August 24th, 2013

Zipping Towards Zero Waste: Small Appliances

IMG_0204Zero-waste lifestyle advocate Bea Johnson of the Zero Waste Home tells us that part of her journey into living a zero waste lifestyle is reducing the number of items she actually needs and uses especially in the kitchen.

In a recent blog post, she asked her readers what essential kitchen items they live without and what items did they absolutely need.* For me, that is only three things: the microwave, the blender and the electric tea kettle.

The Microwave

This is probably the most controversial for many people, especially if one is disposed to eating as healthfully as possible. There are some claims that microwaves zap food of their nutrients and encourage prepackaged, lazy cooking. However, for me, the microwave is essential, not because I use it a lot, but because its absence would be (and has been in the past) the thing that causes me to NOT COOK AT ALL and descend into eating way too many wheat products that are VERY BAD bad for me. So, while I do as much as I can on the stove top, having the microwave as a back up for those nights when I am too tired to stand up, let alone cook, is essential

blenderThe Blender

There is a reason this machine has been in existence for a gazillion years- it WORKS. Frankly I have never understood the need for fancy gadgets like Cuisinarts that have all these attachments that need to be cleaned, maintained, and stored, when a simple blender does everything that a Cuisinart can do:
blend, chop, pulverize, liquefy…heck, I even cream butter in it when making cookies…who needs a specialized mixer? (I had a big, fancy Kitchenaid chef’s grade mixer for years… and all it did was take up too much space on the counter and gather DUST which made its way into my food.)

IMG_0205

The Electric Tea Kettle

It’s fast. Really fast. Faster than turning the on the stove top and waiting and waiting to water to boil under a heavy, conversational tea kettle and using God knows how much natural gas in the process. My hot water is read yin less than two minutes, even when the tea kettle is full and uses “teaspoons” of electricity to run. And in the Pacific Northwest, where 97.5% of our electricity comes from renewable hydro-power, I choose it over questionably obtained natural gas (Franklin) any time. Plus remember, in my house, I am connected to two 600 KW solar panels in the Seattle Community Solar project…so there. ;-)