Eco-Friendly Wishlists

Posted on October 1, 2008 by Allie

Heather left a comment on my contact page with a wonderful post idea.

I just discovered your blog and I love it. You are adorable and I like to think you survive NJ like I do, though that’s just an educated guess.

I have a question I am hoping you can answer. My boyfriend and I are going to be moving in together and so will be starting our household from scratch. We have the basic ideas about what to buy, but I am wondering about a few alternatives to some things I am addicted to such as my George foreman. I love it and it’s so convenient to cook up a quick veggie burger or panini, but of course it has nonstick coating…in fact, it’s advertised as having a triple nonstick coating. Great. As far as I can tell, all the mass market countertop grills have a nonstick coating. Do you know of any that aren’t?

It would be great if you or Beth from Fake Plastic Fish could come up with a list for newlyweds or newly engaged or new homeowners to offer some guidance on what and what not to buy for a new household. It’s hard to do all the research yourself when you are stressed about mortgages, impeding nuptials, etc.

Anyway, thanks for the well-written blogs. You give me something to aspire to.


With that much flattery, how can I not write a post about her questions?  I’m blushing here!

Heather has an excellent point:  I am adorable.

No, seriously, setting up a new home and/or getting married are events that tend to come along with a barrage of new stuff.  So why don’t we take a look at greener options for household products, and put some thought into things that aren’t necessary for a new home.

Firstly, let’s address the Teflon counter top grill issue.

My immediate thought was to switch to grilling on the stove with a cast iron pan, some are even made with ridges that would give you the grill marks you’ve become accustomed to, and probably drain off some of the fat.  A cast iron grill press would help to make paninis, etc.

You could get a crock pot to give yourself the opportunity to make some meals that don’t require much attention.  Dianne has a whole slow cooker section on her site now, by the way.

I did a quick search for Teflon-free counter top grills, and found this site.  In comments, readers suggested:

  1. A cast iron grill pan (great minds think alike, you know)
  2. A Delonghi grill with cast iron plates instead of Teflon coated ones.  It doesn’t appear to be a press model like the grill you already have.

Now, on to the wish list.  Today, we’ll tackle the kitchen, and tomorrow we’ll work on the bathroom and bedroom.

Here are a few other things I’d consider adding to my wishlist if I were just starting out:

Consider looking for things like utensils, baking tins, and other kitchen goods at Goodwill, yard sales, and on Freecycle or craigslist.  Accept hand-me-downs from friends and relatives.

Don’t ask for what you don’t need, and if possible, give yourself a few weeks or so in your new setup with the bare minimum to see if there are things you can do without.  Did you have one of those “husband” pillows in college?  When I went to school, it was on every “must-have” list for freshman that I saw, but I never once used mine.  And think about who you are and how that fits into your new space.  If you hate baking, you don’t need muffin tins.  If you value function over form, maybe a yogurt container will work to collect scraps for compost in the kitchen just as well as a fancy pail.

And if you do end up with some things you don’t need, don’t be afraid to re-gift what you won’t use.

What kitchen essentials do you recommend?

Heather has just started a blog!  Please go check it out and leave her some comment love!

No Comments +

  1. 1. I haven’t been around lately but I love the new look!

    2. Great post! I bet you didn’t have to research a single thing, it is all in your head. I have found that being green and having a blog about it keeps your green brain sharp, especially while shopping. I might add that some of these items may cost more up front but you will save money in the long run because they will last forever and never/rarely need replacing. AND you save your health without nasty toxins in your house.

    October 1st, 2008 at 5:09 pm
    Comment by Allison
  2. [...] we talked about eco-friendly items a person setting up house might need in their kitchen.  Today, let’s hit the [...]

