Photo by Lauren Mitchell

Going green means different things to different people. To me, it’s the intersection between eco-friendly, frugal and simple living, where there’s less waste and more appreciation for the simple things in life.

Some aspects of “going green” can feel complicated and overwhelming, like learning about natural and herbal remedies, but today I’m going to share 5 ways to go green in your kitchen without a lot of effort:

Eliminate Paper Products

Use cloth napkins instead of paper napkins, rags instead of paper towels, traditional dishes instead of paper and so on. By eliminating disposable paper products, you’ll cut down on your trash, reduce your impact on the environment and save money in the process!

Cook Seasonally

No, I don’t mean cook the food that’s in season (while that’s certainly true, it doesn’t necessarily qualifyas a simple step in my book). Instead, I mean prepare your food according to the season. Use the oven in the winter, when the excess heat will help heat your home, but stick to the crockpot or outdoor grilling in the summer to reduce the strain on your a/c.

Get Rid of the Plastic

Optimize for Pyrex storage containers instead of plastic ones, and use glass jars for storage, drinking and more. Even kids can use glass as long as they know to FREEZE if something breaks. But in my experience, kids are less likely to break something than mom is!

Avoid Triclosan

We often hear about the dangers of ecoli and salmonella, but what you don’t hear about as often is the danger of antibacterial soaps that contain triclosan. Not only does triclosan contribute to super bugs that are antibiotic-resistant, but it is also a hormone disruptor. Vinegar and hydrogen peroxide are equally as effective on counters and other surfaces, and the key to cleaning hands is just good handwashing techniques!

Make It From Scratch

I am continuously surprised by how easy it is to make things from scratch that I’ve always bought in the past. With the advent of the internet, you can find recipes for everything from salad dressing and other condiments to pancake mix and taco seasoning. Not only will you have more control over the ingredients and preservatives in your food, but you’ll also save money in the process.

Recycle

The kitchen is one of the biggest sources of trash in our home, but a lot of that trash can be recycled — cardboard boxes, plastic containers, glass jars, aluminum cans and more. Pay attention to what’s going into your trashcan and see what you could recycle instead. Similarly, composting is an easy way to eliminate food waste from ending up inside plastic bags in landfills. However, composting is a science of its own, so I’m not sure that really falls under easy changes either!

What other easy steps have you taken to go green in your kitchen?

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