Showing posts with label reduce. Show all posts
Showing posts with label reduce. Show all posts

Plastic Free July {observation}


I want to participate in Plastic Free July and make it a wholly plastic free month sometime. They encourage disuse of single use plastics - most of which I avoid anyway (shopping bags, straws, plastic water bottles, coffee cups/lids) - for the month. But I'd like to go all the way.


But as of right now my plastic usage, mostly in the form of food packaging, would be too overwhelming to try to just stop cold turkey. My tired mama brain might implode.

Maybe next year. But, for now, it's one bite at a time. So, when Slow Your Home (awesome podcast!) suggested participating in it, I took one week in July to observe the plastic use in my life and then the next week I kept track of every plastic thing I threw away - trying to keep it as authentic as possible. In doing this, I hoped to find a few things I could cut out while I worked on a longer term solution for the more overwhelming things ... like all the food packaging!

Zero waste is a highly respected lifestyle in my book, but there have to be small steps to get there. (Besides plastic, the next biggest thing we throw in the garbage is food scraps - which kills me, especially since I've researched composting! I just need to find the right system for our small place and pull the trigger. More on that to come.)

My week of observation found that we trashed:

16 plastic food wrappers
12 plastic container lids (not recyclable in our area)
1 styrofoam meat tray and plastic wrap
7 dental flossers
9 disposable diapers
8 misc items (mailer plastic, gift wrappers, etc.)

Yes, I kept track. Yes, I know I'm a nerd. :-)

It may not seem like a ton (even with the diapers, it probably would only fill a small bag) but it's a lot considering that it is possible to find and purchase meat and produce without plastic. It just takes some doing.

The one single use thing I'd like to do away with is the dental flossers. I hate using the regular stuff that you wrap around your fingers and end up in a spitty, gross mess - the flossers are way more motivating. BUT is there something I could use that doesn't require throwing out plastic? (Plastic that, btw, that once made will never disappear from the earth.) Bea Johnson from Zero Waste Home suggests using a gum stimulator. Ever seen the rubber thing on the end of a toothbrush? I never really knew what they were for, but I'm considering getting one, watching a YouTube tutorial, and seeing if by my next dental appointment it helps or hurts my teeth! Whatcha think?

Also, I'll be rid of the disposable diapers (nighttime use) once my son decides that sleeping through the night is a desirable thing to do, but until then I'm allowing myself that convenience for nighttime sanity. You win some, you lose some.

What do you think? Is reducing plastic consumption even something you think about? Would you ever experiment with a plastic free July?

(Next year! Next year!)

Living Simply: Reusing, Repurposing and Recyling


It's a harsh way of thinking to refer to all consuming as bad, so, I try not to go to that extreme.

"Our days begin with consuming. Consuming is not wrong; in fact it is necessary for life."

However, it is the amount of our consumption (or necessary vs. not) that bothers me.

Do you shower with a tepid 5 gallon bucket or spend 20 minutes under the hot streams?

Do you eat three large meals every day and three snacks, too, ending with a belly fuller than Buddha? 

Do you drive 10 feet to the dumpster instead of walk? 

You know what I'm saying. Perspective, friends. It's all about it.

I just try to keep perspective in mind when I do things and use things. It's helped that we've needed to save money because instead of paper towels we use plates for snacks and cloth rags for cleaning. Instead of paper napkins we use cloth, too. Instead of toilet paper, we use cloth.


Not quite. (Get the scoop here.)

Anyway, just little choices of reusing help me feel like I'm not just consuming and filling landfills with bunches of disposable junk. (Of course, the disposable diapers we use every day still bothers me ... but rashy bums are a different story for a different day...)

So, you all know that I like to repurpose things. I absolutely LOVE to buy second-hand and make something ugly into something beautiful. And, I'm not a professional at it, but it is so fulfilling knowing that I'm breaking the cycle of buy-new-buy-new-buy-new and using something that has already been loved and won't cease to exist if it goes into a garbage truck. And, if you don't like it, make it better!

(And, please, don't get me wrong. I love a thing with a tag pretty much as much as the next person. We buy plenty of new things. New clothes are my vice - shhh!! A few of the things we would only buy new are mattresses and pillows - used? Ick!) 

My repurpose case(s) in point:

(t-shirts into bloomers)

(old, yucky chair with gorg lines)

(vintage sheet into kitchen valance)

(25 cent record player ... yes! she will make her prettier appearance soon!)

And, just wait until you see the other repurposing projects I have in the works including: a livingroom makeover, a vintage dress into pillow covers, from shirt to baby dress and more! I think repurposing projects are some of my favorite to do and to find. People are just SO creative!!

Finally, we recycle.


It's INCREDIBLE how trash adds up when you don't put your paper, plastic, tin, aluminum, cardboard and glass into the recycling bin - it's crazy!! And, after living in Germany (where you can pretty much recycle most everything including food scraps), US recycling seems so limited. How I wish recycling was less about "can we make money on this?" and more about "let's work to keep our planet". Korea, Switzerland, Germany ... all of these first world countries can do it, why not us?

However, instead of complaining, I try to be grateful for what we can recycle and diligently do so. Every couple of weeks, we load it up in the backseat and take it about a mile down the road and dump it.

(I'd love to know exactly where it goes and how recycling is done here in Kansas, but I haven't checked that out yet. Maybe I will in the near future.)

So, get in on the conversation! How do you reuse? Do you like repurposing? What do you think about recycling?