With the current focus on ecology, recycling and carbon-reduction it’s not surprising that green issues have entered the kitchen.
There are two main areas of interest, the first concerns the use of materials and methods when renovating a kitchen, the second is about aiding recycling in the kitchen on a day-to-day basis.
Recycling While Renovating
If you’re embarking on a kitchen renovation project then you can take out some of the ecological impact by reusing and recycling materials.
You might find that you can give yourself a new look by just refurbishing the kitchen you have, and that will stop the old one going in the landfill. Or, if you have to replace the units, perhaps they could be used in a shed or garage rather than being thrown away.
There are other options that fall between complete replacement and just a repaint job. You can revitalise the kitchen by replacing the doors and drawer fronts and there are a number of companies who provide this service.
There are others who will re-skin worktops, so that you don’t have to throw the whole lot away, just get a new surface on top of the old one. These reuse options also have the advantage that they are usually cheaper than replacement.
Reuse or Recycle in the Kitchen Before Replacing
Look for recycled materials to reuse in the kitchen too, such as reclaimed flooring rather than wood laminate. If it’s not possible to find what you want in a recycled product, try instead to use something that’s made from a renewable source, avoiding plastics and other composite materials that will take centuries to break down in landfill.
Recycling in the Kitchen
When it comes to recycling in the kitchen itself, the main thing is to make it easy for the whole household to recycle. Having different bins for different types of waste is the first step, as waste that isn’t separated at source is far less likely to be recycled later on in the waste process than recyclable products that are all jumbled in with each other.
To help people with recycling many manufacturers now make bins that have different compartments which facilitate this waste separation before recycling. Some are freestanding and others fit into kitchen cabinets or are suspended from cabinet doors.
Composting – the Ultimate in Recycling
It’s also well worth considering composting vegetable waste. A large proportion of the household waste that goes into landfill every year is material that would happily decompose and provide excellent compost for gardens. There’s no better recycling method than that.
Small compost boxes for can be bought for the kitchen, with smell-proof lids, and you can easily drop vegetable peelings and other organic matter into them. They can then be taken out to a compost heap or bin later on.
Recycling Vegetable Matter When You Don’t Have a Garden
If you don’t have a compost bin you can get one from a garden centre or your local authority or even make one by recycling transport pallets. If you don’t have a garden there are self-contained compost systems for the kitchen which will deliver a liquid plant feed that can be used for house plants.
If you don’t have a garden or any house plants then consider composting and giving it away to people who do, even if it’s just to keep your kitchen green and the pressure off the landfill sites.