Green Kitchen Tip #1
If you are hooked up to a sewer system, please remember that most of what you put down the sink eventually ends up in natural bodies of water. It is easy to believe that what you are dumping down the sink will be rendered harmless at a sewer treatment facility – not exactly. A recent study at a Seattle area sewage treatment plant found a spike in natural spices, discharging into the Puget Sound, that correlated with the holiday baking season. “When we bake and change the way we eat, it has an impact on what the environment sees. To me it shows the connectedness,” stated Rick Keil, one of the researchers. This increase in cinnamon, pure vanilla as well as artificial vanilla, while relatively harmless to aquatic life, shows the impact our habits, en masse, can have on our environment. Far more toxic substances, like prescription drugs, pesticides, chemical cleaners, and even caffeine have a more deleterious impact. While most of us can’t quit pouring substances down the drain, we can be more selective about the products we use, how we dispose of them, and how often we really need to use them. Often times just cutting our use in half can make a significant impact (no, I'm not recommending anyone cut their prescription drug doses in half).
Here’s an example. Do you use anti-bacterial soap? It appears that not only is the chemical responsible for the anti-bacterial properties typically ineffective (due to undereducated users – you technically should suds up for about 20 seconds before rinsing), but now that (toxic!) chemical is showing up downstream. Even worse is how it is getting into the environment. It goes from your sink to the sewage treatment plant, where it is concentrated into sludge, which is then spread onto farmland to grow crops for human consumption. No kidding.