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10 essential tools for the greener kitchen

Updated on August 21, 2014
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A long-time whole grain baker, Kathryn discovered the thrill and ease of cooking with whole, fresh foods decades ago. Still chopping!

Make every day Earth Day with a greener kitchen

If you've been thinking of ways to make your kitchen more eco-friendly and sustainable, you've come to the right place.

On this page you will find ten essential tools that make it a whole lot easier to go green in the kitchen.

Every gadget and tool here helps reduce my family's overall carbon footprint. Put them to work for you too, and our collective carbon footprint reductions will become ever more meaningful.

There's no need to buy them all at once. Start slowly. Find what you need at thrift stores and on Freecycle or Craigslist. Buy new only when you can't get it any other way.

While you're checking out the list, take advantage of the opportunities to tell me and other readers about your favorite greener-living tips, gadgets and problem-solvers too.

Image credit: Blue Avocado Starter Kit Grocery Bag System on Amazon.com

Rebild the Dream - by Van Jones

 

Happy Earth Day Bouquet - Courtesy greenclipart.com
Happy Earth Day Bouquet - Courtesy greenclipart.com

Image courtesy
greenclipart.com

Green Kitchen Essential #1: The reusable shopping bag - Bring it all home in a bag you can use again and again

Our 28-year-old reusable shopping bag - © L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved
Our 28-year-old reusable shopping bag - © L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved

Our very first reusable shopping bag, which we purchased back in 1983, remains a valued part of our collection. Tossed in the washer and dryer many times, it is faded and lumpy, but it still totes a lot of groceries. We put it to use other ways too, like schlepping a blanket to the beach, or toting a hastily assembled picnic to the park after work.

Image: Our 31-year-old reusable shopping bag
© L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

The reusable shopping bag has come a long way, Baby - Don't leave home without it

This shopping bag kit holds 50 pounds of groceries and includes a large tote, a smaller secondary tote and a veggie bag, just about perfect for a city slicker like me, who has to schlepp everything to and fro on the hoof or by bus. If I had a car and a large family, I'd keep two or three kits in my trunk.

BlueAvocado Starter Kit Reusable Grocery Bag System, Kiwi/Wildflower
BlueAvocado Starter Kit Reusable Grocery Bag System, Kiwi/Wildflower

I love the Kiwi reusable shopping bag kits. They come in lots of pretty colors and designs, including purple, cherry red, and lively prints.

 

Keep your bags fresh & clean

Toss your reusable bags in the laundry with the kitchen towels now and then to keep them fresh, or if you have a heavy, dark canvas bag like mine, wash it with your jeans.

Green Tip: Shop the bulk aisle first

Almost any store that carries a wide selection of organic products also has a bulk foods aisle. Depending on the store, you can find everything from staples like sugar, flour, oats and rice to spices, teas, nuts and dried fruits. Bonus to shopping this aisle: Significant cash savings over packaged goods.

Green Kitchen Essential #2: Safe, non-leaching glass and stainless steel storage containers

Plastic containers are made from petroleum, leach non-food chemicals into our food, and never break down completely in the environment. Their pieces just keep getting smaller and smaller. We inhale them when we breathe. We eat them when our food is stored in them. Yuk!

So what's the alternative? Fido jars are the best all-purpose storage containers I've found. We use them for almost everything, from soup to nuts--even granola. Why, I even store my cookie cutters in in one!

Set of 5 (Five) Bormioli Rocco Fido Glass Canning Jars - 5 Piece - .5, .75, 1, 1.5 and 2 Liters
Set of 5 (Five) Bormioli Rocco Fido Glass Canning Jars - 5 Piece - .5, .75, 1, 1.5 and 2 Liters

This starter set includes several sizes, which come in handy for all kinds of food storage. Use them in the fridge for homemade yogurt, leftover soups and smoothies. I use some of mine in the in the freezer too, for storing chicken stock, apple sauce, whatever liquid and semi-liquids we need to freeze. I always leave half an inch or so for expansion and have not had a problem.

 

One day my sweetheart said to me, "The cupboards look so pretty with all the jars filled with beans and grains and pasta." It's true. They do! We use them for all our bulk items--sugar, sea salt, beans, rice, lentils, rolled oats, almonds, walnuts, dried cranberries and raisins, and much more.

