|Green Living: Green in the Kitchen
Shopping better, eating better and reducing food waste are all big parts of going green. Check it out:
Try the Farmer's Market. Most towns or neighborhoods host weekly farmer's markets where local growers sell everything from fruits and vegetables to honey and popcorn. Locally grown food is often cheaper, healthier and better tasting. Buying it can help the environment because it uses less energy than food trucked in from across the country.
Try organic. Organic food is grown without harmful chemical fertilizers, weed killers or bug killers. It's healthier for your body and for our soil and water, too.
Skip the packaging. Try to buy foods from the bulk sections, rather than food bundled in plastic or cardboard packages. It'll mean less waste in your landfill.
Kill the plastic bag. Disposable plastic bags are a big problem worldwide: they fill up landfills, blow all around, and collect water that helps breed malaria mosquitoes. Bring reusable bags every time you shop. If you forget, choose paper instead of plastic and then re-use or recycle the paper bags when you get home. If you do end up with plastic bags at home, check to see if you can recycle them through your community's curbside program.
Cut down on bottled water. Bottled water is expensive and unnecessary. Tap water is safe to drink in most American communities. In fact, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) requires tap water to be disinfected and tested for parasites-but does not apply those rules to bottled water! Buy a couple of cool reusable bottles and fill them up whenever you head out of the house and want to stay hydrated. If you have any doubts about your local tap water, you can buy home water filtration systems that go under your sink, on a faucet, or in a pitcher. Bottled water means billions of plastic bottles and lots of wasted energy trucking them to stores.
Eat less meat. Lean meat is a good source of protein and can be part of a healthy diet. But raising and processing meat also takes tons of energy and may contribute to pollution problems. If it's safe for your diet, try reducing your intake of meats and upping your fruits and veggies. Be green by eating your greens!
Grow your own. Developing your green thumb can help you lead a green life. Get a family member to help you plant a vegetable garden in your yard. It's a fun activity and can help cut your grocery bills too. You don't even need much space-even a few pots are enough to grow herbs or cherry tomatoes.
Cook smaller portions. Every year, we throw away enough food to feed millions of people! Keep track of how much leftover food you have during a single week, then see if you and your family can reduce that amount the next week by preparing less food to begin with.
Composting is a fun and fascinating way to turn that kitchen and lawn stuff into something everybody needs: good fertilizer. The idea is simple. Take almost everything you don't eat, like banana peels, carrot tops, potato peels, and lawn and garden clippings (grass, dead flowers, etc.), put it into a compost bin, and let it rot. Worms and bugs take over the work by breaking down all the organic matter and turning it into warm, rich compost that you can add to your garden soil.
Composting is a good idea because:
It reduces waste. If something goes into a compost bin and ends up back in the soil, it means it doesn't end up in a landfill-which means we have more space in the landfill for other types of garbage.
It helps make more food. Adding compost to a garden makes the soil better, which leads to more and better food.
It improves air quality. When organic matter like food and plant scraps end up in a landfill, they can turn into methane, a gas that pollutes the air. When it is turned into compost and added to a garden, that same stuff helps plants make oxygen, which we all need to breathe. So-less bad gas and more good gas!