Easy Eco: Kitchen

Easy Eco_Kitchen

Continuing our journey towards a more eco-friendly life, we move from the laundry room to the kitchen. Whether you spend hours on end slaving away over the stovetop or just pop in for 90 seconds to nuke your cup-o-noodle, there are ways all of us can reduce waste and improve energy efficiency. Let’s start with the biggest kitchen offenders when it comes to energy usage:

The Appliances

Their purpose is to make everyday kitchen usage easier, but at what cost? Larger appliances use up massive amounts of energy, so we’ll explore ways to improve this energy usage efficiency. And while smaller appliances don’t use nearly as much energy, do you really need an electric can opener? Really?

Food for thought: When doing an energy audit in your kitchen, be aware of the placement of your large appliances. The heat coming off your oven and dishwasher could be making your refrigerator work extra hard to stay cool. 

The Dishwasher

FreeImages.com/Andrea Kratzenberg

I’ve been without one of these since 2013, and do I even miss it? YES. SO MUCH. What I wouldn’t do for the ease of tossing dirty dishes into a magical box that returns them all clean and sparkly. While dishwashers might seem like a drain for electricity and water, if you have an Energy Star appliance, running the dishwasher will be more efficient than sink washing. Here are some ways to reduce the eco-footprint of dirty dishes:

 

  • Always, always, always WAIT to run your dishwasher until you have a full load.
  • Look for green dishwashing detergent. You want to narrow your options down to detergents that don’t use petroleum, bleach, or phosphates.
  • Are you one of those people that rinses the food waste off dishes before you put them in the dishwasher? You clean the plates before you put them in the plate cleaner? Stop that. Your dishwasher will wash the dishes.
  • Skip the dry cycle, and let them air-dry on the countertop, or just leave the door ajar.
  • Most dishwashers’ heat settings are cranked up way higher than necessary; adjust the heat setting to save on your next bill.
  • Run the dishwasher at off-peak hours!
Food for Thought: Another easy way to reduce water consumption is to use a faucet aerator. These items are inexpensive, carried in most hardware stores, and have the potential to cut your water usage in half!

 

The Fridge

Fridgid
Pixabay.com/Pexels

The main culprit for energy waste in refrigerators and freezers is empty space. I am guilty of this, big time. I live by myself in a one bedroom apartment, which means my fridge is filled with condiments and cold air. It takes way more energy to keep an empty freezer frozen, than a packed one.

  • To increase energy efficiency, try filling the empty space in your fridge/freezer with water bottles, newspapers, bags of ice, or hit Costco or TJ’s and stock up on frozen foods.
  • Invest in a simple fridge thermometer. This will let you know if the fridge is running too cold or too warm.
  • Clean the coils! Under your refrigerator lies the coils responsible for keeping it cool. Unless you diligently clean under the fridge, you might want to give these guys a scrub. Removing the dust and buildup will make it easier to stay cool.

The Oven

RoastBEAST
Pixabay.com/Domowik

Ovens are great because cookies come out of them. And while cookies are awesome, ovens use a massive amount of energy every time they bake cookies, or cook anything else for that matter. So the easiest way to reduce the eco-footprint of your oven is to reduce use!

 

Food for Thought: Next time you’re using the oven, skip the preheating. Throwing the food into a lukewarm oven a few minutes early won’t spoil the recipe, and will save energy. You can also try turning off the oven a few minutes before cook time is up if you are really looking to save.

 

Look to use other, smaller appliances whenever possible. Microwaves, toaster ovens, slow/pressure cookers, solar ovens, and even barbecues are all more energy efficient ways to cook. Which ties nicely into the next section…

Eco-friendly Cooking Tips

Although it’s seen as a daunting task by many, cooking is something people have to go through on a fairly regular basis. Use these tricks to help conserve energy and reduce waste:

bbq_veggies
Pixabay.com/Greghristov
  • If you have to use the oven, really USE it. Try cooking larger amounts and freezing leftovers to minimize your monthly oven use.
  • Eat those leftovers! Don’t throw them in the fridge or freezer and forget about them. Reheating food uses far less energy than whipping up meals from scratch every time you’re hungry.
  • Invest in a good roasting pan. Quit using disposable foil pans for holidays and family gatherings.
  • Cut foods into smaller pieces. Chicken strips cook way faster than whole birds!
  • Use Residual Heat! Skip the preheating, cut the oven off early, cover pans on the stovetop while cooking, and try turning off the stovetop a little earlier than you usually do.
  • As we said before, avoid the oven and range whenever possible:
    • Want bread? Use the bread maker.
    • Boiling water? Opt for an electric kettle.
    • Cooking Veggies? Try a steamer.
    • Broiling Steaks? Give the grill a go.
    • Grilled Cheese? Have you seen He Got Game?

