Ten tips for more sustainability in the kitchen

Conserving natural resources and being aware of our environment is becoming more urgent all the time. A sustainable lifestyle is good for our environment and, therefore, future generations. As the heart of our personal living space, our kitchen offers a great deal of room and a few possibilities for a sustainable and environmentally friendly design. But sustainability in the kitchen means more than relying on environmentally friendly kitchen gadgets and energy-saving methods. There are some other aspects that play an important role when setting up a sustainable kitchen. The following 10 tips will teach you what those are and what they can do specifically to bring sustainability into your kitchen.

Why sustainability in the kitchen can make a big difference


Kitchen tables and counters are often the centre of our home. We spend a lot of time there. We eat, cook, do homework, read the paper, play games, do crafts, celebrate, and spend time together. Our kitchen is a place in which we do a lot of living – but unfortunately, a lot of wasting as well.

Cooking creates a lot of waste and uses a lot of water, electricity, and plastic. To reduce the high environmental impact and conserve valuable resources, the topic of sustainability in the kitchen is becoming more and more significant.

If you set up your kitchen for sustainability

  • you automatically shrink your ecological footprint,
  • you save money by doing a few simple things,
  • you can use the valuable time you've saved for other things
  • and feel good because you've made our planet a little bit better.
Sustainability begins in the kitchen. The following 10 tips will help you configure your kitchen to be more environmentally friendly and conserve more resources.

Tip 1: Use local, seasonal ingredients

Fresh fruit and vegetables from your region are highly recommended for a healthy, sustainable diet.

The shorter the distance the food has to travel, the better for the environment. For example, lower transport costs are incurred for regional products and less packaging is needed. Expensive manufacturing, disposal, and recycling of packaging can be avoided. For one thing, this conserve the environment. For another, regional products usually feature a significantly better carbon footprint.

And as far as taste is concerned, regional, seasonal vegetables frequently get higher marks. This is because products from the region can fully ripen and don't have to take a long trip in an unripe state. So fill your refrigerator and cupboard with ripe, delicious food, instead of hard varieties with less taste.


Tip 2: Avoiding waste through targeted planning and storage

Avoiding trash is directly connected with sustainability. Buy only what you can actually store to avoid unnecessary disposal. Purposeful shopping and menu planning and keeping a shopping list will help you buy only what you can truly and fully use.

And if something's left over, the internet offers numerous recipe ideas to use up the remaining food. Also keep in mind that some articles cannot be used for long after their expiry date. Judge these not so much by their expiry date, but how they look and smell.

And how you store your food also plays an important role. Replace plastic wrap and aluminium foil with a lunch box or a glass container. These can be washed and used again.

Organic waste is another important aspect of a sustainable kitchen: Some people pack their organic waste in plastic bags before throwing them in the container. A fatal decision, because the fact is that these cannot rot and must be removed in the composting facility. So switch to paper bags or, ideally, dispose of your compost with no packaging.

Tip 3: Select sustainable kitchen utensils

Sustainable kitchen utensils are utensils that are manufactured from environmentally friendly materials and designed to last a long time and produce as little waste as possible.

The following materials are especially good for sustainable kitchen utensils:

  • Wood
  • Bamboo
  • Stainless steel
  • Glass
  • Beeswax
  • Silicon

By using sustainable kitchen utensils, you can do your part to reduce waste and protect the environment.


Tip 4: Use energy-saving devices and renewable sources of energy

A sustainable kitchen should be designed to use as little energy as possible and use renewable sources to cover its energy needs. Here are a few possibilities for how you can design your kitchen to be more energy efficient:

  • Energy-saving devices: Use energy-saving devices such as induction hobs, cooling and freezing devices with a higher energy efficiency class, and water-saving dishwashers to reduce energy consumption in the kitchen.
  • Renewable energy sources: Use renewable energy sources, such as solar energy or wind energy, to supply your kitchen with electricity. Install solar panels on the roof of your house, or purchase green electricity from a provider that uses renewable energy sources.
  • LED lighting: Use energy-efficient LED lighting in your kitchen to reduce your energy consumption.
  • Insulation: Make sure your kitchen is well insulated to reduce energy consumption when heating and cooling it.
  • Cooking habits: Use cooking methods that use little energy, such as steaming or cooking on a stove with a low setting.
  • Composting: Compost your organic waste from the kitchen to reduce waste and fertilise your garden or plants.

If you use energy-saving devices and renewable sources of energy and try to use sustainable cooking methods, you can design your kitchen to be more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly.

Indicators for an environmentally friendly kitchen device:

  • High energy efficiency classes A and B
  • Durability
  • Eco- programmes
  • Recyclable materials
  • Efficient insulation
  • Smart controls via an app
  • Production runs with green energy

Tip 5: Use ecologically degradable cleansers

A sustainable kitchen should also be cleaned with ecologically degradable cleansers to reduce the environmental impact. These are a few examples of ecologically degradable cleansers:

  • Vinegar is an effective cleanser that can be used in many areas of the kitchen. Mix vinegar and water and use it as an all-purpose cleanser or a cleanser for windows and mirrors.
  • Lemon juice is a natural bleach and can be used to remove stains and discolouration. Mix lemon juice and water and use it as a cleanser for the kitchen workspaces or to neutralise odours.
  • Baking powder can be used as an abrasive to remove greasy deposits or encrustations. Mix baking powder with water and use it to clean the oven or scour pots and pans.
  • Baking soda can be used to neutralise odours and can help remove odours from the kitchen. Sprinkle some baking soda on the bottom of your refrigerator or trash can to remove unpleasant odours.
  • Essential oils can be used as fragrances to create a pleasant atmosphere in the kitchen. Add a few drops of essential oils to your homemade cleanser to create a fresh scent.
  • Organic cleansers: There are also special organic cleansers on the market that are produced from natural ingredients and are biodegradable. When you buy cleansers, pay attention to the ingredients and choose products that are environmentally friendly.

