Sustainable Earth Day Kitchen Swaps

As we honor the planet this Earth Day 2022, we often think of big ways to impact climate change like using renewable sources of energy, making our homes more energy-efficient, driving a fuel-efficient vehicle, and reducing water waste.  But many small changes that begin in the kitchen can also have a big impact on global warming over time. 

Being careful to not let purchased food go to waste is not only good for the pocketbook, less food waste cuts down on the energy used to grow, process, package, and ship food while keeping it out of the landfill.  Eating more meat and dairy-free meals can also help lower greenhouse gas emissions.  Now that Spring has arrived, it is also easier to try and choose fruits and vegetables that are local and in season to reduce transportation emissions. 

Using energy-efficient appliances in the kitchen, composting food waste, and eliminating single-use plastics and paper products are money savers that help keep waste plastics and paper out of landfills and water systems.  Single-use plastic waste creates pollution that doesn’t really break down over time, but rather breaks up into smaller microplastics that can endanger wildlife.  Chemicals in plastics can also affect human reproduction and lead to some cancers. 

Recycling is good, but many small items like plastic straws, bags, or cutlery don’t get recycled because they are too small for the machines used to shred plastics.  By reusing cloth bags for shopping and food storage; silicone lids rather than plastic wrap or washable or compostable kitchen cloths, your home can be an earth-friendly oasis.  

Need a sustainable, seasonal side dish for a weekend gathering?  Here is a recipe for Shaved Asparagus Salad taken from the Vegetable Kingdom cookbook by James-Beard Award-winning chef Bryant Terry.   Asparagus is in season in April and May and pairs beautifully with lemon and pepper.