Indoor composters, water efficient taps, smart refrigerators: investing in new furniture can be a great opportunity for you to introduce zero waste measures in your kitchen. And the best part is that environmental awareness doesn’t exclude elegant, aesthetic and comfortable design solutions. On the contrary: sustainable solutions in the kitchen these days tend to follow the latest trends! We talked to zero waste consultant Andi Tóth, writer of Throw your trash can out! - A guide to a zero waste life.
Absolutely, as a green or zero waste kitchen demands certain spatial arrangements. A few examples: you will definitely need a recycle bin with 2 or 3 containers, and if we don’t have a garden or a big balcony, then we’ll have to put an indoor composter somewhere around the sink as well for all the organic waste. Don’t worry, with indoor composting you don’t have to give up on a stylish look for your kitchen, as a number of elegantly sealed, beautiful composters are available on the market. If there’s no pantry in your home, and you’re thinking about a zero waste lifestyle, then you’ll need space for all the glass or metal containers, and you’ll need to keep them in an easy-to-access manner. I, for example, started out with neatly putting my glass containers next to each other on a shelf, but it wasn’t very practical after a while. Learning from my personal mistake, I’d recommend deep cabinets for these containers, making it much easier to reach and scan through. Putting them away in the cabinet also means that they won’t get dusty while they’re not in use.
For a zero waste household you need to think about introducing natural materials to your kitchen. A very good - and environmentally friendly - choice would be hardwood, which is top quality, extremely durable and can be renewed with some polish every once in a while, extending its lifespan. For the countertop you could try using wood or even bamboo. The main thing to keep in mind is to avoid anything that contains plastic, so that it won’t be an environmental burden when you move on from your old kitchen. The location of materials is also a factor: if you have the opportunity, aim for domestic or European products.
Products made of recycled materials, such as PET bottles are a neat idea, but they are only a part of the solution: bear in mind that, according to a zero waste policy, recycled waste is still waste. If I had to design a brand new kitchen for myself, I would definitely go for good quality natural materials, even if it’s a more expensive solution.
Coming from a sustainable point of view, a dishwasher is one of the best appliances you can invest in - even if it runs on electricity. Water-efficient sinks and taps are also recommended, as a sealable sink is a great way to wash your dishes in an efficient and environmentally friendly way. For kitchen lights, go for task lights in the first place: install low-powered LED lights or other energy efficient light above the countertop, induction hob or dining table. If you can design your kitchen so that the stove gets next to the kitchen window, you can entirely give up on a kitchen hood. Small, electric kitchen appliances definitely need extra thought: if you really need a certain appliance for your kitchen work, go for brands and products that promise a long, guaranteed lifespan, as these usually come with premium efficiency, which in turn works towards extending the time the appliance will end up as waste.
A smart refrigerator can make our lives so much easier, especially if you learn how to use it the most efficient way. It keeps track of your ingredients thanks to the built-in cameras and the application that comes with it; inside temperature can be easily set remotely, the fridge notifies us when food and ingredients expire, etc. With a smart refrigerator, food waste can be greatly reduced in your home. Deep-frying is not only a huge burden to the environment, but it’s also extremely unhealthy. Waste oil is very hazardous to fresh waters when we get rid of it by pouring it into the sink. On the other hand, disposing of waste oil in the proper, environmentally aware manner can be difficult, as you need time to collect it, take it to a special waste oil collection - it’s understandable if you can’t deal with this any time. So, you should invest in technologies and equipment that help you cook delicious and healthy dishes with the least - or even zero! - amount of oil. One thing I’d like to add here is that the more electric equipment you have in your home, the more reasons you have to install solar batteries!
Visit the Budapest Arena between February 28 and March 1 and explore the essential elements of a sustainable and environmentally aware kitchen at the Kitchen Show 2020! Hungary’s only kitchen exhibition will bring you never-before-seen innovations, design ideas, products and solutions. Walk through the world of the latest trends and kitchen appliances, take part in our free kitchen design consultancies, talk to professionals about your dream kitchen and witness wonderful cooking moments at the main stage!