How To Make Your Kitchen Green

Are you interested in living a healthier lifestyle, with better indoor air quality? Here are some things you can do to support wholesome environmental consciousness whilst designing—and using—your  new kitchen.

Choosing Environmentally Friendly Products for your Kitchen

Making the positive choice to use greener products benefits you, the people around you, and the environment. Michael Braungart, co-author of Cradle to Cradle- Remaking the way we Make Things, said, “Right now indoor air quality is three to eight times worse than the outdoor air quality of Los Angeles.” This is a result of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) found in building materials, furniture, fabrics, cleaners, etc., that off-gas into our homes.

Many companies now make their products cleaner and greener. Independent governing bodies accredit companies that use ecologically sound and safe practices. These governing boards include: Leader in Energy and Environmental Design (LEED), Cradle-to Cradle, Greengard Environmental Institute, and Environment Choice certification in Australia.

As Australians, and the environmentally conscious worldwide, demand ecologically responsible products, companies rise to the challenge. We at Blue Tea support their efforts, and offer these tips for choosing green:

Cabinetry Choose Australian made cabinetry. Australian law requires low VOCs in cabinet manufacturing. Cabinets imported from China have been noted to have higher concentrations of formaldehyde (a carcinogen), so beware of these products.

Doors Laminex and UltraGlaze door manufacturers offer zero VOCs.

Bench Tops CaesarStone has been independently certified by The Greengard Environmental Institute for low VOCs in benchtop manufacturing. Some other United States companies also offer ecologically sound bench tops. Ask your Blue Tea designer for options.

Paint Choose paints with zero VOCs for healthier indoor air quality. The Australian brands, Resene and Porter’s Paints offer a range of environmentally friendly products.

Flooring Choose natural flooring—such as FSC solid timber (with water-based VOC-free sealant), cork and, linoleum—for sustainability and producing no VOCs. Stay clear of laminated timbers. These are covered with chemicals.

We still have a long way to go before available products become more than just sustainable, but actually improve the environment. Choosing green is a good first step.

Cleaning Products

In Australia, US, Canada and the UK, product labels warn of immediate dangers, but they still keep us in the dark about VOC levels and possible danger with exposure over time. There is no standard definition or independent organisation that defines words such as environmentally-friendlynon-toxic and natural. Because marketing can be deceiving, we customers must make informed decisions based on our own research.

There are key chemicals to look out for that are known to be harmful to humans and the environment, these include Ammonia, Antibacterial Soap, Bleach, Phosphates and Sodium Hydroxide to name a few. Instead of chemical cleaners, use natural cleaners which will disinfect and thoroughly clean: lemon, vinegar and bicarb of soda are a few choices. Method (available in most Woolworths) is also  healthy and safe.

method soap

Cookware

Try not to microwave your food in plastic containers; while some are labelled safe, you are better off microwaving in ceramic of glass dishware as plasticisers may leak into your food. Also be careful with your Teflon cookware. If it is not good quality, it may peel into your food, which is then ingested, causing chemicals to invade your bloodstream.

Blue Tea considers the environment, and our customer’s health and well-being, key aspects of kitchen renovation. In the following weeks we will delve into each topic and give you more information to help you make informed decisions about your new or existing kitchen.

microwave

 

6 Comments

  • Kim Hursky says:

    Hi,
    I love your website, there are so many interesting articles!
    I particularly love your colour fashion range for 2012!
    Please write more about that. Any idea why we choose different colours? Anything to do with economy?
    Kim

    • nadiah says:

      Hi Kim, there are different theories why we choose different colours, Pantone is the worlds colour authority and they choose the new colours for the season- they seem to suggest there are global influences that effect our colour selection. Thanks for the comment- will write more about it in a new post 🙂

  • Did you know colour psychology is a well-researched area of the health sciences as well as in design & marketing? Generally, studies show people choose desaturated colours during economically depressed times, for example, greyed or dulled colours for their clothing. In Australia, however, we tend to respond to spring & summer with more optimism & thus brighter colours……we just love our warm weather! Colour can also be a valuable tool in health care, with rich reds, for example, helping people feel more positive with an improved sense of well-being. Certain pinks, such as bubblegum pink, are useful in clinical situations as a psychologically calming colour. In supermarkets & fast food chains, there’s a good reason why our food is often packaged in bright yellows & reds as these colours stimulate our appetite & evoke a sense of product freshness. Hope this info offers some insight in the power of colour in our lives.

    • nadiah says:

      Thanks for the insights Chris, it’s such a fascinating topic……..I wasn’t aware that people choose grey when they are feeling economic pressures…….but it seems to make sense!

  • Hi Nadiah,

    Thanks for your reply. I’m actually doing some research for an article about colour & how it affects us & our health. I’m happy to send you the link for your readers when available if you’re interested.
    Cheers
    chris

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