Tuesday, April 19, 2011

I must, I must, I must . . . . reduce my waste.

Usually I end I MUST, with . . . . increase my bust.  You know the little song. "I must, I must, I must increase my bust. The bigger, the better, the fuller the sweater!"
But I've given up on that dream and moved on to: " I must, reduce my waste", because that's actually something I can control :)
Here's what I'm doing:
  • Padded Bra's
  • Chicken Cutlets  
Wait we're talking about garbage:
  • I wasn't sure if I was going to write down buy fewer cans, because we recycle those, but they usually come in packaging of their own. Although if it's cardboard you can recycle that too so, I'm torn. Lee had a good point, all packaging whether it's recyclable or not, takes resources and energy to make, so we're cutting out cans.
  • No take-out. Take out containers create so much garbage!! One night of Chinese take-out is almost an entire bag of garbage
  • No Disposable razors. It's not so much the razors as it is the plastic packaging they come in. Or maybe I'll just stop shaving my legs all together ? ? ? ? probably not . . . . probably!
  • Buy milk in Glass Containers, not only good for the environment, but cute and retro too :)

  • Make my own laundry detergent. It's super easy, and you skip the huge plastic bottles. If you'd like our Laundry Soap recipe, follow the LINK.

  • No more plastic grocery bags. We've been bringing our own bags to the grocery store for years now, and I'm assuming you've been too. But now we'll be bringing our own produce bags with us. 

  • Cancelling our cataloge and magazine subscriptions. Except for Martha :) 
  • Really trying not to use paper towels. I'm not going to say we aren't going to use paper towels (because seriously I'm not cleaning up dog puke with anything else), but we're going to make a very conscious effort to reach for a dish towel to dry our hands instead!
  • Make my own household cleaners in old cleaner bottles (as soon as I run out I'll be sure to write a post full of recipes)
  • More good Old Home Cooking, package free :) You can peek through our meal plan monday's to see some of our recipes.
  • I'm really excited about this one: Make my own . . . . sandwich bags!!! Here's an example, tutorial to come! 

  • use bulk bins more. The plastic bag from Bulk Bins isn't great, but it's better then the plastic bag inside the cardboard box, in shrink wrap.
  • Use craigslist more! Although we use it a lot already :) Used goods, don't have packaging :) 
  • When we need to get rid of something, you know something that no one would buy, like an old kite or a ratty old chair, offer it for FREE on craigslist. We've had a lot of success doing this! Freecycle is also a good for this. And what ever we can keep out of the landfill is GREAT!
  • Re-use when ever possible
  • Re-use old clothes as rags
  • Re-use any old fabric or clothes and make a quilt (currently working on my first one, I'll let you know how it goes). 
  • Re-use old tin cans as pencil holders (I just really miss this idea from elementary school)

  • Borrow and Rent. Instead of buying a huge ladder you might only need once or twice is a waste, try renting it from Home Depot or you might be lucky and have a fabulous neighbor who has one. We've done this for everything from a ladder to a saw to a pick up truck.
  • Keep things in good repair. If you take care of your stuff, it's less likely to break and you won't need to buy a new one wrapped in packaging :)
  • And last COMPOST as you read in our previous post we've been composting!

So there it is, all of our plans, what's that they say about the best laid plans . . . eeeeek!

One thing I noticed while writing this post was that almost all of these tips will also save money! It's funny how these two different topics completely align with each other! All the changes we've been making have been sending ripples through the rest of our life. For example:
Cutting down on garbage = making more homemade meals= healthier us!
Cutting down on garbage = making our own laundry soap = saving money and healthier soaps for us!
Cutting down on garbage = re-using old clothes = made a quilt = warmer us = not having to buy a new quilt for winter = saving money!
I'm starting to like MATH!


  1. Thanks for the laugh and walk down memory lane...the famous line from "Are You There God, It's Me Margaret"...loved that book (not sure my parents did at the time however!! LOL

    Love all your suggestions. We too are trying to cut back on garbage, and have realized we are saving in the process. Next on our hit list-dixie bathroom cups. This is a tough one for me...I have an aversion to drinking out of a glass that's been sitting in the bathroom collecting who knows what. But, I'm working on a solution! I also just purchased two new books I hope to post about that are a wealth of info too.

  2. Great post. We are really big into finding ways to have 'less' and to recycle and reuse or just live better not only for ourselves but for the environment.

    We have always been big into recycling. This year I created a veggie garden and my tech-savvy hubby also created a Solar Panel which right now charges a battery in the garage that holds enough power for some of our tools. Next up is to finish our rain barrels and use the water from those for the garden and grass :)

  3. Great tips~ thanks for the inspiration!

  4. Where are the produce bags from? I am all for using these I just have sewing skills to make my own.

  5. I love bulk bins and I use cotton washable bags to get my flour, sugar, salt, etc. I ordered them from Amazon.

  6. i just bought milk in a glass container because i thought it was cute. the bottle deposit on it was $1.50 which i thought was crazy BUT the milk was $2.99 AND the store gives you you're deposit back if you bring back the bottles. so i am going to end up paying a little over $1.00 a bottle for milk! yay! i love food bargains!

  7. Great ideas! I have been following your blog for a while, and I just love it! Your sense of humor is so spot on, and all of your posts relate to my young married life. Cheers to a great lifestyle!

    PS: Where did the produce bags come from?

  8. We have a building supply recycle center in our area. We are rehabbing an 1902 Bungalow and any of the lovely 60’s/70’s/80’s lights, cabinets, hardware etc. we remove gets shuttled right over and donated. We even get a tax credit!

  9. I, too, am curious about those mesh produce bags. I was just thinking yesterday that I need to cut down on using the store's plastic ones.

  10. Glad to hear what everyone else is doing too!
    The mesh Produce bags came from Amazon.com
    these are the ones we bought, but there are tons of different kinds:
    Hope that helps everyone :)

  11. Great ideas. Can't wait to see the tutorial on the sandwich bags.

  12. Something that has helped us to use fewer paper towels is to only buy one roll at a time. I found that when I don't have a huge stash of them, I think twice before reaching for one. And saving them for - I agree with you - those really yucky messes.


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