Kitchen Habits That Destroy the Earth

Julie Ryan Evans

baconCooking at home seems like a great, eco-friendly choice for many reasons, and in many respects it is. The kitchen, however, is full of landmines that can be bad for this land that we love if not avoided.

Some of them you may know you shouldn't be doing but do anyway because you forget or they're inconvenient, but others will likely shock you. All of them, however, add up and can really take their toll on our environment. Here are five kitchen habits that destroy the environment:

Cooking Grease

Unlike my grandmother who used to collect grease in a tin can for reuse, I've always put mine down the sink drain while running the garbage disposal. A plumber once told me it was okay if I ran hot soapy water while I did it, and I've never thought much about it since. Turns out, it could be doing environmental damage by clogging up sewers. Researchers say the excess grease, even just little bits left in pans, adds up and is one of the biggest causes of sewer backups and blockages. Sounds like some tin cans may be in order.

Oven Door

All those quick little peaks you take aren't only unnecessary (hello, oven light!), but also wasteful. Each time you open the door, the temperature is lowered by 20-25 degrees, meaning more cooking time, and more energy expended. Preheating also wastes energy, and isn't really important for much other than baked goods.


How often do you find yourself in line at the grocery store, and your cute recyclable grocery bags are in your car, or at home? It happens to me all the time, and then I'm forced to slink out guiltily with all those polluting plastic bags in my cart. If you have children, try tasking them with remembering the good bags. Mine remember more often than I do. Also, consider how many of  those plastic bags you wrap your produce in are really necessary. Things like bananas and avocados whose outer layer you won't use anyway, can just be placed in the cart.


We all want a clean kitchen, but many cleaning products contain chemicals that are dangerous to humans and wildlife alike. There are plenty of eco-friendly products out there, as well as many you can make yourself.

Empty Refrigerator

Not keeping enough food in your refrigerator could cause more energy to be expended as  the machine works hard to cool little in a big space. Don't run out and buy food you won't use though. Experts suggest putting full water bottles or even crumpled up pieces of newspaper in with the food to minimize the work it has to do.

Which environment-destroying kitchen habits are you most guilty of?

Image via Robert S. Donovan/Flickr

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