Create an eco-friendly kitchen

Did you know your kitchen is probably one of the greatest sources of energy consumption in your entire home.

🕑 7 minutes read

Family preparing food in kitchen

With energy prices rising, you might be looking for ways to cut your costs and saving energy. The kitchen is one of the best places to start, as some of the top five energy consuming appliances can be found here.

Wet appliances in the kitchen account for about 14% of your total energy bill. That’s the washing machine, dishwasher and the sink, all of which require water and energy to heat it up. Fridges and freezers make up about 13%. Then there’s lighting and electricity and the way you cook your food.

Source: Energy Saving Trust

So, if you’re trying to reduce your home’s carbon footprint (not to mention your monthly bills), we’ve got five ways to help you make your kitchen more eco-friendly.

1. Try some oven alternatives

Winter calls for warm and cosy meals. But if you want to cut down on your oven usage to save on costs, there are plenty of options. One-pot meals are quick and easy to put together and often mean you’re not using both the hob and the oven. In fact, cooking one meal in the slow cooker could save you money because an average-sized slow cooker uses only 1.3 kWh per meal cooked, which is less than 1p per hour on the average energy tariff.

Source: Uswitch

Did you know that microwaves are more cost-effective to run than an oven? That’s because they’re not heating up the air around your food as an oven does. There are many different kinds of microwaves you can get, including those that grill, roast and defrost.

Then, for all those times that you do use the oven, you make the most of all the lovely warm air it’s created by leaving the door open or ajar. That way, it’s heating your home as it cools.

In the summer months, you could mix thing up by cooking meals on outdoor barbecues and grills. There are plenty of sustainable, long-lasting ones that can offer an energy-efficient addition to your outdoor space.

2. Stop washing your energy down the drain

If you dread doing the dishes, then we have some good news. It’s actually more energy efficient to pop them in the dishwasher.

A standard load on a modern dishwasher uses between 10 and 14 litres. That sounds like a lot, but the average amount of water down the sink from hand washing is up to 60 litres. So a dishwasher could save you a lot of water. They also are coming out more energy-efficient than hand washing, especially modern models. Dishwashers can wash more in a single load, as well as reduce your water and energy usage.

Source: Consumer Council for Water, Cleanipedia

So, all in all, by giving your hands a rest from soapy suds and reducing your dishwasher use by one run per week, you could save £17 a year.

Source: Energy Saving Trust

3. Become a conscious shopper

A lot of plastic waste in the kitchen comes from food packaging. UK households throw away nearly 2.5 million tonnes of plastic packaging a year, contributing to the heavy cost of plastic waste on our planet.

Source: House of Commons Library

When you start to shop consciously, you can cut down on single-use plastics. 

Start by discovering if there are any plastic-free shops in your local area. These are places you can visit and bring your own containers, glass jars and cardboard boxes to fill up and re-fill. Because you’re not being charged for expensive packaging, these shops can also work out cheaper.

Gone are the days when these were few and far between. Over the last decade, the majority of supermarkets have made an effort to distance themselves from single-use plastic and many now host refill stations and plastic-free options.

Source: Grocery Gazette

4. Consider what your kitchen is made of

If you’re thinking of making home improvements, don’t miss your opportunity to make your kitchen more eco-friendly.

When it comes to building cabinets and work surfaces, don’t settle for non-recyclable MDF.

Instead, look for sustainable, FSC-certified timber. Not only is it better for the environment, you can find plenty of lovely styles – and you can even get that ‘real wood’ smell in your kitchen.

These types of wood are easy to find at most major retailers. And if you’re looking to go even further, why not shop around for other sustainable materials too? Keep an eye out for recycled glass, metal and perhaps even whole fittings on Facebook Marketplace, eBay and in your local community. Choosing a second-hand cabinet is far cheaper and much better for the environment.

5. Remember, little things go a long way

There are all sorts of other little changes you can make around the kitchen to make it an eco-friendly part of your home.

Making conscious choices when storing your food can make a difference. Reusable food wrap like beeswax covers or soy wax vegan-friendly wax wraps is one way to replace clingfilm. Not only is it better for the environment and can help to cut down kitchen waste, but they can be a cheaper option too. These reusable wraps will last about a year.

Why not make the switch to eco-friendly cleaning products? From compostable sponges and cleaning cloths to ecological cleaning chemicals, and even bin bags made with recycled plastic, there are all sorts of environmentally friendly options out there.

With just a few small switches, you can have a greener and more energy-efficient kitchen.

Updated June 2023