Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Living with less Waste


Recently I enjoyed reading the article "Put you life on a diet" by Misty M. Lees. She talks about the American dream and how it has changed over the years and how we need to re-think the modern concept of the "American dream" where everything revolves around how much stuff we have. Though I don't agree with everything she said 100% I did really enjoy the article and think you might as well. I encourage you to read it.

In her article she had a section called: "Trimming your waste line: 50 ways to use less, waste less" This is something that is pretty important to me as well. I have brought the list over here and I took out the things in the list that we don't do (not that they are bad, it just isn't a part of our life - I encourage you to read the article to check them out) and then added some more in (in green) so that the list contains 50 things that our household does to create less waste. Here they are:

PLASTICS, PETROCHEMICALS, AND PACKAGING
Learn to love your unique looks without cosmetics— others will too.
Use less laundry detergent. Are your clothes really that dirty?
Borrow books, CDs, DVDs, and video games from the library, rental store, or friends.
Use fewer household cleaners. Try soap and water, baking soda, or vinegar instead.
Make your own safer laundry detergent.
Use less dishwasher soap.

FOOD AND LAND
Skip prepared and frozen food. Make dinners from scratch; make lunches from leftovers.
Buy produce from local farms, Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), or co-ops.
Grow a vegetable garden and eat from it.

GASOLINE
Carpool, walk, bike, or ride a bus to work and on errands when possible.
Use a push mower and trim bushes by hand.
Shop online or by phone rather than drive around.
Enjoy staying home.

BUILDING MATERIALS
Clean out your garage, basement, and closets rather than buy a home with more space.
Try to find ways to use up every scrap and cut down waste.

STUFF
Avoid shopping for fun.
Rent a truck, power tools, and camping equipment when the need arises from a rental company.
Limit your holiday gift giving and make personal gifts like homemade bread.
Shop at garage sales and thrift stores.
Re-make your old stuff into new stuff.

CREATE LESS TRASH
Learn to do your own repairs rather than throw things away.
Swap and recycle anything and everything you can; join Freecycle.org.
Use raked leaves and cut grass as mulch.
Throw vegetable and fruit scraps into compost.
Use every scrap such as making scrap quilts and using scraps in scrapbooking and card making.

ALUMINUM
Use recyclable containers when possible.
Put a cookie sheet instead of foil on the bottom oven rack to catch drips.
Wash and reuse the aluminum foil that does get used in your house.

WATER
Reuse bath water for plants.
Wash clothes after two wearings instead of one (hang them inside-out after one use).
Flush less often.
Wash your car less—and do it yourself with a bucket. (we don't do the bucket thing much but we don't wash our vehicle much either. But that is from to cold of weather and lack of time mostly.)
Work at taking shorter showers.

PAPER (wood)
Borrow books from the library.
Use the back side of copy paper.
Give gently used books and magazines to a nursing home, hospital library, or literacy group.
Share magazine subscriptions with friends.
Print coupons and other things on scrap paper.
Use catalogs, magazines, boxes, etc. for craft projects.
Store files on your computer rather than printing it out.

ELECTRICITY
Turn out the lights when you leave a room.
Use lower wattage bulbs or unscrew one from a too-bright fixture.
Use compact fluorescent bulbs.
Chose not to have lots of gadgets and toys that run on electricity.
Put lids on pots to help stuff cook more efficiently.
Plan your baking time so you can make full use of the oven when it is on.

CLOTHING AND MATERIAL
Give clothing you don’t wear to charity.
Learn how to mend clothes.
Save dingy towels, holey T-shirts, and old sheets for cleaning rags and dropcloths.
Recycle old denims or wool suits to make a woven or braided rag rug.
Use clothing that you would otherwise discard to make into new clothing.

There are some things on this list that I questioned about saying we do (like cleaning out your home and garage rather than buying a bigger one with more space) as I am not sure that our intent is the same as the writers but I decided to leave them as they are fairly accurate anyway.

I would love to hear what you do to create less waste!!
For more Thrifty Green Thursday tips go here.

5 comments:

liz said...

Thank you for sharing. There are some really good ideas here. We already do several of these, but we can definitely improve in some areas.

Joy said...

What a wonderful list! It's nice that so many of the items on the list not only cut costs and cut waste, but also make life easier. All that earning and consuming is exhausting many families so it's nice to see that if we reprioritze we can focus on what's most important. (Which isn't more stuff!) Thanks for sharing with us this Thrifty Green Thursday!

Rebecca said...

Thanks to an excellent recycling and composting program, we have very little waste--about a quarter of our 32 gallon trash can each month. That said, I have been thinking that I need to start cutting down on the amount we throw into the recycling bin, too. This list can help me think of ways to cut down even more.

We're glad to have you back for Thrifty Green Thursday!

Candy said...

Great post, I love all the ideas!

splendid said...
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