Going waste free

January 17, 2018

We have gone down to a smaller trash can in our house in order to help reduce our wasteful habits. There is so many things that contribute to waste that all of us take for granted every day. I am having the hardest time cutting the habit of buying milk and cheeses in some sort of plastic. The local food co-op here sells milk in glass jars, but the cap on top is made of plastic. So either that goes into the recycle bin, or I find another way to reuse it. I hate plastic. It's one of the many things, including Styrofoam, that I honestly can't find a reason why it even exists. In the 1800s, and even the early 1900s, there wasn't plastic-there wasn't even tape. People will argue and say that plastic has helped a lot, but there has to be another way before depending on plastic. Plastic and Styrofoam are not for the environment. Period.

Our smaller trash can has been a change for us. The first week was embarrassing, to say the least. 
The poor can was stuffed to the brim with things that couldn't be recycled. Meaning, it was all waste headed straight for the landfill. I had a thought of, maybe some of that could go into the recycling: The plastic takeout container, the paper coffee cup, the plastic spoon from some random stop for ice cream. Unfortunately, that thought came as the big blue garbage truck was dropping the can back on our green-ish lawn. How upsetting. And how stupid we had been bringing those wasteful items into our home in the first place. So from that point on we have made it our mission. A pact, so to speak, to reduce our waste. 

I'd like to say we have another theme for the blog, like a Waste-free Wednesday, or something just as catching, but the thing is, I want to be waste-free every day of the week. Waste-free Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, etc. You get the point. My only issue is, in order to go completely waste-free there are certain things we have to make a decision on and we just aren't there yet. I love milk, and I love cheese. I love dairy anything, but until we can find a way to get around the plastics issue with buying those items we have to accept the fact that this isn't the 1800s, or even the 1900s and some plastic has to go to the recycle bin after we consume it. 

Here is a working list of items we've stopped using and their replacements. Maybe this list can help you go waste-free too:

1. Paper towels-Cloth napkins
2. Plastic-wrapped toilet paper-Paper wrapped version.(Cardboard rolls get used for seed starts in spring)
3. Paper cups-Say no to disposable and use your own. All you have to do is ask.
4. Take out containers-Bring our own reusable containers instead.
5. Plastic bottles, cans, glass bottles-We recycle everything, if it can't be recycled, we don't buy it, or use it.
*One more item that might get a nose snub is the reusable cloth pads. I've been using them for several years now while supplementing the cotton/plastic pads. This year I hope to be less dependent on the cotton/plastic ones and rely on the cloth ones more. The ones I like are from here.

It's no easy task going waste-free and those around you that aren't going waste-free might make it more challenging, but don't lose sight of what your goal is. It's so easy to get into a routine and lose track of what bad habits we've let ourselves get into. Start like we have and make five simple changes and when those become routine, add a few more. Making simple changes is what it's about. 

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