A big roadblock to staying green
in the kitchen
is the amount of trash we generate. The amount of packaging that surrounds grocery products can overflow even the largest kitchen waste can in no time flat. How often do you have to empty your kitchen trash
In my home we have a conservative five gallon can that sits out in the open next to the fridge. Our friends can't even find it because they're always looking for something much larger. They marvel that we don't fill it at least two or three times a day. But we've learned a few household hacks for the kitchen that have allowed us to reduce our waste considerably. By doing this throughout the house, we only need the garbage company to come once a month for our one alley can (but they still charge for the whole month!)
One source of waste for a lot of kitchens is quick and easy comfort food such as microwave popcorn. Imagine all that packaging just for one snack--the box, the plastic around the bag, the bag itself that is so gross it has no other use than to be thrown away. The chemicals for flavoring and "freshness" can't be good for us, or the environment
If you don't have space for one of those very cool electric air poppers, a healthy, green
, DIY solution to microwave popcorn packaging is to make your own reusable packaging and use plain bulk popcorn; you can buy various colors in bulk from a health food store or just grab the under-a-buck one to two pound bag of the yellow stuff at your favorite mega-mart. Grab some brown paper lunch bags while you're at it. Oh yeah, and don't forget to stock up on staples (yeah, the metal kind)!
Dump a third of a cup scoop of popcorn kernels into a standard paper lunch bag. Fold over twice (so they don't escape) and fasten with two staples at least 2-3 inches apart. Wait! Stop! Metal in the microwave!?
Yup. As long as you place the staples the requisite two to three inches apart, the wavelength of the microwaves is too long to hit one staple twice and too short to hit both of them at the same time--meaning your staples won't heat up any faster than the bag.
Put in the microwave and start for a 2-3 minute run (our microwave takes more like 4-5 minutes) and then listen. Remove when the pops have slowed down to five seconds apart. Pop out the staples (a staple remover stored next to the microwave is handy for popcorn lovers). Dump into your favorite munchy bowl and drizzle with melted butter or spritz with olive oil for a healthier alternative (with an exotic Mediterranean flavor). Sprinkle with salt (I like Kosher), sugar, parmesan cheese, whatever floats your boat.
The bag can be reused until it's so riddled with holes the staples don't do their job anymore. If you don't mind humiliating your child you can send lunch to school in what remains of the bag. A better alternative would be to run it through your shredder and add it to your compost pile. I first learned this hack from TV food guru Alton Brown's book I'm Just Here for the Food
That's just one example. See what else you can do to eliminate waste and excessive packaging in the kitchen. It's a first step in going green.
Also, don't forget DIY Life's video on how to make pop-corn
the old fashioned way.