Store homemade granola, crackers and cookies in Fido jars, too - A large Fido jar keeps them fresher than any canister I've tried

Sharon's favorite homemade granola recipe in a Fido jar - © L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved
Sharon's favorite homemade granola recipe in a Fido jar - © L Kathryn Grace, all rights reserved

In this jar, my homemade granola will stay fresh to the last bite.

I once forgot a jar of cookies I'd made at Christmas time, tucked away in the dark recesses of a cupboard until June. When I opened the jar, the cookies were nearly as fresh as the day I made them! Fresher than any store bought cookie!

Sharon's favorite homemade granola
© L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

Lunchbots Stainless Steel Food Storage Container - Lightweight, food safe and holds a lot

Lunchbots are my go-to plastic alternative when I need a lightweight container that cannot break. We bought ours to carry lunches and picnic goodies, but it turned out to be terrific for storing all kinds of things, including leftovers. The food grade stainless steel is safe and does not leach chemicals into your food like plastic. The lid fits snugly and securely for most foods, though I would not try to carry soup or other liquids in it.

LunchBots Duo Stainless Steel Food Container, Orange
LunchBots Duo Stainless Steel Food Container, Orange

It's so easy to pop leftovers into one of these bots, then grab and go in the morning. We love ours. They also come in several sizes, and in round and divided styles so you can carry a sandwich in one side, crudites or chips in the other.

 

No leach, lightweight Lunch Bots making storing & toting a breeze

Super quick potato salad for 2 in Lunch Bot - © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
Super quick potato salad for 2 in Lunch Bot - © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

Shown here, my Super Quick Potato Salad for Two, stored in 1 quart LunchBot, ready for a quick picnic after work.

Potato salad in LunchBot
© L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

Which do you prefer? - Plastic, glass or stainless steel

Which do you prefer for storing your food stuffs--Plastic, glass or stainless steel?

See results

Green Kitchen Essential #3: Small, airtight, reusable spice jars - For your bulk herbs

I have several of these darling little jars for storing dried spices and tiny seeds (mustard, poppy, sesame, flax) I buy in the bulk section. The rubber seal and locking ring tab keep them super fresh. Our 3-year-old granddaughter loves to smell the spices when I open the containers.

RSVP Oval Glass Spice Bottle Set of 6
RSVP Oval Glass Spice Bottle Set of 6

They are lightweight, durable, and easy to refill in the bulk spice store. Tack on a removable label with the name of the spice and the tare, and you're all set. If you buy your spices at the same store, you can keep the PLU# on the label as well. The rubber seal is as air tight as you can get without a vacuum seal, and will keep your spices fresh.

 

Preserve the aromatic oils of your spices

Store dried spices and seeds in a dark cupboard to protect them from damaging light.

Fresh or dried? - Does it matter?

Some cooks I know use only fresh herbs. I use fresh every chance I get, but I don't always have just what I need on hand, so I keep a supply of dried herbs too. What do you say?

Fresh herbs or dried?

I use only fresh herbs in my culinary creations.

I use only fresh herbs in my culinary creations.

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    • Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

      Fresh herbs. That's why I like to plant my own herbs.

    • scarletrose lm 5 years ago

      I would love to start using fresh herbs, I have only tried dried herbs so far.

    • Tamara Kajari 5 years ago from Zagreb, Croatia, Europe

      Fresh as much as possible, but frozen in stead of dried. Frozen herbs are just as great as fresh.

    • wahrsein 5 years ago

      herbs

    • norma-holt 5 years ago

      My garden us full of herbs so I use them fresh in everything,

    • Deadicated LM 5 years ago

      For the most part, I try to use fresh; it's not always possible in the Bronx where I live (the pickings are limb).

    • Ben Reed 5 years ago

      Try to grow my own where possible.

    Dried is fine, at least for some dishes

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      • Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

        While I much prefer fresh herbs, my many attempts to grow them never have succeeded for long. (I haven't given up trying, though!) So sometimes I need to supplement the organic fresh herbs I buy with dried. I also sometimes freeze leftover fresh herbs.

      • Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

        I prefer fresh, but when I cannot go that route, dried herbs save the day.

      • Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

        If I have fresh I will use them, but I have dried my own herbs for years.

      • Felicitas 3 years ago

        I'm with you. I love fresh herbs but if it means rushing off to the store for that one thing I'll use dried.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Fresh is best but I don't cook that much these days and have dry on hand!

