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7 Easy Green Habits to Adopt While Cooking

Want to reduce waste in the kitchen? Start by adopting these sustainable habits while cooking.

Written by
Riley Baker
Picture this: You're in your kitchen with a recipe in hand and are ready to whip up a delicious meal. While your focus is likely on getting that dish on the table as quickly as possible, there's something else to consider—the environmental impact of your cooking process.
Every step toward sustainability counts, including those you take in the kitchen. By incorporating sustainability into your cooking routine, you can easily reduce your
carbon footprint
and contribute to a healthier planet.
If you're not sure where to get started, keep reading for practical and actionable habits you can seamlessly integrate into your process.

7 Habits That Make Cooking More Eco-Friendly

1. Compost on the Go

Keep a small
compost bin
on your kitchen countertop. As you cook, collect
food scraps
(like fruit and vegetable peels and eggshells) and toss them into your bin instead of the trash. These scraps can be
easily composted
to create nutrient-rich soil for your garden or houseplants.

2. Use Every Bit of Ingredients

As you prepare your ingredients, make an effort to use every bit. For example, when zesting a lemon, use the juice as well. When chopping vegetables, leave minimal waste. It's amazing how much less you'll throw away when you're mindful of using every part of your ingredients.

3. Reduce Water Waste

Cooking often involves using water, and there are ways to
minimize water waste
. For instance, use a bowl to wash vegetables and then
reuse that water for watering plants

4. Measure with Precision

While it's tempting to eyeball measurements, precise measuring ensures you use just what you need, reducing excess
food waste
. This approach is particularly useful when cooking grains, rice, or pasta, where leftovers often go to waste.

5. Use the Lid

When cooking on the stovetop, remember to cover your pots and pans with lids. This traps heat and
reduces cooking time
, saving energy. It's a small adjustment that adds up over time.

6. Use Reusable Paper Towels

How many paper towels do you use while cooking a single meal? Probably a lot. Reduce your waste by choosing to use either
reusable paper towels
or a dish towel instead.

7. Plan Stovetop Real Estate

Speaking of the stovetop, if you're preparing multiple dishes simultaneously, plan your real estate efficiently. Use the smallest burner that fits your pan as, according to the
American Council for an Energy-Efficient Economy
, putting a "six-inch pan on an eight-inch burner will waste over 40 percent of the heat produced by the burner."