Here are some tips from EcoMedia for going green in your kitchen, which in turn could help you save money and stay healthy.
Cut your fridge's energy use - Set your refrigerator temperature at 38 to 42 degrees Fahrenheit; your freezer should be set between zero and five degrees Fahrenheit. Don't open the refrigerator door any longer than you need to. This keeps the temperature cool inside. Use the power-save switch if your fridge has one, and make sure the door seals tightly. You can check this by making sure that a dollar bill closed in between the door gaskets is difficult to pull out. If it slides easily between the gaskets, replace them. Also make sure there is good air circulation around the coils at the back of your fridge and no heating vents are nearby. Lack of circulation and nearby heating vents can lower the refrigerator's temperature, which can result in wasted energy.
Think about your diet - Replace beef and pork with poultry to lower your carbon footprint and save money too. Replacing the protein you get from beef with poultry can save you an average of .75 tons (or 1,555 pounds) of CO2 emissions annually. For comparison's sake, if the average American were to go entirely vegetarian, they would save one and a half tons of CO2 emissions annually. Poultry products are also often cheaper than beef, including many Certified Humane and USDA organic poultry options. But your biggest savings will come from cooking your own food and reducing takeout and restaurant meals.
Use your oven more efficiently - The way you use an appliance can change the amount of energy it wastes. Make sure your oven gasket is tight, and resist the urge to open the oven door to peek, as each opening can reduce the oven temperature 25 degrees. Preheat only as much as needed, and avoid placing foil on racks. Your food won't cook as quickly.
Use water wisely in the kitchen - Water is wasted more quickly than you might think. An open faucet lets about five gallons of water flow every two minutes. In the kitchen, you can save between 10 and 20 gallons of water a day by running the dishwasher only when it's full. You can save up to 30 percent more water by running a full load in your dishwasher than if you wash all the dishes by hand with the tap running. Save yourself money and time and use your dishwasher. You don't even need to rinse dishes before loading them, just scrape any scraps into your compost. (Most dishwashers are now built to remove any food residues and pre-rinsing can waste as much as 20 gallons per load). If you do need to wash dishes by hand, fill the sink or a dishpan with water, rather than running the tap continuously as you scrub. Choose nontoxic alternatives to household cleaners with harsh chemicals. You can use baking soda, for example, to deodorize drains, clean countertops and polish stainless steel. Learn more about which chemicals are safe to use in your home with the NRDC Chemical Index.
Don't pour chemicals down the drain - When you dump paint, oil, harsh cleansers and other hazardous products down the drain, they can find their way into nearby bodies of water. Contact your local sanitation, public works or environmental health department to find out about hazardous waste collection days and sites.
The content above was provided by EcoMedia - A CBS Company.
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