      • srsddn lm 5 years ago

        It is not feasible to have fresh herbs all the year around. So dried may also be used.

      • Emmeke 5 years ago

        I use dried herbs.

      • Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

        I'm happy with dried herbs because I don't always have fresh to hand.

      • SquidooMBA 5 years ago

        dried

      • Sara Krentz 5 years ago from USA

        I prefer fresh, but dried is better than none at all. I like to grow my own!

      • evaemilie 5 years ago

        I use often dried herbs, and fresh when I can. Plan on growing a small herb garden this summer. Fresh herbs are great for salads and light summer dishes.

      • LoriBeninger 5 years ago

        I'm with DarleneN...fresh is best, but not always handy.

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        Fresh is best, but fresh herbs aren't always available, so I used dried herbs, too!

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I use both

      • anonymous 5 years ago

        I use a combo. fresh herbs are not nearly as available as dried.

      • cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

        Grow some of them yourself!

      • jholland 5 years ago

        I use both. I love fresh herbs, but with our long winters we have not had much luck keeping them growing indoors so we need dry as well.

      • Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

        I use both - fresh when in season and dried when not in season. Growing herbs in the house has never worked well for me.

      • KateHonebrink 5 years ago

        Fresh is best, when possible, but sometimes it just can't be done, so dry has to do.

      • Kathleen Hiler 5 years ago from Mountain Home

        i love fresh but not always available.

      Green Kitchen Essential #4: The kitchen scrap pail to catch all your compostables - Turn your food scraps to black gold!

      That's what we gardeners call compost. It's like super vitamins for the soil. Save your scraps for composting in this handsome bucket, and save the planet while you're at it.

      Why compost? Consider this. Here in the U.S., we toss, uneaten, 1/4-1/2 of all the food we produce. According to CNN, it costs us $1 billion a year just to dispose of that waste. Then there's the methane gas that decaying food contributes to global warming. It literally traps 23 times as much heat in the atmosphere as the same quantity of CO2.

      When we had a larger home I kept an old bucket under the sink for collecting kitchen scraps. Now that we live in a city apartment where cupboard and counter space are precious, I have to keep my compost bucket on my work table. A beautiful container is absolutely necessary.

      simplehuman Compost Pail, Stainless Steel
      simplehuman Compost Pail, Stainless Steel

      We have a white ceramic crock now, but if ever it breaks I'm getting this far more handsome--and larger--sleek, stainless steel one. I especially love how the lid hooks over the rim out of the way, and not taking up precious counter space when you're filling the container. See it in action in the short video that follows.

       

      Green Kitchen Essential #5: Containers for your recycling collection - These tall baskets were a gift from a friend

      These tall baskets help us keep our recycling organized -  © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
      These tall baskets help us keep our recycling organized - © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      They're just about exactly the size of a tall Whole Foods paper bag and hold lots of items slated for the recyclers. Before our friend gifted us with these, we kept our recycling in a cardboard box. You can use crates, too, but I'm mighty partial to the stainless steel dual-compartment bin coming up next.

      These tall handmade baskets hold all our recycling
      © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      This sleek 2-container, hands-free bin is even nicer - Use one side for recycling, the other for trash

      If you're tired of ugly plastic tubs and paper bags for your recycling, you may like this handsome bin. It's got two completely separate bins, so you can keep trash in one, recycling in another. Or use the dual bins to help sort your recycling.

      simplehuman Steel Bar Step Trash Can Recycler, Stainless Steel, 48 L / 12.7 Gal
      simplehuman Steel Bar Step Trash Can Recycler, Stainless Steel, 48 L / 12.7 Gal

      It's easy to keep your recycling organized with this sleek, high-volume 2-bin container. The whisper-quiet, extra strong foot bar won't break like plastic ones, if you've got heavy-footed teenagers in the house, and SimpleHuman guarantees it for ten years. What a bargain!

       

      Green Kitchen Essential #6: The highly versatile stainless steel wide-mouth thermos - One of my most-used, greener kitchen must-haves

      Although this 48-ounce bottle comes in might handy for coffee and soup, I use it plenty of other ways. These bottles are the perfect yogurt incubator. Pour your cultured warm milk in, close the lid, and leave it alone for 8-12 hours, depending on how thick you like your yogurt. When it's ready, reserve a few ounces in a sterile jar for the mother, to culture your next batch, then pop the thermos into the fridge as is, or pour the yogurt into a Fido jar so the thermos is ready to use for your next project.

