Money (and Waste) Savers in the Kitchen

Being at home, I have reclaimed my love for the kitchen and cooking my own meals.
My university food is great, but there’s something special about knowing what is going into the food on your plate. As a striving environmentalist and economical human, these are three things that I have embedded into my family kitchen.

1. Have planted herbs in your garden/windowsill.

Instead of buying bagged herbs on a weekly basis, consider purchasing a potted herb plant – basil, thyme, mint – at a local grocery store or Home Depot-like store. Making an initial purchase of a potted herb will save you money from making additional purchases of bagged herbs, and will also save extra plastic your kitchen garbage.
Having planted herbs adds greenery to your kitchen space, making it more visible than leaving them in your refrigerator drawer.
Simple changes will allow you to make fewer grocery stops for herbs, and will allow you to have fresh basil right at the tip of your hands.
Enjoy the smell and the greenery these plants will provide – both in your kitchen and in your wallet.

2. Have a sink tub.

Sounds weird, but this will save you money from your monthly water bill.
Purchase a plastic tub that will fit your kitchen sink, and use that as a space to store dirty kitchenware. Use your plastic tub as a reservoir for any water collected when washing hands, washing produce, and cooking.
Having a temporary reservoir for dirty water will save you drained water later when you are trying to scrub off greasy oils from tonight’s pasta pot.
Instead of pouring the boiling water from the pasta, pour it into the tub, and let your kitchen utensils sit in the tub while you enjoy your dinner.
Although there is dirty water in the tub, as long as there is dish soap or a dishwasher used later, there is no concern about bacteria residue.
For those who see it counter-intuitive to reuse dirty water and then use a dishwasher, I understand. But I also see value in conserving water where it is practical and applicable, and if I can save the extra water before using a dishwasher, I see that as important.

3. Get rid of those paper towels.

I don’t get paper towels in kitchens.
Ever since I was little, and even when I lived in Japan, there have always been cloth towels in my kitchen, never paper.
When I moved to America with my family, I was confused as to why people used paper in kitchens. I slowly became to accept it for blotting oils from food, but I still don’t get why continuous use of paper towels are a thing. Can someone please explain?
Replacing paper to cloth is a savior to reducing kitchen waste. How many times a day do you tear off a paper towel, wipe your counter or face once, and then toss it out?
Sure, you might recycle, but most of it gets sorted to trash – and wind up in the landfill.
Instead, consider adding more cloth towels to your counters and kitchen hooks.
Add warmth to your kitchen and laundry load by picking up colorful towels from a local thrift store, instead of adding white non-reusable paper to your kitchen garbage.

Little steps make a big difference. You don’t need to rearrange your whole lifestyle to conserve money, energy, and waste. Reduce your footprint, and instead make a better imprint and influence on other people’s lives.
I believe our small changes and this community can inspire others to be more thoughtful about their choices.

With love, Monet.

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