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The Five Steps You Can Take Toward a Greener Kitchen

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kitchen-by-walkinggeek-via-flickr

When we think about going green at home, our mind naturally wanders toward the kitchen.

And why not? After all, your kitchen arguably represents the most important room in your house. This is especially true considering that it’s often one of the first places potential buyers want to see, combined with the fact that it’s where we spend a good chunk of our time through cooking and cleaning.

Going green represents an investment in your home: likewise, there are so many potential environmental improvements to make in the kitchen, it’s almost overwhelming to figure out where to get started. Take a step back and think about the changes you can make in the kitchen to go green over time versus all at once.


The following improvements vary in size and scope; however, each one is essentially for a more environmentally friendly living space.

Start with the Stove

Energy efficiently and your stove go hand-in-hand. The great debate buying a gas range stove versus electric is a fierce one; however, the fact remains that any modern model will be more efficient than something from the 1970’s.

Considering that gas stoves allow for more control over cooking temperature, they’re preferable for ease for their ease of use. On the flip side, electric stoves are generally pricier but obviously you don’t have to worry about nitrogen dioxide emissions in such models.


Either way, an upgrade of either type of stove is preferable to an outdated model. Additionally, a new stove will ultimately make your home more attractive to buyers when it’s time to sell.

High Efficiency Appliances

The hype surrounding high efficiency appliances is impossible to deny. From refrigerators to microwaves and beyond, it’s tempting to want to deck out our kitchen to high efficiency models. Instead of going for a full revamp of your appliances for the sake of a cheaper power bill, consider buying a new piece every few months to transform your kitchen over time.

Stainless Steel vs. Non-Stick Surfaces

To avoid Teflon and any potentially hazardous chemicals in your kitchen, perhaps it’s time to invest in some stainless steel cookware. Such cookware is cost effective and will stand the test of time versus non-stick surfaces which tend to degrade over the years.

Change Up Your Cuisine

Conventional wisdom tells us that greener eating in the kitchen requires splashing tons of cash at Whole Foods on organic items. That being said, the term “organic”  often used as a marketing tool and only USDA-certified foods can truly boast the label. Likewise, you can give yourself peace of mind simply by buying raw, non-processed foods (such as fruits and vegetables) rather than blowing out your budget at a specialty supermarket.

Greener Cleaning

We naturally want to avoid contaminants in our food; unfortunately, many modhomern cleaning products contain harmful chemicals that should most definitely be kept away from our mouths. There are plenty of  homemade cleaning solutions you can make with household items which can both keep money in your pocket and make your cleaning efforts much greener.

Giving your kitchen a makeover in pursuit of a green home takes time. Consider which investments matter most and make sense for your budget and simply start there.

Environment

Want to Connect With Nature? Start by Disconnecting From Busyness

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Connect With Nature

Have you ever found yourself staring at one of your (many) devices and feeling slightly disgusted with how much time you waste on technology? If so, you aren’t alone. We all have moments like these and it’s important that we use them as motivation to change – especially if we want to be more connected with nature.

How Busyness Impacts Your Connection With Nature

Whether you realize it or not, you live an ultra connected life. Between smart phones, tablets, computers, and wearable devices, you’re never very far from some sort of technology that can connect you to the internet or put you in touch with other people. That’s just the world we live in.


While it could be argued that this sort of omnipresent connectivity is a positive thing, it’s also pretty clear that being permanently tethered to technology impacts our ability to strip away distractions and connect with nature.

When you’re always within arm’s reach of a device, you feel a sense of busyness.  Whether it’s browsing your social media feed, uploading a picture, reading the news, or responding to an email, there’s always something to do. As someone who wants to spend more time in nature, this is problematic.

4 Practical Ways to Disconnect

If you want to truly connect with nature and live a greener lifestyle, you have to be proactive about finding ways to disconnect. Here are a few practical suggestions:

1. Switch to a New Phone Plan

It’s not always practical to totally unplug from the world. Family and work responsibilities mean you can’t go off the grid and continue to fulfill your responsibilities. Having said that, there are some ways to scale back.