Tip 6: Avoid plastic packaging and containers

A sustainable kitchen should avoid plastic to reduce its environmental impact.

Ideally, you should dispense with plastic containers entirely in favour of stainless steel and glass containers to store food in or help take it with you. Such containers last a long time and can be used again and again.

And reusable tote bags are an excellent material of choice for avoiding plastic bags. You can also use reusable bags made of mesh (a net-like material) to store fruit and vegetables in.

Beeswax food wraps are well suited for packaging or covering food, instead of using plastic or aluminium foil. They are reusable and biodegradable, making them an excellent and sustainable replacement.

Avoid disposable plastic bottles and use reusable ones made of glass or stainless steel instead. There are also reusable water bottles made of BPA-free plastic on the market.

Tip 7: Save water during cooking and washing

Water is a valuable resource that we use, among other things, to prepare food and clean up in the kitchen.

The following 5 tips can help you save water in your kitchen:

  • Use the dishwasher: A dishwasher can be more efficient than washing dishes by hand and can save water.
  • Use a water-saving faucet: A water-saving faucet can reduce water use by up to 50 percent.
  • Avoid unnecessary washing: Wash the dishes only if really necessary, and avoid unnecessary washing.
  • Use a bucket for cleaning: Use a bucket to catch the rinse water instead of letting it run out. The water you’ve caught can be used for other purposes.
  • Always use a lid when cooking: A lid on a pot or pan can help reduce water consumption when cooking.
In this article you can read in more detail about ‘Saving water when cooking’.

Tip 8: Plant an herb garden in your kitchen or on your balcony

Having your own herb garden on your balcony or in your kitchen not only has the advantage that you always have your favourite herbs on hand and save money. Herbs that you plant yourself usually taste more intense and are free of pesticides and other substances, so they're often healthier for you.

Having your own herb garden can also help reduce your environmental impact, since no packaging, transport routes, or chemical substances are needed for storing the herbs.

As a whole, having your own herb garden has many advantages, from freshness and healthiness to sustainability, diversity, and relaxation during the planting. It's a great opportunity to enrich your sustainable kitchen and connect with nature.

Tip 9: Rely on sustainable kitchen furniture and kitchen designs

Sustainable kitchen furniture is normally produced from environmentally friendly materials that need less energy and fewer resources. This reduces the environmental impact and minimises the carbon footprint.

They are normally free of contaminants such as formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and other harmful chemicals. In this way, you can help improve the quality of the indoor air and create a healthy living climate.

And sustainable kitchen furniture is often produced from high-end materials that last longer and are less susceptible to damage or wear and tear. This reduces the necessity of replacing the furniture frequently, which in turn reduces the environmental impact.

Moreover, sustainable kitchen furniture is often offered in appealing designs and styles that are both functional and aesthetically pleasing. This makes them a good opportunity for combining environmentally friendly and attractive furniture.

Sustainable kitchen furniture is definitely a smart choice that can help reduce environmental impact, create healthier living conditions, increase useful life, and offer stylish, attractive furniture.


Tip 10: Support the companies that aim for sustainable products

 ‘Sustainable companies’ refers to companies that act responsibly and in an environmentally friendly manner regarding the quality of life for today's and future generations. There are many sustainable companies in Europe that concentrate on various sectors and business areas. A few of these also support you in bringing sustainability into your kitchen, such as these three:

  1. Unilever (produces food and beverages and manufactures household and body care products)
  2. Interface (manufactures sustainable carpeting and flooring)
  3. Ecover (manufactures environmentally friendly detergents and cleaners)

And we’ve been concerned with sustainability for a long time. Learn more about it here. 

These are only a few examples of sustainable companies in Europe. There are many other companies that promote sustainability and social responsibility and offer products and services that reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of life.

sustainability begins in your own kitchen

Sustainability in the kitchen is an important topic to which there are many aspects. A sustainable kitchen can help lower your ecological footprint, conserve resources, and minimise your environmental impact.

Among other things, a sustainable kitchen includes
  • the use of energy-saving devices,
  • the use of renewable energy sources,
  • the avoidance of plastic
  • and the use of biodegradable cleansers.

And planting your own herbs and vegetables and buying regional and seasonal products contribute to sustainability in the kitchen. There are a few environmentally conscious companies that promote sustainability and social responsibility and offer products and services that reduce environmental impact and improve the quality of life.

Everyone can help create a sustainable kitchen and therefore have a positive influence on the environment and the future.


Further sources on the topic of ‘sustainability in the kitchen’

If you would like to delve deeper into the topic of ‘sustainability in the kitchen’ and make your eating habits more sustainable, we recommend the following 3 sources to give you that knowledge:
  1. Our Nolte Blog Here we regularly give you current information and tips on how you can make your kitchen and habits more sustainable.
  2. ‘Nachhaltig kochen und essen’ by Petra Wenzel and Monika Götze This book gives you practical tips for sustainable preparation of mealtimes and when shopping for food and presents sustainable kitchen utensils and cleansers.
  3. ‘Green Kitchen at Home’ by David Frenkiel and Luise Vindahl This book contains recipes for healthy, sustainable mealtimes based on seasonal and regional ingredients. It offers tips on sustainable kitchen organisation and avoiding food waste.
We wish you enjoyment and success in designing your sustainable kitchen!
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