      Thermos 48-Ounce Wide Mouth Stainless-Steel Bottle (Discontinued by Manufacturer)
      Thermos 48-Ounce Wide Mouth Stainless-Steel Bottle (Discontinued by Manufacturer)

      The wide mouth and extra large size of this thermos make it easy to ferment lentils, beans and grains, or to make oatmeal passively overnight. Use it to keep solids or liquids hot or cold. Bonus! Unlike many insulated wide-mouth containers, this one has a convenient pour spout for beverages.

       

      Wake up to hot oatmeal, ready to eat tomorrow morning. Place 1/3 cup uncooked oats in a wide mouth thermos, pour 1 -1/4 C boiling water over, stir gently and cap. In the morning, you'll have hot, creamy oatmeal. Add milk, yogurt, fruit and nuts and enjoy!

      Green Kitchen Essential #7: The indispensable wide-mouth funnel - This one comes with a removable silicon strainer

      If cooks had tool belts like plumbers and carpenters, the greener cook would have a loop for her wide-mouthed funnel. It's so handy! I use mine to pour the bulk grains, cereals, flours and sugars I buy into my Fido jars for storage. I use it again to pour homemade soup stock and leftover soups into jars. When I make homemade granola or tiny crackers, I tilt one corner of the baking sheet into the funnel over the storage jar. So much easier than spooning the goods a bit at a time!

      Norpro Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Funnel with Silicone Strainer
      Norpro Stainless Steel Wide Mouth Funnel with Silicone Strainer

      Mine is just like this, only I got it years before they added the silicon strainer. No more messing with cheesecloth or juggling a strainer over the funnel! Plus, the strainer is removable, so you get two funnels in one.

       

      Green Kitchen Essential #8: Removable labels - Surprised?

      You'll be surprised how much money you will save when you label your leftovers and bulk foods with the date made, opened or purchased. It's so easy to stick these removable labels on your leftovers and other storage containers. When you empty the container, peel 'em off. It's one time I see an advantage to a one-use product.

      Reducing food waste is not only important for the environment, it saves us thousands of dollars a year. These peel-off labels make keeping track of your leftovers and bulk food items a breeze.

      Post-it Super Sticky Removable File Folder Labels, 0.937 x 3.437 Inches, White, 450 per Pack (2100-J)
      Post-it Super Sticky Removable File Folder Labels, 0.937 x 3.437 Inches, White, 450 per Pack (2100-J)

      Tip: Keep a scissors handy and trim the label to just the size you need. "Baked 12/19" uses only half a label, so after I've written my notation, I cut the label in half and save the rest for next time.

       

      Label everything

      Name, rank and serial number. Rather, name, date purchased or cooked, vegetarian, whatever will help you use it timely.

      Soup going in the freezer? Mark the recipe name and date on a label, slap it on the jar or bowl lid and there's no guess work down the line when frost hides the contents.

      Bulk foods in the pantry? Oats, rye flakes, basmati rice, quinoa--everything gets a label. The label tells me what it is and when I bought it. Half used jar of spaghetti sauce? You'll know how fresh it is.

      Green Kitchen Essential #9: Large capacity food processor - Prepare meals and wholesome baked treats fast at home

      One of the best purchases we ever made was our Cuisinart Food Processor. It makes chopping. grating and slicing a breeze. It's great for making hummus on the fly. You can also whip up pie crust dough, quick-rising treats like banana bread and biscuits, and knead yeast breads in it in no time.

      Do you find yourself throwing out lots of dead, limp, moldy produce because you don't have the time or energy to cook when you get home after a busy day? A food processor will change all that.

      Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, Die Cast
      Cuisinart FP-14DC Elite Collection 14-Cup Food Processor, Die Cast

      This stainless steel food processor is a beaut, and it's big enough (14 cups) to do just about anything you'd want to do in a home kitchen. The extra-large feed tube makes chopping and slicing so easy, and it comes with both a small and a large pusher. Includes slicing and shredding discs and one chopping blade, one dough blade.

