Make mealtime more eco-friendly

Metro Service
Meals can be more eco-friendly with these small changes.

■ Metro Service

An eco-friendly lifestyle is anything but selfless, as such a way of life can pay both immediate and long-term dividends, helping men and women in the present day while also contributing to healthier futures for generations to come.
As environmentalists and eco-friendly ordinary Joes no doubt already know, there are myriad ways to go green. Even mealtime at home can be made considerably more eco-friendly with relatively little effort.

Stop hand washing dishes. Men and women who dread having to hand wash their dishes after a nice meal have an ally in science. A study from researchers in Europe found that people who hand washed place settings for 12 people used as much as 27 gallons of water, while washing the same amount of place settings in a dishwasher required just four gallons of water. So instead of standing over a sink and washing dishes by hand each night, men and women can simply load up the dishwasher, making sure only to run it when it’s full so even less water is wasted.

Avoid the stove when possible. Empty nesters, couples without children or single men and women who want to save energy come mealtime can use toaster ovens in lieu of traditional stoves when preparing small meals. According to EnergyStar¨, toaster ovens consume between one-third to one-half the amount of energy as conventional electric ovens when cooking small meals, making them a far more eco-friendly option for men and women accustomed who typically cook small meals for one or two people.

Shop with reusable shopping bags. Cooks know that great meals begin at the grocery store, so there’s no reason why eco-friendly cooking cannot begin there as well. Estimates suggest that as many as 100 billion plastic bags are used in the United States alone each year. EnvironmentMassachusetts reports that such bags are used for an average of 12 minutes, even though their life expectancy is as high as 1,000 years. By relying on reusable cloth shopping bags instead of single-use plastic bags, shoppers can dramatically reduce the carbon footprint of cooking their own meals.
Recycle materials. Glass jars, plastic butter tubs, milk cartons, and other items necessary to prepare meals at home are all recyclable. Many local governments have weekly if not biweekly pickups of recyclable materials, making it easier than ever to ensure these items are given new life after being used. Men and women who reside in areas without such pickups can go it alone, collecting recyclable materials and periodically transporting them to nearby recycling centers.
Mealtime provides a host of opportunities for eco-conscious men and women to embrace practices that protect the planet.

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