We live in a place that is not ours, it belongs to God. When we use something that is somebody else's usually we work hard to take extra good care of it. I am not sure that has always been the case with the things God has given us however. Sometimes we tend to take Him and His gifts for granted. I have been thinking about this more lately and I am trying to make my lifestyle more aware of keeping the earth that God is letting me live in clean and nice. I am writing this post to encourage you to also work towards wasting less and reducing the amount of trash that you throw in the landfill. I am sure many of you are already doing far better than I, and so maybe you can give me hints in improving my lifestyle. One thing I did want to mention though before I tell you what I have been doing is, though I think it is very good to become aware of what is going on environmentally and work towards improvement we don't ever want to become like the people mentioned in Romans 1:25 "For they exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and worshiped and served the creature rather than the Creator, who is blessed forever. Amen." We don't ever want to take our focus off of God.
One of the things that really bothers me environmentally is all the waste in our culture. We have so much stuff that is made to be used once and then thrown away. We also live in a society that just likes to buy, has to much stuff and throws perfectly good stuff in the landfill. I am really working at not doing that at our house. Here is some of what I do:
- We recycle our newspapers, cans, bottles, magazines, boxes and paper. I have done that for a while but recently we got more organized and we are trying to do even more. I am trying to make sure that every piece of throw away paper gets recycled and that every bottle gets rinsed out and recycled rather than ever thrown away. However I know that recycling takes a lot of energy and also I don't get anything out of it personally so I try to self recycle a lot of stuff instead of throwing it in a bin.
- I wash and re-use bags. I know this seems small but each bag I re-use is one less in the landfill and also I don't have to buy bags and use up resources that way. I do have a box of zip lock bags on hand but I bought it a few years ago and there is still plenty left. I wash bread bags, cheese bags, and zip lock bags. Growing up we also washed out sugar bags and veggie bags.
- We use cloth napkins. (Mostly anyway, Ken isn't sure that he likes them so we do keep the others on hand). Most of our napkins are homemade (other wise they were given to me) made out of remnants or old curtains. I really like cloth napkins which are much sturdier than the paper and they save you money too.
- We use cloth rags instead of paper towel. I do usually have paper towel on hand for draining bacon and stuff like that but we use them very rarely. Rags are made out of old clothes (absorbent t-shirts or flannel shirts) or old cotton socks. Sock rags are wonderful for dusting and little cleaning jobs. I cut them up the side and on the end (as pictured below) so that they open up flat.
- We are switching to florescent light bulbs. I think most of our home is now florescent, as they burn out we are changing them. This costs more at first but is supposed to save a lot of money in the long run. It also saves time as you don't have to change them as often and then reduces the amount of stuff going to the landfill.
- I compost all the organic material from my kitchen. This is so great for building up the soil in your garden too. I was so impressed this year at how fast it turned into good dirt. You might notice that I used old pallets for the compost bin and that I am reusing carpet in the garden to keep weeds down.
- For starting plants for my garden , I used milk jugs with their tops cut off and drain holes put in to plant the seeds in.
- We re-use containers. I have found that peanut butter jars work very well for freezing food in. You don't have to worry about it getting bumped open in the freezer. The others containers work well too. There is absolutely no need to buy bunches of containers when you can get so many for free. Also containers are easier to re-use then bags.
- We recycle lots of paper, magazines and cardboard by making cards and envelopes, kids crafts (my kids love to create and so I try to keep scrap paper, boxes, toilet paper tubes and magazines on hand for all their work), and drawing and just writing of notes and lists.
- I also enjoy using recycled material for gift wrapping.
- This is one of my more recent attempts at producing less waste. This is a Diva cup and it is used for your menstrual cycle. It is reusable and should last for years. I am impressed with it. This is also a great money saver as I paid $25 for it (including shipping) and it should last for at least 10 years during which time I should have to buy very little else. Crunchy Chicken is the blog where I learned about this and she has a lot more information. Here is a place you can buy one.
- Handkerchiefs are something we are trying to use more here. Ken has used them often but the kids and I hadn't much but lately we are trying. The kids think handkerchiefs are very fun so that is nice.
- I decided to include this picture as stuff like this is an important part of my recycling. For her birthday Mara really wanted butterfly or fairy wings. I used some old curtains (along with wire and a little fabric) to make some for her. I did much the same thing for all our costumes for the colonial class, using stuff that others had rejected to make something that worked for us.
- Old clothing is something that it seems like many people throw away, it is also one of my favorite things to recycle. I like to make bags like the one pictured above, I also enjoy making quilts, making "new" clothes, making rugs and cutting t-shirts into strips and knitting or crocheting them.
There I have shared with you some of the stuff I do. There are other things I am working on and dreams that I have but I will have to share them with you another time as it is getting quite late. As always I am always open to your thoughts and ideas too!