One suggestion is to switch to a prepaid phone plan. When you have a prepaid phone plan, you’re far less likely to spend hours and hours of your time making phone calls, sending texts, and surfing the web. It forces you to be more conscious of what you’re doing.

2. Get Rid of Social Media

Social media is one of the biggest time wasters for most people. Whether you realize it or not, it’s also a huge stressor. You’re constantly being exposed to the best snapshots of everyone else’s lives, which makes you feel like you’re missing out on something (even when you aren’t).

If you want to feel a sense of relief and free yourself up to spend more time in nature, get rid of social media. Don’t just delete the apps off your phone – actually disable your accounts. It’s a bold, yet necessary step.

3. Create Quiet Hours

If you aren’t able to get rid of social media and disable various online accounts, the next best thing you can do is establish quiet hours each day where you totally detach from technology. You should do this for a minimum of three hours per day for best results.

4. Build Community

Do you know why we’re drawn to social media and our devices? Whether consciously or subconsciously, it’s because we all want to be connected to other people. But do you know what’s better than connecting with people online? Connecting with them in person.

As you build real life, person-to-person relationships, you’ll feel less of a need to constantly have your eyes glued to a screen. Connect with other people who have an appreciation for nature and bond over your mutual interests.

Untether Your Life

If you find yourself constantly connected to a device, then this is probably a clear indicator that you aren’t living your best life. You certainly aren’t enjoying any sort of meaningful connection with nature. Now’s as good a time as any to untether your life and explore what a world free from cords, screens, and batteries is really like.

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Environment

6 Tips for an Eco-Friendly Move

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Moving can be a stressful and challenging time. No matter how many times you’ve done it in the past, the process of packing up, transporting, and unpacking isn’t very fun. It’s also not very eco-friendly. As you prepare for your next move, there are things you can do to ensure you leave less of a footprint behind.

6 Tips for a Greener Move

Because of the stress and pressure felt when moving, it’s pretty common for people to rush through the process and focus on getting it done. In fact, a lot of people take an “at all costs” approach; they’ll do whatever it takes to make the process as cheap and fast as possible. Don’t be one of those people. It doesn’t take much effort to turn a standard move into an eco-friendly move.


1. Maximize Each Trip

When moving across town, it’s imperative that you make as few trips as possible. Each trip requires more gas, more emissions, and more waste, and more time.

If you’re taking your personal vehicle, consider pulling a trailer behind it. You’d be surprised how much stuff you can fit into a small trailer. Not only will it make your move greener, but it’ll also save you a lot of time.

2. Donate Things You Don’t Want to Keep

The longer you live somewhere, the more junk you accumulate. This isn’t always obvious until you start packing for a big move. Instead of bringing all of these things with you to your next home, get rid of the stuff you don’t need! If the items are useful, donate them. If the items don’t have much value, toss them.

3. Reuse Moving Boxes

Not only are moving boxes expensive, but they’re also wasteful. If you need a bunch of cardboard boxes, consider looking around on Craigslist, asking friends, or checking the dumpsters behind stores. You can usually find a bunch of recycled boxes of all different shapes and sizes. Here are 12 places you can get them for free.


4. Get Creative With Packing

Who says you need moving boxes? You may find that it’s possible to do most of your move without all that cardboard. Things like storage containers, trashcans, filing cabinets, buckets, and dressers can all store items. Blankets and sheets can be used in lieu of bubble wrap to prevent your items from getting damaged.

5. Use Green Cleaning Supplies

Once you arrive at your new place, resist the urge to pull out a bunch of harsh chemicals to clean the place. You can do yourself (and the planet) a favor by using green cleaning supplies instead. Ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and ammonia are great to start with.

6. Forward Your Mail ASAP

Don’t delay in forwarding your mail from your previous address to your new one. Not only is it wasteful for the Postal Service to route your mail to a place where you don’t live, but the next owner is probably just going to toss your letters in the trash.

Moving Doesn’t Have to be Wasteful

Most people only move once every few years. Some people will go a decade or more without a move. As a result, the process of moving often feels strange and new. The less experience you have with it, the less likely it is that you’ll be as efficient as you should. But instead of just diving into the process blind, take some time to learn about what an eco-friendly move looks like. That way, you can leave behind the smallest footprint possible.

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