Now for the Food

Did you know that around 40 percent of food in the United States gets thrown out? Which is outrageous given the current world hunger problems and our own climbing obesity rates  along with the costs of food production. How can you help?

veggies
Pixabay.com/Ruthieprasil
  • Cook from scratch. It’s only as hard as you make it, and cooking from scratch will greatly reduce excess waste from prepackaged meals. Plus, Mother Earth isn’t the only one who’ll benefit from cutting back on overly-processed foods (looking at you, waistline).
  • Meatless Mondays! Try to reduce your meat intake. The detrimental environmental effects of livestock have been well documented, so try sprucing things up with a salad. Yes, the food your food eats.
  • Shop Local and Organic. Skip buying produce from the big name stores, and hit the farmer’s market. Organics are grown without pesticides, and local means less energy used to get the produce from the farm to you.
  • Get a Costco Card. Buy in bulk and freeze what you don’t need. Milk, cheese, meat, fruits and veggies can all be frozen, and buying in bulk means less packaging.
  • Start a garden. If gardening is your thing, go big and feed the neighborhood! If you struggle to keep your fake plants alive, try a small herb garden. Gardening-curious? Set up a few planters and try growing your favorite veggies.
Food for Thought: So you overdid it on the gardening, and now you have more produce than you (and your neighbors) can eat. No problem, try canning. No time to can? Local food banks are always in need of fresh produce.

 

And Everything Else

  • Ditch Disposables! Our single-use, uber-convenient lifestyles are the main culprit behind our bloated landfills and plastic-filled oceans. This means look for ways to avoid using:
    • Disposable cleaning wipes. Use eco-friendly cleaning spray and an old cloth towel or t-shirt.
      plasticcutlery
      Pixabay.com/Hans
    • Plastic Water Bottles. Get a reusable metal one (w/ a filter if tap isn’t your jam), and refill it throughout the day.
    • Paper Napkins/Towels. Opt for reusable cloth. It’ll trim a few dollars off the grocery bill, and the environment will thank you.
    • Paper Plates, Bowls, Cups, etc. So convenient! But scrap ’em if you can.
    • Paper or Plastic? Do you not have reusable grocery bags yet? Come on, it’s 2017.
    • Pack Lunches? Try a nice insulated lunch box, and give the paper-bag-a-day habit a rest.
Food for Thought: Throwing some flowers in a vase is a great way to add some color to any room in your house. Try adding a splash of vodka to the water next time, it’ll make the flowers last longer!

 

You don’t have to do everything on this list, but implementing even just a couple of these tricks is a great way to start reducing your eco-footprint. Look for our next installment where we’ll be looking at eco-friendly beauty/personal care products.

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Night & Day K-Series/P-Series

Spices Bed Rails

Dual System Headboards • Works with both K-Series and P-Series Rails •
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K-Series P-Series
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New “Dual System Headboards”

We are in the process of changing many of our headboards to be both “K Series” and “P Series” capable. The headboards will have both sets of holes for using either way. The new headboards will be marked “Dual System Headboard” on the boxes. This process will take time for all sizes and finishes to be available and will be gradual, as the new versions come in and the old version get depleted. We are telling you now so that you can be aware of what the “Dual System Headboard” terminology means when you see it on the box or in our catalog. The list of headboards that will be switched to the new “Dual System” are listed below. Of course, you will need to order the correct rails and footboards depending on whether the customer wants “K” or “P” Series. The new “K Series” height allows for the use of the bigger bunk bed drawers and/or trundle and “K Series” footboards already have the privacy panel built in. We are also making the Folding Footboard Bench Footboard “Dual System”. If you need one of the new items to be “Dual System” (for “K Series”), you will need to specifically request it until all old versions are gone, to make sure you get the new version.

Spices Bed Rails & Accessories Compatibility

 K-Series RailsP-Series Rails
Dual-System Headboard Matching Accessories Matching Accessories
Blackpepper Bed Dual-Systemtick
  • K-Series Basic Footboard
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
tick
  • P-Series Basic Footboard
  • Footboard Panel
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Chameleon Bed Dual-System
Nutmeg Bed Dual-System
Rosemary Dual-System
Solstice Bed Dual-System
Tamarind Bed Dual-System
Folding Footboard Bench Dual-System Footboardtick
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
tick
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
 
 K-Series RailsP-Series Rails
Other Spices Headboards Matching Accessories Matching Accessories
Basic Footboard (P-Series) To form a Basic Bedcross tick
  • Footboard Panel
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Coriander Bedcross tick
  • P-Series Basic Footboard
  • Footboard Panel
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
Saffron Bed
Thyme Bed
Laurel Bedcross tick
  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
K-Series Basic Footboard To form a Basic Bedtick
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
cross 
Jasmine Bedtick
  • K-Series Basic Footboard
  • Folding Footboard Bench
  • Cinnamon Drawers
  • Cinnamon Trundle Bed
cross 
Sandpiper Bed
Vanilla Bed
Ginger Captain’s Bedtick
  • Rolling Bucket Drawers
  • Captain’s Trundle Bed
cross 
Carmel BedcrossNote: Carmel Bed has its own matching rails.

  • Premium Collection Futon Drawers
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