Green Kitchens

Turning our kitchens green – no matter what color they are

Should you include a waste disposal in your kitchen? June 25, 2008

Filed under: appliances,design,recycling,saving energy,Three R's,Using the kitchen — kevwilliams @ 12:11 pm

Waste disposals (garburators, waste disposers) have pros and cons. Not everyone needs or wants one.


  • easy disposal of food waste
  • no bad smelling garbage or compost container
  • waste containers can be smaller

Note: properly managed compost and garbage containers don’t have to smell.


  • take up space in the sink cabinet
  • can be noisy
  • can get jammed by or damage items which go into the disposer by mistake
  • another appliance to go wrong and get serviced
  • food wastes add a high load to the sewage system (some areas do not allow disposals for this reason)
  • may overload septic systems
  • can smell (need to have citrus fruit or chemicals run through them to prevent this)
  • can clog and need plumbing disassembled to fix
  • uses a lot of water, which you or your local utility pays for

Because I compost most of my food waste, I don’t feel any need for a disposer. But more generally, I believe they waste electricity, water, soil fertility and sewage disposal capacity for very little return in convenience. In fact if I moved into a house with one already installed, I’d probably take it out!

Agree/disagree? let me know!


The Three R’s in the Kitchen: RE-USE June 1, 2008

Filed under: Three R's,Using the kitchen — kevwilliams @ 5:42 pm

There are many ways to re-use stuff in the kitchen. If you don’t know many, talk to your grandmother 🙂

One basic idea is to replace disposables with re-usables.

Paper towels: use cloths, rags (especially re-used worn out clothing like t-shirts), newspapers

Saran Wrap: use long-lived food storage boxes (Tupperware etc), and glass containers to store food, elasticized plastic “shower-cap” type lids to cover containers (they can be washed and reused multiple times), scraps of washed and reused poly bags if you need to lay plastic directly on top of a food to keep out air.

Aluminum foil: as above for food storage uses. Foil can be washed and re-used itself when you really must use it as in covering something in the oven (although consider using a lidded cooking container instead!)

Disposable plates, cups, flatware etc: obviously, use regular dishes and flatware instead and wash them.

More ideas? Add them in the comments!


The Three R’s in the Kitchen: RECYCLE

Filed under: Three R's,Using the kitchen — kevwilliams @ 5:28 pm

The kitchen produces a large proportion of our household waste, but it’s also a great candidate for reducing it.

Recycling options differ depending on your location. What’s available in your town or city? Check with your local government what can be recycled locally, and if pickup services exist. There will be rules as to what’s acceptable, and in what condition (labels or not, cleanliness etc). Take this seriously – putting the wrong things in your bin doesn’t just contaminate your load, but the truckload it’s added to.

I find I need to have a pretty big bin for plastics, but small for metal and glass. That’s more of a comment on food manufacturers moving from glass and metal over to plastic than much to do with me, although I eat very little canned food.

One very important category of “stuff” to recycle is food scraps. Composting in the kitchen sometimes gets a bad rap for being smelly, but it doesn’t need to be. Use a container which doesn’t absorb smells (stainless steel or other metal is good), with a tight-fitting lid, and empty it frequently. Worm composting is a great year-round solution, too. A hole or chute in the counter which goes directly to the composting bucket (indoors or out) is great in theory but in practice it’s hard to make it smell-proof, bug-proof, critter-proof and easily cleanable.

Comments? How do you recycle in your kitchen?