       

      Homemade hummus is a snap in the food processor

      Red-pepper hummus with crackers © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
      Red-pepper hummus with crackers © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      Use the chopping blade to puree canned or home cooked garbanzo beans, drizzle in olive oil, add your choice of flavorings--fresh squeezed lemon juice and a bit of zest, roasted red peppers, pesto, pitted Greek olives, whatever suits your fancy--salt to taste, and yum!

      Homemade roasted red pepper hummus and crackers
      © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      Green Kitchen Essential #10: The stock pot

      Kale-Potato Soup in my Asta soup kettle - © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved
      Kale-Potato Soup in my Asta soup kettle - © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      The stock pot is one of the most versatile pots any kitchen can have, and it's especially useful in the greener kitchen. Green cooks who take lessons from their grandmothers and great grandmothers know that almost every part of an edible plant or animal is highly nutritious and useful.

      Whether you're cooking for one or two or a family of eight, saving edible food scraps for vegetable stock is not only wise, it will save you money all year long. I freeze any leftover bits or pieces not suitable for a recipe in a 1-1/2 quart bowl. When it's full, I thaw it out and make vegetable stock or soup.

      This is the stock pot that came with my Asta set many years ago
      © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      The mid-priced Calphalon stock pot is good value - In the short run, and long term

      Stock pots are terrific for cooking up batches of jam or jelly, making candy at Christmas time, stewing poultry or making poultry stock, and of course, they are the perfect utensil for making a big pot of soup or chili on a cold winter day. But that's not all.

      Mull cider or wine in your stock pot for a big family gathering, cook up a huge pile of potatoes and mash 'em right in the pot, steam a small pumpkin or large squash. It very likely will become one of your most-used kitchen tools.

      Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 8-Quart Stock Pot with Cover
      Calphalon Tri-Ply Stainless Steel 8-Quart Stock Pot with Cover

      The wider footprint and shorter column of this stock pot make for easier braising and browning. No need to use a separate, more shallow pan for that step! The reviews on this pot are excellent.

       

      Bonus greener kitchen option for ice cream lovers - Stop buying one-use, disposable paper ice cream tubs and make your own ice cream!

      Fruity Nutty Caramel Ice Cream Crunch - Copyright L Kathryn Grace - All Rights reserved
      Fruity Nutty Caramel Ice Cream Crunch - Copyright L Kathryn Grace - All Rights reserved

      We love ice cream in our house so much that I knew we weren't going to give it up any time soon. What to do about all those non-recyclable, plastic-film-lined (Didn't know that? Many are!) one-use paper tubs? I had to find a way to replace them. I researched a lot of homemade ice cream makers and settled on the Cuisinart because it's so easy. The machine makes the ice cream in just 20 minutes. Plus, I know exactly what's in it. No GMOs, no unpronouncable additives. Just plain, wholesome, organic milk, cream, sugar, a pinch of salt, and whatever (also organic) flavorings and goodies I add.

      It's so much fun! You do have to plan ahead a bit. It takes 5-7 minutes to stir up a batch. Then you chill it 1 hour, pop into the ice cream maker, and in 20 minutes, it's done! No more ice cream tubs in our garbage on their way to the landfill!

      Fruity Nutty Caramel Crunch with my kitchen pet--the Cuisinart Ice Cream, Sorbet and Frozen Yogurt Maker
      © L Kathryn Grace - All rights reserved

      Before you buy it new

      See if you can find it used

      Shop thrift stores or Craigslist and Freecycle

      Have you been on the sustainable path for awhile or just getting started?

      How green is your kitchen?

      See results

      Share your green tips and next steps, a stumbling block you can't get around or a solution that worked for you right here. Scan the most recent comments for tips and creative problem-solving ideas. See a sticky problem from another reader? Tell 'em how you solved it.

      What are you doing to green your kitchen? - I'd love to hear about your favorite green steps

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          Kathryn Grace 2 years ago from San Francisco

          @Margaret Schindel: Thank you. Sounds like you are well on your way. Like you, quite often I am more aware of how far I have to go, rather than how far I've come.

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          Margaret Schindel 2 years ago from Massachusetts

          We still have a way to go in greening our kitchen, and I love your suggestions! We do recycle, bring our own cloth bags to the grocery store, buy organic and local as much as possible, and use glass jars for some of our storage. Fabulous and practical information as always!

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @SheGetsCreative: Thank you! I so appreciate your visit, as well as the pin.

