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 What Can I Do?

Posted on Wednesday, Feb. 10, 2010

This Month's 'What Can I Do?' Highlights Ideas to Make Your Kitchen More Sustainable

Reduce Cooking is one of the most waste-generating activities you can do, but there are ways to cut your trips to the dumpster. Sling a reusable cloth rag over your shoulder instead of wadding up paper towels. Buy ingredients that you'll use often - like eggs, milk, and butter - in bulk and don't throw any containers out until you've used the contents completely. If those containers can't be reused or recycled, fill them up with trash before throwing them away. Empty space is just wasted space.

Reuse There are plenty of ways to reuse kitchen tools and supplies. Buy used appliances, dishes, or other kitchen goods at a yard sale or from web sites like freecycle.com. Don't go to the grocery store empty-handed: bring reusable shopping bags to cut down on those plastic bags that always get shoved in a drawer. Try to avoid those one-time-use containers by investing in reusable tupperware for leftovers. Finally, make sure your kitchen harbors no fugitive disposable silverware, plates, or cups. If you must, use them up and toss them for good.

Recycle Some of the recyclable items around your kitchen may surprise you. Aerosol cans can be recycled if you remove the cap and the label. So can bottle caps, can tabs, steel coffee cans and the tops of pizza boxes (because the greasy bottoms can't be processed). Empty propane tanks can be recycled at hazardous waste facilities. And don't forget the basics: plastics cardboard, and all glass bottles. Different recycling programs accept different plastic numbers, so check to see what applies to you.

Respect When planning to cook, make choices that show respect for where your ingredients originated. Consider buying humane animal products, like free-range chicken or cage-free eggs. Check out a nearby farmers' market for local and organic food choices. Consult the Eat Well Guide to find sustainable restaurants, farmers' markets, and even local vendors of a certain ingredient.

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