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Expert offers tips to make kitchen green

April 21, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
You may already have cloth grocery bags for the market and a recycle bin for the kitchen. But there is much more you can do to be energy efficient. And once a few simple things are in your routine you'll save time, money and energy.Washing dishes
Set your dishwasher to work while you sleep. That is when energy is cheaper and easier on the power grid.

Garbage disposal
Garbage disposals eat up power and water, so put scraps in the garbage instead. Some green enthusiasts are now putting produce scraps in with their outdoor garden recyclables. You should call your waste management company to let you know if that is a possibility.

Oven
If your oven has a window and a light, use it -- you will save energy and lower your bill.

"Every time you open the oven to peek your head in and check, you drop the temperature in the oven 25 degrees," says Elizabeth Rogers, co-author of The Green Book.

Rogers says if you're oven has a window and a light, use it.

Microwave
While you can't microwave everything, try it for small jobs.

"Your microwave is five times more efficient than an electric stove. So if you have just a cup of water to boil, throw it in the microwave," Rogers said.

Toaster ovens
Just like the microwave, toaster ovens consist of a smaller cooking area, which means less energy is used. Try broiling fish or baking fries in the toaster oven.

"Think small. Downsize, you know, instead of using something big, use something small," Rogers said.

Crock-Pots
Crock-Pots use a minimal amount of energy, yet offer the ability to create a one-pot meal that you can use to cook, serve and cleanup as well.

Refrigerator
Whether you are putting the groceries or dinner leftovers away, wait until you have it together to put it in the fridge. Every time the door opens, it kicks on the compressor to adjust the temperature, using more energy. So gather it up and do it all in one trip.

Water conservation
Don't waste water rinsing or waiting for the water to heat up. Save it to water plants, the dog or use it to rinse dishes to put in the dishwasher. It can also be used to boil eggs, rinse out the sink or a simple coffee cup. Keep a big pitcher on the counter to save the water. You'll save more water than you think.

"It's sort of back to basic home economics," Rogers said.

Old food
It isn't tough to think frugal in this suffering economy, but it is one tip that many ecologists feel helps tremendously. Day-old bread can make croutons or bread pudding. You can even set some out for birds near your garden to cut down on bugs. After all, the birds like bugs more than bread.

Rogers says when going green, it all comes down to living simply.


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