If you’re thinking about revamping your kitchen this year, there’s more to consider than just the practicalities and style. The modern kitchen also needs to be eco-conscious in both its initial design and its day-to-day usage.
You may worry that factoring this into your plans sounds like a lot of work when you could just buy a set of ‘off-the-shelf’ cabinets, but a few quick tips and tricks can go a long way.
One of the major negative environmental factors is the huge impact of manufacturing new goods. A vast amount of fuel is needed for the production process, and buying new usually results in more waste going to landfills.
Luckily, vintage looks can be easily up-cycled to create a stylish retro vibe in your home, and classic wooden cottage-style units offer a cosy traditional aesthetic, which will never go out of fashion.
Consider whether you even need to replace your old units at all, or whether a quick coat of paint and some new fixtures might be all you need to spruce it up and make it look brand new again.
Choose ethically sourced
If you can’t find a second-hand option that suits your needs, there are many companies that specialise in sustainable design and eco-friendly practices. Mert Yashar at House of Worktops says,
It’s important to us to operate ethically and sustainably. Operating at a zero-waste policy and currently working on running entirely on 100% green electricity is a core goal for us.
Alternative materials make for an environmentally friendly choice when designing your new kitchen such as:
- Reclaimed timber
As a natural product, wood will also biodegrade, resulting in minimal impact on the environment.
One of the best ways to reduce your carbon footprint is to buy from local independent retailers. Larger chains tend to have vast import and export networks, often flying products in from overseas factories or employing long-haul lorry haulage.
By supporting a smaller independent design house, you’ll also get a much more personal bespoke service, as well as a unique kitchen tailor-made to your needs.
Choose energy-efficient appliances
Whilst second-hand units are great for the environment, the same can’t always be said of second-hand appliances. Older appliances tend not to be as energy-efficient as their modern counterparts, and as technology advances, the eco-friendly benefits of new appliances are at the front of everyone’s minds.
The UK is just starting to bring in new legislation around the labelling of these kinds of products, so make sure you double-check the energy efficient rating before you invest. If you’re not sure where to start, it’s worth checking out the company’s Ethical Company Index Score to see where their values align with yours.
Consider the day-to-day
We all use our kitchens differently, so don’t feel pressured into making design choices that won’t actually benefit your lifestyle.
If you have a large family – you’ll probably want a dishwasher, so look for one with a high energy efficiency rating; whereas if you live alone, it’s likely to be more environmentally friendly to just wash up by hand (just make sure you fill the sink rather than use running water!)
For those of you with a garden – it’s worth looking into composting your food waste and using it to keep your garden looking fresh, or growing your own vegetables. There are plenty of stylish kitchen-top compost bins available, and by choosing one which matches the rest of your crockery and utensils, it won’t look ugly or out of place.
Kitchens can often appear cluttered with the myriad of different appliances and foodstuffs that you like to keep handy for regular use. Choose glass or stainless steel storage jars and utensils rather than plastic, and invest in a complete matching set that will look great on display.
These days, there’s an eco-friendly alternative for just about everything, and we should all be doing our bit in the battle against climate change. A little bit of research and a few small changes can make a big difference in your journey towards a greener lifestyle.
There’s no need to do everything at once, but making environmentally friendly design choices in your home is a great place to start.