    October 2nd, 2008 at 10:32 am
    Pingback by Eco-Friendly Wishlists Part 2
  3. What do you use to take food to work? Those glass dishes are great, but not really very useful for taking food to work. The reality is I used to work on a University campus, had to walk 10 minutes from my car to my lab, carrying a lunch bag and tote bag and my purse, and shared a fridge with the entire floor, many of which brought foreign cuisine to work that didn’t smell so good. Trust me, as much as I love the idea of carrying those glass containers for lunch everyday, you do not want something that doesn’t seal nice and tight like a ziploc disposable. And being a vegetarian, I don’t often bring sandwiches, mostly stuff that needs to be nuked, releasing nasty toxins into my food. It’s all enough to make me want to eat in the cafeteria, which of course then means plastic utensils and Styrofoam takeout containers. Any alternative suggestions?

    October 2nd, 2008 at 3:54 pm
    Comment by Heather
  4. Any kitchen wish list should include a few really good knives. I received the wooden block of knives as a gift and while they have been ok, I think a high quality knife would have been more useful.

    October 2nd, 2008 at 4:02 pm
    Comment by Katie
  5. I’m backing up what’s already stated:

    1. Get a really good set of knives.

    2. Get many utensils at thrift-stores ~ I personally LOVE the diversity of my own collection.

    3. GLASS CONTAINERS and casserole dishes are a MUST for your kitchen. Store quinoa, nuts, lentils, pasta, flour, coffee, etc (all of it) in various GLASS containers in your kitchen. Naturally for the health reason, but GLASS ALSO keeps your food TASTING DELICIOUSLY FRESH much much longer ~ plastic will turn the taste of your food to… well, plasticy-tasting.

    4. Baking soda! Buy it in bulk containers ~ use it to clean your sink, your grease spills in the kitchen, and sprinkle all over your rugs once a month and let sit for an hour before you vacuum. Your place will always smell wonderfully clean (but not chemically!).

    5. CFL bulbs are a duh… but in rooms and lighting fixtures that don’t get flipped on and off too often. If they do get switch a lot, use LED lights instead (these bulbs are more expensive but have TREMENDOUS life to them).

    Most of all, have fun fun fun getting used to living together and figuring it all out as you can. :) I’m in my sixth year living with my Beau, and it’s the best six years of living yet.


    October 2nd, 2008 at 9:50 pm
    Comment by Ashley Sue of Green Grounded
  6. BTW Heather,

    I get the whole Veggie-on-the-go conundrum too… bah! I haven’t figured out the answer to my food on the run either. Ziplocks and the occasional tupper-container still have a place in my lunch box. :( If you catch word of a new idea, I’d love to know too!

    October 2nd, 2008 at 9:52 pm
    Comment by Ashley Sue of Green Grounded
  7. One more ~ ALLIE, I LOVE THE NEW DIGS! Very sharp, Lovely!

    October 2nd, 2008 at 9:52 pm
    Comment by Ashley Sue of Green Grounded
  8. [...] you’re just tuning in, check out posts one and two in this [...]

    October 3rd, 2008 at 12:13 pm
    Pingback by Eco-Friendly Wishlists Part 3
  9. J. and I got married a couple months ago and put quite a bit of thought into “greening” our registry. For the kitchen microfiber cloths for the counters and floors, bamboo bowls and tools (we have some spatulas, slotted spoons, etc), organic cotton/hemp/bamboo napkins and kitchen towels, pyrex (vintage is gorgeous and we use ours every day!), vegetable mills, mortar and pestle, cookbooks, plants, organic spices/teas/coffee, the list could go on and on but like everyone else said you can find a lot of craigslist, ebay, freecycle and thrift stores. You should also keep those in mind for duplicates that you are your significant other have. If you don’t NEED two of something then donating it is a good way to declutter your new space and keep the good karma flowing.

    October 3rd, 2008 at 11:18 pm
    Comment by N.

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Tip of the Day

If It Doesn’t Smell, Don’t Wash It


According to Real Simple, if every American made an effort to launder less — cutting out just one load of laundry a week per household — we’d save enough water to fill seven million swimming pools each year.

So if it looks clean, and it smells clean, call it clean and wear it again. Consider hanging worn clothes out on your clothesline to freshen them up between wearings.

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