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Sustainable Kitchen: Starting the SHIFT

5 Mins read

Our motto is not about achieving perfection. But about small SHIFTS by making smarter choices. No one is perfectly sustainable, and that’s totally okay. A whole bunch of us making small SHIFTS can make a true impact! 

Here are a few tips, that can help you build a more sustainable kitchen:

  1. Buy what you need: On average, the kitchen generates the most waste of any room in your house; for one of the main reasons, look no further at the excessive packaging on supermarket shelves. Prepare a meal plan for the week before shopping. Trust us, you really don’t need all that packaged food. Opt to buy fresh produce. This not only helps reduce all that packaging waste, but it helps save you that extra buck, and is so much healthier for your family!
  1. Use what you already have: Check your fridge and cupboards regularly, to best utilize what you have. Use your leftover vegetables in soups, or a pot of pasta. Or use your leftover fruits to make delicious smoothies or freeze them! 
  1. Repurpose food: Broccoli stems and other vegetable leftovers can be used to making vegetable stock. You can add leftovers to dishes like frittatas! So simple and yummy! Or ground coffee remains can be used to make a lovely body scrub.
  1. Compost: This is so easy and so good to feed all your plants. It’s a great organic replacement for fertilizers. Check out our detailed post on composting for beginners. Trust us, it’s really not that difficult! (Composting in your apartment: A-Z of composting from making compost to using it – Add composting article link here).
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Our favorites are these Gobble composters that are easy to use, compact for apartments and they come with a manual, along with all things required for composting like microbes, cocopeat & gloves!

  1. Buy eco-friendly kitchen cleaners: Toss aside any harsh, chemical-laden cleaners and use eco-friendly cleaning products instead. Look out for eco-friendly cleaners that are chemical free, and are not harsh on your hands. Some of these come in refillable glass bottles, or paper packaging, so you end up avoiding so much plastic waste! Also, your pantry has baking soda, distilled white vinegar and lemon juice, get creative and they can be great home cleaning solutions! 
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Our top recommendations are these all natural, biodegradable products by a UAE local, woman run company called The Botanist. They come in glass bottles and are kind to your hands and your health.

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And what’s better than a handmade, natural dish soap bar and other eco-friendly kitchen cleaning supplies that comes in minimal packaging!

  1. Store correctly: Many people are unsure of how to store their fruits and vegetables correctly. This can lead to premature ripening. Vegetables and fruits that produce ethylene should be kept away from other ethylene sensitive produce, while some vegetables should be stored at room temperatures. 
  1. Refillable staples : This helps you avoid so much unrequired plastic waste. A lot of super markets like Carrefour have that option. You can use paper bags, or better carry your own containers to avoid that nasty plastic packaging waste. 
  1. Packaging : Use re-usable sandwich bags, steel tiffins and glass containers to store all your food items. You can also choose between beeswax bags & silicon bags, great for on-the-go snacking. And to cover your containers use silicon lids & bees wax covers. These are a great alternative to all that single use plastic cellophane. 
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Here’s our pick! These bees wax products come in such fun prints, who says being eco-friendly can’t be stylish?

  1. Use water saving tap heads: This is one of the most simple SHIFTS you can make in your kitchen. Readily available and costs a small buck. This can help save so much water, without you even knowing it! 
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Water Saving Tap Heads By Neoperl
  1. Grow your own: Build a small kitchen garden, or pot some herbs and microgreens. Consume fresh and organic! Once you start, you’ll never stop. The joy of knowing exactly what you’re consuming is something else. Start small, experiment, and there’s no looking back! 
  1. Shop Local: When you shop local, you’re making a personal investment in your neighbourhood and community. When we buy from independent, locally owned businesses, rather than national chains, a significantly greater portion of our money is then cycled back through our local economy. Also,  locally owned businesses make more local purchases — requiring less transportation — and set up shop in town or city centres which generally means less sprawl, congestion, habitat loss, and pollution. Try shopping local food produce too! You don’t want your vegetables being transported all the way from another country, that too laced in a lot of packaging and plastic. 
  1. Bulk it up: First benefit – bulk buying is way cheaper. Not only that, you prevent so much packaging waste, and it means fewer trips to the supermarket. A true smart choice! 
  1. Carry re-usable bags: We all have that space tucked away in our house reserved for unwanted plastic bags. Yes, they may come in handy, but that causes so much waste that doesn’t disintegrate for over 500 years! The average person uses a plastic bag for only 12 minutes before discarding it and an estimated 500 billion to 1 trillion plastic bags are used each year, ending up in oceans, soils, animals, and rivers. This is one SHIFT that can truly help our environment tremendously. Just keep re-usable bags in your car, or a foldable one in your bag so you don’t forget to carry them! 

Mix it up with these bags made from recycled plastic bottles by Risaeco. Produce bags and foldable grocery bags that are so easy and compact to carry, that grocery shopping without plastic bags couldn’t get easier!

  1. Opt for organic & fair trade products: Organic products means lesser fewer pesticides, water conservation, better soil health, and healthier farmers.  Choose organic fruits and vegetables that are locally produced. Good for your gut and our planet. Fair trade is a simple way to make a difference to the lives of the people who grow things we love. It’s about better prices, decent working conditions, local sustainability, and fair terms of trade for farmers and workers in the developing world. Fair, isn’t it?
  1. Choose water filtration systems: Drinking home filtered water is not only beneficial for the environment, but also for your family. It prevents so much plastic waste that would have been disposed off after one use, and would rot in our landfills and oceans for years. Not only that, plastic and BPA toxins from the plastic bottles can leech into your water which can cause a lot of health hazards like cancer and kidney damage. Not only does bottled water absorb some of the chemical compounds in the plastic bottle, but recent studies suggest that that plastic itself can be present in the water consumers drink. In fact, a WHO study found that in 93% of popular bottled water brands tested the water contained plastic fibres.

Shift Eco’s Picks: Permatech’s solutions that can be easily fitted to give clean water in a faucet!

With minimal changes to the way you shop, cook and consume food will help reduce your impact on the environment. While this may be a long list, start small by making one SHIFT at a time. One change, once, and there will be no going back. Imagine the lifelong positive impact that would have?

You’re not alone. Share your experiences, tips, tricks; post your questions or even challenge what we’ve written! Let’s build an eco-conscious community together!

Happy SHIFTING!
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