Showing posts with label Simple Changes. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Simple Changes. Show all posts

Going waste free

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. 

New year's resolutions

New Year's-the time for renewal, refresh, and restarting. The New Year also prompts us to want to get things done, and a few habits changed. It seems that everyone is always ready to go with changes when the New Year hits, but they soon die out once the spring is here. I always try to keep the best goals, and the easiest goals, so that I don't fall back on bad habits. We are working on keeping some of the resolutions we made New Year's night. Of course, it is still January and easy to keep those resolutions so far, but we are doing well so far and I feel these new resolutions are worth keeping in order to be better for us and the environment.

1. Buy a new calendar and keep track of goals. I'm liking these from Orange Circle Studios this year, or pick up the same one The Bean is using this year from Just Seeds.

2. Walk 10-30 minutes every day (stairs, mailbox, grocery store, library-we are within walking distance of them all).

3. Meditate 15 minutes, yoga 15 minutes, and weight resistance 15 minutes-three times a week.

4. Stop hate. Start by not saying the word.

5. Drink more filtered water and green tea.

6. Track calories in and calories out. Modify if needed. (Eat a big breakfast-8:00 a.m., a medium luncheon-12:00 p.m., and a small dinner-5:00 p.m.).

7. Eat more foods grown on plants and less foods manufactured in plants-good start: blueberries, broccoli, almonds, and walnuts.

8. Purge old habits: Leaving shoes in the doorway, glasses on the nightstand, dirty clothes on the floor, wet towels on the bed, getting upset over the past, snacking mindlessly, skipping exercise, comparing anything to anyone, eating dinner late, settling, etc.

9. Make bed every day.

10. Shop more frugal and cut waste. Plastic is the goal-find ways to cut the dependency on plastics. Buy in bulk, use glass instead, and recycle what can be recycled in plastics that do come through the door. And for crying out loud make more fruit leathers and freezer pops!

Things to purge in January:

In order to keep from having piles of anything it's best to purge a few things at the beginning of the new year. Here are the things we purge in January in the SNS house. If any of the items on this list raise a red flag to you, it's best to hang onto them until you are sure they can be thrown away.

• Insurance policies from the year before: Auto/Health/House/Renters' Insurance/etc. It's a good idea to update your insurance policies each year just to make sure you are getting the coverage you need and the savings you deserve. If something in your life, auto, or living situation has changed be sure to inform your insurer so they can get you the best rate possible. Never go without insurance on your car, your home/rent, or life. It's not worth the risk.

• Warranty papers: If the start of the new year means a warranty or contract has expired toss it. There's no need to keep expired paperwork laying around. If it can't be renewed, or updated, then get rid of it.

• Paid bills in paper form: Any bill that was paid, even monthly utilities, can be tosses in the trash at the start of the new year. Don't throw away current bills that are due for the month, and the best way to avoid paper with this is to go paperless and get your monthly bills emailed to you. Some companies even have a way to set up text reminders when your bill is due, or if you're late on a bill.

• Paycheck stubs: Once you file your taxes and see that your W-2 numbers are correct you can toss these in the trash each year. Keeping all of your pay stubs until you file taxes is a great way to check that the numbers match up and your defense when you receive your W-2 from your employer.

• Old to-do lists: If you are a list maker make January the month that you get caught up on all of our to-dos. If you have a lot of them, start with the biggest one and work your way down to the smallest to-do. Work through the entire list for the month and get it done. If it's something that isn't that important to do then mark it off.

• Clothes you haven't worn all last year: Trust me on this, if you didn't wear it in a year you aren't going to wear it in another year. Just donate it and let someone else enjoy the threads. Here's what we do in our house. We turn hangers around and face them backwards so the hook part of the hanger is facing you. We hang every piece of clothing we own, t-shirts, pants, etc. The only items not hanging in our closets are delicate sweaters, undies, socks, and sleeping wear. As far as the closet goes, once you wear something turn the hanger around the right way. At the end of the year you get to see what you've worn and what you haven't worn. Also, if you keep to a certain number of items, say 20 hanging clothes, if you purge five items in January that leaves you five spaces to fill with something new throughout the year. It's a pretty good method and works well in our home-still working on the hats with the boys though.

• Dishes, appliance, or utensils: If you didn't use the large platter the entire year, or a small crock pot, chances are you aren't going to use it again. Donate it. We have a lot of things we either get as gifts, or buy thinking we are going to use them regularly and we use them once then there they sit. I bought a small white crock pot, similar to this one, and I thought I would make small meals in it during the day for The Bean and me, but I didn't. I used it for corn at Thanksgiving, but that was it. It's a cute item and would work great with someone that does small meals, or entertains a lot, but that just isn't us. So I donated it and I don't miss it.

