Recently, my children have fallen off the chore wagon and been very lazy. One of the things I noticed when I started doing the chores for them ‘in their absence’ is how often I was taking out the trash. (side note – doing their chores is just temporary) I am also more aware of what I am throwing away.
Did you know that an average American can throw away more than 4 pounds of trash EVERY DAY? Let’s do some math (5 people in my house….)…..that’s an astronomical amount of trash being carelessly thrown away daily.
Recycling paper, cardboard, glass, plastic and metal has become such a normal part of our daily life, that when I travel to destinations where they do NOT have single stream recycling, I have anxiety about it. I see all the plastic bottles in the trash – the paper not separated – the cans and the countless beer bottles in with the leftover food. ARGH.
But even recycling isn’t enough. Items can only be recycled a certain amount of times and then they ultimately still end up in that landfill – ya know, the one we are now creating in other countries because we have no more room here in the US. Yup. That’s happening.
So, what can we do??? Here are some ideas that we do in our household, some tips I have learned from others and some tips I am planning on implementing myself:
Truly, this is an easy one. What the heck do we buy when we go to Target just for socks? How did I spend $130???
Check what your town takes and give them everything you possibly can. Reduce your footprint. It’s not hard to throw a bottle in a recycling bin instead of a garbage can.
Check out my nifty little metal compost bucket on the counter above. Cute, eh? All vegetable waste, eggs shells, coffee grinds, tea bags go into this little bin and then we take it outside to a compost bin in the backyard (creating black gold for our garden!) Win win!
I carry my beautiful Hydroflask with me everywhere. We are BFFs. Sure, it can take some time to get used to, but it’s worth it. And if you must buy coffee at a coffee shop, bring your own mug too. Lots of them have discounts for such conscious behavior. Pat yourself on the back and save some bucks too.
Oh lawdy, this one drives me nuts. With 3 kids and countless school lunches, I was just flabbergasted at the waste. Luckily, I know how to sew and made reusable sandwich wraps and snack bags. (that’s another story) If you can’t sew, that’s OK – there are tons of reusable containers you can use out there and tons of people like me that sell these sweet little items.
OK, I know this seems INSANE to many of you, but I swear it is possible! Mason jars are cool again! Use those instead. Or try those organic food wraps: (https://www.amazon.com/Organic-Reusable-Food-Wraps-Etee/dp/B077Z1VVLL/ref=asc_df_B077Z1VVLL/?tag=hyprod-20&linkCode=df0&hvadid=242028482092&hvpos=1o1&hvnetw=g&hvrand=1683476599546539793&hvpone=&hvptwo=&hvqmt=&hvdev=c&hvdvcmdl=&hvlocint=&hvlocphy=9003217&hvtargid=pla-399261730470&psc=1) I have never tried them, but they look perfect! I have a DIY recipe for making my own beeswax wraps which will happen later in this journey. Basically, there are a bunch of other options.
Shopping in bulk is out there – look it up locally. Or at least stop using produce plastic bags. You can bring your own bags, sew your own or even purchase reusable produce bags along with your food wraps. Keep them handy (along with your coffee mug and water bottle!)
There are a ton of other ideas to reduce waste in the kitchen and home, but these are great stepping stones. Soon, you will see less trash in your garbage can and you will feel better about your impact on our world. For even more ideas, check out my Pinterest boards for Clean Living and Zero Waste at Heathersreallife https://www.pinterest.com/heatherranz/
Drop your own ideas below – lets get a list going!