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          Angela F 3 years ago from Seattle, WA

          I use recyclable bags, buy bulk and reuse every container I can. Lots of good tips here! Pinned

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @MelanieKaren: I totally agree with you on all counts. Cutting back plastic in our lives has proved to be one of the most difficult "green" challenges on which we've embarked. Everything, absolutely everything, it seems, is encased in plastic one way or the other. Thank you for stopping by.

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          Melanie Wilcox 3 years ago from Pennsylvania, USA

          hi! I also put bulk foods in glass containers, and yes, it does look pretty. -make the food more inviting too. The most current thing of done is hunt down all ways to not buy foods in plastic packaging. This is hard, as most things come in plastic. However, I'm getting there. :) I swear, plastics should have only been left to the medical field for life-saving surgeries and that's it.

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @Diana Wenzel: This is the first comment I've read today, and you already totally made my day. Thank you so much. Thanks for spreading the green on St. Paddy's day, and thanks for the boost.

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          Renaissance Woman 3 years ago from Colorado

          I am greening up my kitchen lately by applying what I learned in Kate Heyhoe's book about reducing my cookprint. Your oatmeal suggestion is a perfect example of passive cooking (something Kate encourages). I am also building a solar oven that I will use for most of my baking. Appreciated all of your greener kitchen tips. I am sharing this lens on my Green Living pages (Facebook and Google+) and have given you a boost.

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @Brite-Ideas: Thank you. You made an already lovely day even better.

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          Barbara Tremblay Cipak 3 years ago from Toronto, Canada

          what a wonderful page, a TON of helpful info here - lots of kids helps eliminate waste because they eat everything and you have no leftovers to worry about! lol - we recycle here regularly - they do garbage pick up every two weeks and recycle pickup every week which forces people to recycle to keep their garages free of too much trash!

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @favored: So glad to meet another greenie here on Squidoo. Do you have any tips to share for eco-friendly holidays? I'd love to hear them, and I'm sure others would too.

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          Felicitas 3 years ago

          I think your green kitchen is not only great for the planet. It makes your home look homier.

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          Fay Favored 3 years ago from USA

          We have been "green" for many, many years now, but I always look for more things we can do.

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          Kathryn Grace 3 years ago from San Francisco

          @Felicitas: Interesting response. I'd love to hear more about that!

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          MaggiePowell 4 years ago

          Great information and tips... Our county has just outlawed plastic bags at the grocery store (wahoo) and it's nice to see people in the community transitioning to bringing their own.

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          Kathryn Grace 4 years ago from San Francisco

          @Heidi Vincent: Your kindness in returning touches me. Thank you!

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          Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

          I squid-liked this lens on a previous occasion. I returned to BLESS it today!

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          Mary Norton 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          I was glad I rad this but one of the things I did consciously lately is to reduce waste so I buy only what we need. Am still far from it but I consciously do so now because of the food I often throw out.

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          Heidi Vincent 4 years ago from GRENADA

          I could do a lot better.

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I think the earth must just love you Kathryn...you care for it wo well and with such a pleasant spirit! First of all...a bag that is still in use after 28 years is amazing, I had to study that picture. Your merry heart in caring for the earth shines here, I enjoyed the black box of your love mentioning the beauty of all your glass storage jars in the cabinet and your product reviews are so inviting..."I'm might partial to the stainless steel dual compartment bin below" made me smile...and I'm smiling right now! Congratulation on a very well deserved Best of Squidoo - Earth Day 2012 honors!

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          Indigo Janson 5 years ago from UK

          Some excellent Earth-friendly ideas here for the kitchen. I recycle and bit by bit I'm becoming greener. Besides, eco products such as canvas bags are more stylish than a lot of the alternatives. :)

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          SteveKaye 5 years ago

          I'm working to inspire respect for nature. I do this by giving talks featuring photos of nature's incredible beauty and by publishing articles on Squidoo. At home, we practice a small footprint lifestyle. It's both easy and economical.

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          Aquavel 5 years ago

          Beautiful and informative lens!

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          SquidooMBA 5 years ago

          I drive a Prius.

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          evaemilie 5 years ago

          Great and informative read! I must try that yoghurt (my husband often time mention I should make yoghurt myself).

          We also love ice cream - especially the little one ;) but we don't eat much because it quite expensive to buy good quality (with a short understandable ingredients list!). Guess it does make sense to have an ice cream machine ...

