Moving on from kid stuff! With probably more side notes as we go along and I think of things. Anyways.
Green in the Kitchen! Pt 1: cloth
Alot of being 'green' involves reusing which inevitably involves something you can wash. So cloth is a big part of our 'green' daily life. Pretty much the easiest way to consider what things you could change is to think of the things you throw away. Disposable plates, silverware, cups, napkins, towels, ziplock bags, saran wrap, etc are a few of the things I can think of!
First up: plates, silverware, cups.
Yep, they're convenient. Especially if you don't have a dishwasher(like me!). But part of being green means giving up the convenient. Party hardy? Use the real stuff. Afraid of it breaking? Get reuseable plastic picnic type dishes and cups. I'll admit, I still have some throw away items in the basement and it's the same leftover stuff I've had since hosting the Family Christmas back in 06. Once in a while I think to use them, but usually not. Be on the lookout at Target for those melamine dishes and such we should be seeing soon as picnic weather fast approaches!
Napkins and towels:
Napkins are probably the easiest to switch to cloth. You can use all sorts of things. Buy nice ones in the store, make your own out of material you have at home(or clearance stuff at the fabric store!). We use two layer flannel for the most part. Some I made, some I bought. We have a pretty big stack and I use them often. (No surprise seeing as I have 5 kids 3 1/2 and under for 50 hours a week) I do have a set of nice store bought ones for company, but rarely remember to get them out and end up just using the day to day ones. These wipe hands, faces, noses, tables, etc. They are really great for kids as the cloth will not make tiny runny noses raw from wiping like paper kleenex will. The kids also don't mind the dreaded face wipe as much when they are warm and damp.
Paper towels were a little more difficult to switch from if only for the cleaning and bacon grease kind of things. But I decided one day it was my last roll of paper towels and I just would figure it out when they were gone! It's been close to a year now since I've run out and we haven't bought more, yet. For cleaning I have a special pile of towels that I make sure to run through a sanitization wash after using. Bacon grease? Got a little creative. I use the edge of a food box (like mac n cheese) to scrape into the waste basket or I save up fast food napkins to use in emergencies(broken glass, etc). I suppose if you just pour your hot grease into a can that negates the need for the whole scraping thing. Not sure why I've never gotten into the habit of doing that?
You could use regular wash rags in place of sponges but I prefer knit scrubbers out of cotton yarn. These give you a little more scrubbing texture as opposed to a soft cloth. I do have some cloth napkins with a terry side that work well in a pinch. Either way, it's much easier to remember to switch out a washable item then it is to toss a sponge after it's a giant germ motel. No worries about 'Oh, rats, I ran out of sponges!' Just grab another clean one and move on!
I don't think anyone uses disposable bibs so this is a non-issue. But on a side note, I've become a big fan of old fashioned flat cloth diapers tied at the back for certain messy meals or younger kids. They cover a bigger area and they can't be pulled off! Once used for burp rags in our home, these flats are now mainly used as bibs. When we're done with bibs, they'll be cleaning cloths!
I have a shelf in my pantry dedicated to kitchen type cloth. It's in a spot easy to reach and see. If you have more than 3 drawers in your kitchen(seriously, that's all I have), a drawer would work great, too! For dirty stuff, I keep a little basket to toss things into and carry it to the basement when full. I'd love to put it under the sink but don't have space there at the moment so it's just by my fridge on the floor.
That's all I can think of for kitchen cloth at the moment. If there's something else you would like to add please let me know!
Monday, April 6, 2009
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