Opting for natural worktops where possible will be more environmentally-friendly than alternatives such as laminated chipboard, says Will Kirkman, which is harder to recycle. If you are opting for wood or wood products, remember to check that is from a sustainable source approved by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), he says.
However, it isn’t always this simple. “A wooden worktop might appear eco-friendly, but if it has been made using different wood samples that have been glued together, it will still be hard to recycle”, says Elina.
Be careful what you use as a worktop finish, she says. “A number of materials, from grout to varnish and paint, contain Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that can release toxins into the air as they age,” says Elina. “Choosing products that are water-based, have low VOCs, or are VOC-free, will help improve the overall air quality in your home.”
“Instead of using wood or natural stone, you could opt for a worktop made from post-consumer recycled glass,” she suggests. “You can buy worktops that are 100% glass which has been fused together. Because it’s made of 100% recycled material and it can be easily recycled after use, it’s a great example of a cyclical material.”
Choose kitchen appliances that are energy-saving, advises Oliver. “An induction hob is better than a gas hob because it only uses energy to directly heat the pan, rather than the air around it.”
You should also ensure that new appliances are A++ or A+++ rated for energy efficiency, suggests Oliver. A recent study found that an A-rated fridge freezer costs on average £73 a year to run, while the typical annual cost of an A++ rated fridge freezer is just £37.
Oliver has also installed a foot pedal-controlled tap to reduce water wastage in his own home, although he says this might not be for everyone. “It means that my family can’t leave the tap running, but also helps when you’re washing up, when you don’t have a spare hand to turn the tap on or off.”