Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Reducing our waste

Last Saturday P-Daddy got up early to take out the trash and made the comment that we've only been sending out trash once a week lately. The trash runs twice, but for the last couple months, we rarely have a full bag by the second pick-up. Being the skeptic that I am, I wondered if it was just that he was not emptying all the trash cans. But no, all are in good shape. Huh. We have apparently been slowly working our way further into a lifestyle of reduce~reuse~recycle, and we finally have some evidence of it!

Since I view such a step as crucial to making an international move, especially to a developing country, I've been thinking about this a lot. While I may amend my reasoning in the future, I currently think there are 5 things we are doing that are helping us along this path.
1) First, we try not to waste food. P-Daddy is especially diligent in this area, much more so than I am. He is adamant about ensuring that leftovers get eaten rather than getting tossed. No worries, this doesn't mean that we are eating things slightly on the edge of questionability - we just are making great efforts to consume what we have before we buy or prepare more. Eating down the pantry in July really helped with this.

2) We compost when we can. I keep a bag in the freezer for vegetables pieces that can be used for veggie stock, but the rest goes into our compost bin rather than into our trash can. At some point in the future I will make my own composter, but for now, we have one that we bought from Woot, and we really like it. See that mutant spider-looking thing behind the incredibly cute kid? That's our composter (and our kiddo). I love that it's round and we can easily mix up the contents when we need to.

3) We strive for natural foods over processed ones. Not only does this reduce waste, it also reduces cost. We can buy many of our staples from the bulk bins, and fruits and veggies, especially the ones we get in our veggie co-op, have very little packaging. Because we seldom buy individually packaged processed treats, that type of waste is not a big contributor to our waste bin.

4) We rarely use disposables like foil and sandwich bags. Instead, we tend to pack into reusable plastic containers that we can bring home and wash. This does mean that we do more dishes - any suggestions on reducing waste while also reducing water usage would be greatly appreciated ;-)

5) We reuse and recycle whenever we can. Our trash can rarely has anything plastic, cardboard, or glass in it. When we get rid of those things, they go directly into our recycling bin. However, we are trying more and more to reuse those items when possible. Lately, I've been on a hunt for craft projects for Pooh or the house that reuse common household items. Hopefully I'll have some later posts about some of those, but for now, I'm collecting ideas on pinterest.

As we plan more and more for our move, not only do we want to be good stewards of the earth, but we want to reduce our costs, and we want to have a sustainable lifestyle. By learning now to reduce~reuse~recycle, we are well on our way to all of those things!

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