Christmas is a very special time of year. It’s a time for friends and family, it’s a time for indulgence, and it’s a time to think of the planet.
You don’t have to be a Scrooge, or even make huge changes, in order to be more eco-friendly over the holiday season. In fact, one of the best places to make a difference is with your kitchen – after all it’s the heart of the home and food plays a very big part in these festive celebrations.
Here’s how you can reduce your kitchen’s carbon emissions this Christmas:
What to eat!
Small changes can make a very big difference and when we say small, we mean small.
Making slight changes to your Christmas dinner can have a significant impact on your carbon footprint. For example buying local, organic meat is a lot better than going to the supermarket and picking up meat that’s had to travel miles to get there.
It isn’t just organic and local that will make a difference – you’ll reduce your carbon footprint by choosing turkey over lamb, beef or salmon but choosing chicken or a vegetable dinner will cut your carbon even more.
Here’s a chart that will show you exactly what kind of carbon footprint your dinner may have (from Treehugger).
Grow your own veg!
This isn’t for everyone, but if you’ve got the time and you happen to have a green thumb then this is a great way to reduce your emissions. Not only will this give you lovely fresh vegetables and herbs, but they’ll be organic and they’re definitely locally sourced!
However, don’t worry if you haven’t got time to grow everything; the easier option is to simply buy organic and locally grown produce for your Christmas dinner.
Use seasonal ingredients
Buying local is a great way to have a greener Christmas, but it also means that you’re likely to have far more interesting dishes.
For example, using winter vegetables like mushrooms, broad beans and squash make excellent side dishes or vegetarian mains and can all be grown locally over the winter.
Compost any waste
If for some reason you can’t finish everything on your plate then be sure not to throw it away! There’s always plenty for leftovers for Boxing Day and then turkey sandwiches to last a week or so, and when you can’t take another bite of a Christmas dish then why not give it away? There is a food sharing revolution happening right now, helping surplus food to be shared instead of wasted!
However, if you left it too late and it’s started to go bad then make sure that you compost it rather than putting it in the bin.
Have you been nagging for a new fridge, freezer and cooker for Christmas? No? Me either… umm… that must have been… someone else.
Changing your kitchen appliances to A, A+, A++ or A+++ (seriously, how far can they go until they redefine what an A is?) can save you a huge amount of money to run every year. On top of that, there’s massive energy savings to be made so it really is a win, win.
What’s more, if you’re with Good Energy then the electricity and gas you use to cook your Christmas dinner will be matched with our 100% renewable electricity and carbon neutral Green Gas. That’s not just great for the planet, it should make whatever you choose to cook taste at least five times better*
*This is, sadly, not true. We’d like to think that it could make a difference but it probably won’t.
Microwave instead of oven cook
Did you know that popping stuff in the microwave instead of putting it in the oven can cut your energy usage by as much as 80%? While that’s probably not much good for your turkey, it’s brilliant for quickly steaming vegetables and even baking potatoes.
Keep a lid on it
If you’re too traditional to use a microwave to steam your vegetables (and who can blame you, really!) then make sure you keep your pots and pans covered when boiling veg, potatoes, pasta and anything else that needs boiling.
This will keep in the heat which means that you can use less energy both on the hob and the extractor fan.
Plus, when the veg is cooked through you can use the water to make your gravy – this trick is guaranteed* to make everyone in the house worship your cooking expertise.
*Unfortunately this isn’t true either, but it worked for my Nan.
Switch your cleaning products
It isn’t just your carbon footprint you should be worried about. Many kitchen cleaners contain harmful chemicals which can hurt the ecosystem around you. Swapping over to eco-friendly kitchen cleaning products is a great way to make your home greener and can have a significantly smaller carbon footprint. Here’s one great way to clean your kitchen using nothing but natural ingredients:
Turn to LED lighting
While this could be a tip for the whole house, making the change in your kitchen is just as important. An LED light typically uses around 90% less energy than an equivalent incandescent or halogen bulb – if that sounds like a lot, it’s because it is! That means changing to LED won’t just cut your carbon footprint but it could have a significant impact on your electricity bill as well.
Use Renewable Electricity
It goes without saying, one of the best ways to have a more eco-friendly kitchen is to ensure that everything is powered by renewable electricity. At Good Energy we source our 100% renewable electricity from right here in the UK, with power from the sun, wind and rain.