• Purge old habits: Don't waste your precious energy on gossip, energy vampires, issues of the past, negative thoughts or things you cannot control. Invest our energy in the positive, the present moment, and the little things that make life wonderful. Spend your moments with people that build you up and less time with those that tear you down. And do the same for others. Remember, life isn't always fair, but it is good and most of us forget that we live a pretty privileged life. Don't waste your time hating anyone-life is too short for this. When you hate someone you give them control over you. Move past the hate, forgive and move on. You aren't so important that you have to win every argument. And don't take yourself so seriously, believe it or not, no one else does.

• A few more items: Donate these items!
-Board games you didn't play.
-Playing cards you didn't use.
-Sheets and pillow cases not used.
-Blankets not used.
-Makeup that's expired.
-Lotions/creams not used, or expired.
-Books not read.(unless you add them to this year's resolutions)
-Flower pots not filled.
-Gardening tools not used.
-Pet supplies not used.
-Coats and jackets not worn all year.
-Pens, pencils, markers, crayons not used all year.
-Household cleaners not used all year. (check with local laws to make sure you can dispose of these safety. The best way to avoid having chemicals like this on hand is to use greener cleaners-vinegar, baking soda, castile soaps, essential oils, etc.)
-Old paints. Donate to a local Habitat for Humanity, or other similar facility. If no facility is available in your area, allow the paint to dry with the lid off and dispose of in trash cans. (Which I find disturbing, so be sure to use water-based, nontoxic paints. White, flat paint goes a long way when giving a fresh coat to walls, or furniture. To avoid having excessive leftover paint, never buy more than you need for a project.)

Happy New Year!

Blue Friday-Blue Movement cleanup

Friday, November 24, 2017, was Blue Friday. To some it was Black Friday, but not in our house. We haven't participated in Black Friday for many, many years and the only time we went was twice, back-to-back years, and after a good kick in the leg from a lady with steel toed boots the last time we went I decided it just wasn't worth the effort, the money, or the time-or pain. The kick she gave me was on accident, but nonetheless it left a rather large hematoma on my leg for over a month.  So for a good alternative to the madness and the consumerism we decided to do something completely different and clean up a waterway around us by joining forces with United by Blue

The Willamette Valley has some of the most beautiful views with water or a snow capped mountain in the background, especially this time of year. This year, being our first year to participate, we decided to keep it small and clean up the local canal that runs through the city here. The Lebanon Santiam Canal has a stretch that is surrounded by a park-Ralston Park. There are a lot of homeless that congregate at the park during the day and into the evening. There is also a lot of foot traffic through the area too. Most people that visit the park are respectful, but once in awhile we get the few that don't seem to care and litter their trash, clothing, and cigarette butts. Tons of cigarette butts. We ended up clearing over 60 pounds of garbage. Most of it could be recycled, which made us sad to know that someone couldn't take the time to place the items in a recycle bin instead of the ground near water, or in the water. One of the cleanup crew member we had said the perfect explanation of why: It's because some people just don't care. heartbreaking, yet true. So to remedy that "don't care" attitude, help out year round and clean up after yourself and the ones that don't care. The more care you put into something the more it will offset the others. Here the highlights of our cleanup this year.

We received our kits and were really excited to get started with the cleanup. United by Blue included a Blue Movement bandanna with the kits this year and we wore them proudly. The kit also included a trash bag for waste, one for recycle, and some heavy duty rubber-tipped gloves.

We began the cleanup efforts at 2:00 p.m. west coast time and worked until 5:00 p.m. when the sun started to set.

We covered the entire length of the canal that the park surrounds. In between trash collecting and cigarette butt removal I took pictures of the cleanup.

Plastics are definitely not for the environment. 

A shoe.

The Bean removing rusted metal chicken wire.

The Bean found some unusual items in the canal. Here he found a broken, glass bong that someone had thrown off the bridge, but missed and it hit the bridge and broke into several large glass pieces.

Getting down and dirty with the cleanup.

Plastic bags, mylar balloons, cigarette butts, plastic container and bottle, chicken wire, glass, a marijuana container, needles, etc. It was absolutely shocking to see so much liter in our city's canal. Extremely disappointing.

United by Blue has great information on the Blue Movement on their website, Twitter, and Instagram. We will be setting a time and place each year where we live in order to participate. If you would like to get involved, you can do that right here. Or here!

Remember, every little bit helps and it does more good than you know! And I probably don't have to state this, but the best thing you can do to help out with the efforts is to not litter, pick up other's litter when you can, and always try to recycle items that can be recycled. My number one suggestion would be, don't bring waste into your home in the first place and stop using disposable items, especially plastics. Simple changes in your habits can have a big impact overtime.

-UNLESS someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not. -Dr. Seuss "The Lorax"