be forced to wash the dishes more often if you have less available to take out of the cupboard.

Get rid of foodstuffs that have been living for years in cupboards and in the backs of refrigerators and make note of what hasn't been used so that you never make the mistake of buying it again.

If I had lots of money, I'd definitely replace the old refrigerator in my kitchen with a new energy efficient model. But at this time, replacing something that is still running is not an option. Perhaps one day. Or I can keep entering the Soy Silk Sweepstakes to win a "green appliance" makeover for my home. Because, quite frankly -- greenifying one's home and life to the maximum effect is still very expensive.

Of course, there are the tactics employed by No Impact Man who simply turned off his refrigerator and tried a primitive form of cooling system involving a pot inside of another pot. But now he has come into contact with an inventor from India who has come up with a clay cooler that can hold fruits, vegetables and milk (for the lactos among us) for three days -- and it doesn't run on electricity! Check out the picture and description here and No Impact Man's insightful post here.

Making less impact in the kitchen also involves doing away with the myriad cleaning products under the sink. You don't need anything more than baking soda, vinegar, and some Dr. Bronner's liquid soap.

One of the most difficult things to do to make less impact is to stop buying products with packaging you know is going straight to the landfill. You will find that many of your favorite foodstuffs as well as personal care products are encased in plastics that will live longer than you will, no matter what you do with them. Akron only recycles #1 and #2. For a fun Less Impact Week activity, try making 7 boxes and labelling them 1 - 7. Now throw all your discarded plastics into the appropriately numbered box. How fast does each box fill? Imagine each human being in this country filling similar boxes and then remember that plastic is going to stick around on this planet far longer than humans.

Along with plastics, any paste board (all cardboard stock that is not corrugated) is not an Akron recyclable. How many things do you buy that are encased not only in non-corrugated cardboard AND in plastic as well?

By the way, I really have to thank Crunchy Chicken for instigating Low Impact Week. It has helped focus me on practice as well as theory in the department of greening the Green! Crunch is having a contest for all Low Impact Week participants. Take a visit to her blog and find out just who is making a Low Impact and how they can inspire you to do the same.

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