How Other Food Lovers Keep Green in the Kitchen

I promised on Wednesday that I wouldn’t get preachy about staying green in the kitchen. In a way, that was because putting together an authoritative guide to environmentally friendly practices sounded daunting — everyone’s lifestyle and priorities are so different.

So, I asked around, on twitter and facebook and by email.

Here’s what some of my favorite food writers, photographers, bloggers, chefs, and eaters do in their own kitchens to keep them on track as environmentally aware food lovers. Read on to be inspired by diligent composters, green cleaners, and the many uses of coffee grounds.

**A Green, Clean Kitchen**

“I clean “greenly!” I tend to skip the pricey “green” products and use stuff right from the pantry like white vinegar + add water.” –Sarah De Heer, online editor for and FN Dish, @sarahdeheer

“I buy as much as possible in bulk to limit waste…also big on composting. And green cleaning…” –Winnie Abramson, food writer and photographer, Healthy Green Kitchen, @winnieabramson

“For a green kitchen, I obsessively don’t waste. Roast veggies before they go bad and freeze for later. Turn herbs into pesto. Etc!” -Rachel Mount, food editor at Readers Digest@onebiteworld

“In my kitchen all the food scraps go to the chickens at the community garden. All the eggs & lots of the veggies come from there too!” –Karen Milling, @buriedcarrots

Cook the Book means that I have a pretty intense shopping trip to tackle each week. Instead of driving to the Whole Foods or Wegmans I make the trek on foot. Good for both my carbon footprint and my figure. And when I do have to drive I use Philly Car Share.” -Caroline Russock, food writer at Serious Eats and iVillage, @carolinerussock

“Compost and recycle the trash!” –Luisa Weiss, author of My Berlin Kitchen, food writer at Wednesday Chef, @wednesdaychef

“I keep all of my vegetable scraps and trash (onion peels and all) for vegetable stock!” –Lily Bellow, managing editor at Small Kitchen College, @bgskcollege

“I reuse brewed coffee grinds. Collect them in a jar, bring them in the shower, use as a body scrub!” -Marnely Rodriguez, baker and food writer at Cooking with Books, @nella22

“We do a couple of things at my house to be green–really basic stuff: the recycling bin’s right behind the trash (convenience and ease are key with three little boys), I fill the sink halfway for washing dishing and quick-rinse all at once so the water’s not running and wasting, and I decant: we buy a lot of big items and store them in reusable containers–cuts down on packaging and saves a little money!” -Deb Puchalla, VP digital editorial for,, and , @debpuchalla


“Pyrex storage; all-at-once roasting (minimize oven use); urban composying; scraps-to-stock; cook rice with whey left from ricotta-making.” -Rivka Friedman, blogger at Not Derby Pie@NotDerbyPie

“Come up with recipes that make it easy for all of our friends to eat consciously. :)” Ecosalon

“Always clean my plate? 😉 No, I use reusable containers for to-go coffee, leftovers, etc. Also – tea/dish towels instead of paper!” –Maris Callahan, PR professional and blogger at In Good Taste, @mariscallahan

“I compost! I put all my veg scraps in the freezer, use some for stock, then take the rest to the compost stand at the farmers market.” –Lukas Volger, @LukasVolger, author of Veggie Burgers Every Which Way and Vegetarian Entrees That Won’t Leave You Hungry

“Store in glass. Buy very little or no packaged goods. Buy in bulk. Cook from scratch. Preserve. Use the whole animal. Buy organic.” –Cathy Barrow, canning and jarring expert, cooking teacher, and food writer at

“Compost. I save all my veggie scraps and freeze them. I saved the beet peels to make dye for coloring hard boiled eggs – I made beet colored smoked trout mousse filled deviled eggs. They were pretty.” –Jackie Gordon, singing chef, @divathatateny

“I use ONLY a water/vinegar solution to clean everythg (50/50) – & it works incredibly well. … also it’s great around pets/children.”Olga Massov, food writer and recipe developer, Sassy Radish, @sassyradish

“Compost, avoid plastic, limit meat, run a full dishwasher, buy local, instill positive food values in my child.” –Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan, Founding Editor at TheKitchn, author of Good Food to Share, @sarakategr

“Use white vinegar to clean everything.” -Melissa Clark, New York Times food columnist and author of Cook This Now@goodappetite

“We are a big fan of building our stores and kitchens with bamboo; a great renewable resource!” -Just Salad, @justsalad

“I reuse ziplock bags after I wash them out. Alum foil that’s wrapped around frozen cakes gets reused, too.” -Gail Dosik, cookie baker extraordinaire at One Tough Cookie, @THEToughCookie

“I use only tote bags for grocery shopping and clean with baking soda and vinegar!” -Kelsey Banfield, author of The Naptime Chef, @TheNaptimeChef

“Sorry for just responding! I’d say my greenest thing this year is learning how to reuse almond plump from making almond milk. I try to use as much of the product I can, use natural cleaners&use glass containers. I wish I could compost, but don’t have the space.” –Jacquie Chamberlain,@sweetestthingNY

“Going #MeatlessMonday is one of the easiest ways to help the planet! In addition to cutting out meat 1x per week, we try to eat seasonally and celebrate fresh, locally sourced foods!” -Meatless Monday, @MeatlessMonday

“I teach people how to use the pressure cooker – make their own stock (5 minutes), cook beans from dry (soaked, 6 minutes). Save energy.” -Jill Nussinow, culinary educator, dietician, and writer at The Veggie Queen, @theveggiequeen


As for me, I do my best not to waste even the saddest leftover or buy more than we can eat. When I can afford it, I buy organic veggies and free range meat, and I eat meat only a couple times a week anyway. I have to say I’m kind of floored by how many food people compost at home, or at least save scraps to bring to a communal composter. Defintiely something to aspire to, starting Monday.

From my kitchen, wishing you a happy, kitchen-centric Earth Day!, to yours,



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