Falls Church, VA — There’s a color sweeping the nation…and it’s green! Many people are beginning to understand the impact, or carbon footprint, that their lifestyle choices make on the planet. As a result, they’re starting to seek ways to reduce their impact. One way they can do so is by turning their attention to their kitchens and tweaking what products they use in there.
“The good news is that [changes made in the way people use their kitchens and to what products are used there don’t] have to break the bank. People don’t have to do a 180º overnight. Making small changes here and there can add up to big results, over time,” says Chef Paul F. Magnant, dean of culinary at Stratford University, here.
Here are a few tips from Chef Magnant to help you start greening your kitchen:
* Start with what you bring into the kitchen. Buy as much food that is locally produced as you can so that fuel isn’t wasted trucking it to you. And forgo the paper-or-plastic debate by sticking to reusable bags you take to the store.
* Skip the disposables. Whether it’s for a picnic or a party, opt for utensils, dishes and bakeware that can be reused to save on resources. Invest in a set of cloth napkins, and turn old sheets, towels or clothing into rags for cleaning by cutting them into small pieces.
* Keep it going. Stick a wicker basket in your kitchen to contain all of the items destined for recycling. Once the day is over or the basket is full, just take it to the larger bins to be sorted.
* Recycling saves a lot of items from heading to landfills, and reduces the amount of garbage at your curb each week. You can also reuse your raw vegetable left-overs and scraps by setting up a composting system and using the collected matter in your garden.
* Drink home water. Skip buying the bottles of water and invest in a water-filtration device for your kitchen. You’ll save a lot of money in the end and will avoid adding to the water-bottle problem our country faces.
* Clean green. Save money by using natural cleaning supplies and keep unnecessary chemicals out of the environment at the same time. Take a spray bottle and put equal parts water and distilled vinegar in it; this can be used as an all-purpose cleaner for everything from counters to sinks.
* Think big. When it’s time to buy new appliances, opt for ones that are energy-efficient by specifically looking for the ENERGY STAR endorsement. ENERGY STAR is a government-backed initiative that ensures you’re buying an energy-efficient product. Bigger isn’t always better, especially if you don’t need the extra room. Smaller appliances will shave money off your bill each year.
“Nobody is going to make all these changes overnight,” adds Magnant. “But making a couple each year will have your kitchen as green as can be before you know it. We what save, saves us!”
Stratford University’s culinary arts program offers several degrees, including concentrations in baking and pastry, as well as advanced culinary arts. The school also offers non-degree public one-day culinary courses covering such topics as beginner baking, knife skills, vegetarian cooking and cake decorating, as well as parent-and-child cooking.