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          anonymous 5 years ago

          I enjoy walking to the library and the bank! Saves a little gas. Plus I recycyle newspaper and cardboard, glass, and plastics.

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          diamid 5 years ago

          Interesting tips, useful lens. I'm paying so much more attention to wasted space.

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          norma-holt 5 years ago

          Lovely ideas and great lens, Featured on Blessed by Skiesgreen 2012 and also on Earthday and what is wrong with our planet earth. Hugs

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          cynthiannleighton 5 years ago

          Reuse... pass on hand-me-downs, walk, bicycle,... grow.. compost... solar individual outdoor lights, solar water, solar electric, solar lighted house number!

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          jholland 5 years ago

          I work from home, so there is no commute. I try to reduce trips into town, so I combine all my errands when I do have to drive somewhere.

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          Georgene Moizuk Bramlage 5 years ago from southwestern Virginia

          Recycling has become automatic for me. Although composting in my present living arrangement doesn't seem doable, I save coffee grounds for my garden. It's made a great difference in the soil.

        • KateHonebrink profile image

          KateHonebrink 5 years ago

          Recycling is automatic.

        • Kathleen Hiler profile image

          Kathleen Hiler 5 years ago from Mountain Home

          In our town we are able to recycle paper and the like.

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          Author

          Kathryn Grace 5 years ago from San Francisco

          @Auntie-M LM: So true! Thank you for my first big laugh of the day.

        • Deadicated LM profile image

          Deadicated LM 5 years ago

          I never owned a car in all 48 years on this planet; I live in NYC and it's more of a liability than an asset.

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          Auntie-M LM 5 years ago

          Great ideas! Our minister gave a talk on carbon footprint, and how to reduce our own. She said she analyzed her own footprint, discovering that living by herself was her biggest issue. So she said to herself, "Jill, you need a girlfriend!" It got a roaring good laugh, but it is true. The amount of real space we allocate to ourselves is sometimes horrendous.

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          AlphaChic 5 years ago

          This is a great lens. Well thought out and put together with many jewels of info. Thanks for sharing.

        • earthybirthymum profile image

          earthybirthymum 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          Great Lense, we use only glass and stainless for storage. No plastic dishes in our home. It's a lot easier than some people think. Happy Earth Day.

          Cheers

          Grace

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          AlleyCatLane 5 years ago

          Terrific ideas. You really have me thinking.I'll have to try some of these items and recipes.

        • MartieG profile image

          MartieG aka 'survivoryea' 5 years ago from Jersey Shore

          I use the same glass jars to hold my dry food items and they are great! Love the ideas presented here for a greener kitchen! :>)

        • flycatcherrr profile image

          flycatcherrr 5 years ago

          Planning out errands and appointments to minimize the number of car trips into town that are needed - that was a big one for me, living a half-hour's drive from the nearest grocery store - cut the gasoline bill by about 40%, so that's a nice little money saving as well as a good "green" step. . . Wonderful lens you've made, with lots of great suggestions for Earth Day and beyond!

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          click2cause 5 years ago

          I like your lens! We have a green contest going on our site which you can read about on our lens, so I probably shouldn't post one! But I LOVE all the comments I'm reading-green is good! Thanks for a great lens!

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          Mary Norton 5 years ago from Ontario, Canada

          I like the idea of pretty containers to hold recycling. It is hard to go out to the blue box each time.

        • SewIsabel LM profile image

          SewIsabel LM 5 years ago

          This article helped me decide to use more glass than plastic for foodstuffs. When you use plastic to heat up food in a microwave you are heating something highly malleable and probably causing chemicals to seep into the food even if it is PBA free plastic. The plastic is cheaper and readily available and is probably okay for dry foodstuffs. With just a little extra effort and money you can have something better like glass. I am going to try to use glass, and gradually recycle and use the plastic containers I have only for dry food storage.

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          CatJGB 5 years ago

          On 1/8 of an acre we have 4 chooks, a compost bin, a worm farm, a veggie garden and 10 fruit trees in pots. Love to have a rain barrel but that hasn't happened yet.

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          Mainelyhappy 5 years ago

          We vermicompost, compost, and eat locally raised food wherever possible. We keep a fully stocked pantry, grow two big gardens a year, and raise our own poultry and eggs.

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