Thursday, February 8, 2018

50 Ways You Can Create Less Waste This Year

  This past October I had a lot of fun working to live a zero waste lifestyle. Though I haven't been quite as strict since then I have still been making steps to live the lifestyle more on a normal basis. I guess I have been making steps towards doing that for a very long time but I just wanted to point out that I am still making progress. This is a goal but not a finished process.

 So, with it still being near the beginning of the year I thought I would list a bunch of different ways that we can create less trash this year. Maybe you would like to work towards the goal of creating less trash as well. If so, I would love to have you join me...

  1. Throw no food scraps in the garbage. Instead you can compost them, feed them to your chickens or various other animals or give them to somebody else who has animals and would gladly feed them your scraps.
  2. Use cloth napkins. It is easy to make your own. We really like the ones that I have made out of cotton polo shirts.
  3. Bring your own bags to all stores. I have discovered that in stores other than grocery stores they don't seem to expect you to supply your own bag but it works just fine. In some stores you actually get a few cents taken off your total for each bag used.
  4. Pack your lunches instead of going through a drive through.
  5. See what you can do to get less junk mail. This site has some ideas. I just signed up at this place but I have no idea whether it works or not.
  6. Make your own spray cleaner and put it in a re-used spray bottle.
  7. Drink tap water (or your own filtered water) and bring your own re-usable water bottle with you.
  8. Skip drinking pop/soda. It isn't good for you anyway.
  9. Bring your own cup to fill if you want to get coffee, tea, hot chocolate or I guess even pop at a gas station.
  10. Make food from scratch instead of buying pre-made heavily packaged food.
  11. Buy second hand whenever possible (though not food! ) and avoid all the extra packaging.
  12. Use handkerchiefs instead of tissue. I suggest making your own from old flannel sheets or pajamas or shirts.
  13. Save and re-use your wrapping paper until it is past that and you have to burn or recycle. Then use fabric pieces or bags for wrapping with.
  14. Buy food from bulk bins at your grocery store or health food store. Take your own containers, get a tare weight on them and then fill them. I guess you can also do that at the deli counter but I haven't tried that yet.
  15. Make your own deodorant.
  16. If you want to subscribe to something (a paper or a magazine, etc) do it digitally if possible.
  17. Mend your clothes and make them last as long as you can.
  18. Make your own salad dressings. I haven't been doing very good at this and I would like to get better at it. I saw this dressing recipe and would like to try it.
  19. Bring your own cloth produce bags to the grocery store. I still need to make some for me so that is a project in my future. If that sounds challenging to you - check out this simple tutorial.
  20. Get your eggs from your own chicken coop or from a local farmer and re-use the cartons over and over again. (Take them back to the farmer for him to use.) When they are finally completely worn out you can compost them or start a fire with them.
  21. I want to try out making a bees wax cloth wrap to use instead of cling wrap. I use cling wrap quite rarely but still I would like it to be not at all.
  22. Bake your own bread and skip the plastic bag that comes with store bought bread. It really isn't that hard. And it tastes so good!
  23. Make your own tortillas too. Again, they taste so much better!
  24. Buy your milk straight from a farmer if possible in your own glass bottles that you can use over and over again. We are so thankful that this is available to us - both in being able to buy cows' milk and my parents giving us goats' milk.
  25. Make your own yogurt and skip all those little (or big) plastic containers.
  26. Make your own toothpaste.
  27. Skip the dryer sheets and the fabric softener. Generally they really aren't needed. The smell they provide is unnatural and gives many of us headaches anyways. I think they do help a little to cut down on static cling but if you line dry your clothes you never will have issues with that and when you use the dryer just try to not over dry your clothes and then it will usually not be a big problem. I have been meaning to try making wool dryer balls again, this post tells all about them for an alternative.
  28. There are alternatives to buying shampoo and conditioner (which pretty much always come in plastic bottles). I personally have used the no 'poo method for years and have been fairly satisfied with it. You can read about how I do it here.
  29. Use bar soap instead of liquid hand soap and you can use a lot less plastic packaging (and save a fair amount of money). I like to get homemade soap that is not packaged personally.
  30. Use rags instead of paper towels. You can make them from old towels, cotton t-shirts, etc.
  31. Use bar soap instead of shaving cream. An electric razor is another way to avoid using shaving cream.
  32. I found that I could buy toilet paper in bulk and also not packaged in plastic at a local paper supply store. All the packaging now can easily be recycled or used for fire starter, etc.
  33. I personally prefer methods that create no waste for dealing with my menstrual cycle. Here is how I made cloth pads. I also use the Diva Cup.
  34. I have tried to make ketchup before but it wasn't successful - here is another recipe I have found. I think I might need to try it and hopefully I can stop buying plastic bottles with ketchup in them.
  35. Use cloth diapers. I haven't done this for many years but I was glad to do it when I had babies.
  36. Use cloth wipes too. Simply having a set of wash cloths for this purpose only that you get wet before you change their diaper works wonderfully. Just wash them with the diapers.
  37. Say "No" to unneeded freebies that businesses offer.
  38. Skip wearing make-up. I know this isn't desired for many but I am happy with life that way and it saves money and time as well as not creating trash.
  39. Turn old clothes into quilts or rag rugs.
  40. Can your own food in season with re-usable canning lids.
  41. Make your own sprouts.
  42. Buy food in bulk. We actually buy quite a few things in 50 lb. bags (wheat, rye, oatmeal, popcorn, rice, etc) which are generally nice paper bags that can be re-used/recycled. We then store it away in containers and eat on it throughout the year. This is only a good thing when you actually use what you buy. We do. We are quite careful not to overbuy and waste food. I also buy my cheese in 40 lb chunks which greatly reduces the amount of cheese packaging that I have to deal with.
  43. But your animal food in bulk. I am still wanting to figure this out for our cat and dog but for the chickens and rabbits this is working wonderfully. It saves a lot of money and I have no waste as I can bring back the bags that they put it in to be re-used. 
  44. Use baking soda for scrubbing sinks, tubs and toilets.
  45. Any plastic bread bags or zip lock bags or whatever sort of bags - wash them and re-use them over and over and over. Except I don't re-use ones that have meat in them. But I try whenever possible to put meat in containers rather than bags.
  46. Make your own underwear from old t-shirts. I have also been wanting to try making bras but haven't done that yet. Here is someone else's blog post on how to do that.
  47. Skip the breakfast cereal (with all it's packaging) and eat homemade granola or oatmeal or homemade pancakes or eggs and toast (from homemade bread) instead. 
  48. Make your own laundry detergent.
  49. Make your own lotion.
  50. Skip out on using paper or Styrofoam plates and cups whenever possible and just keep handy camping gear and such like that you can use instead.

There are way more ways to reduce our trash use than that but at least it will get us started. :-) By the way, nearly all of these ideas will also save a fair amount of money as well. It is a win-win!


Nola said...

I finally started vermi-composting indoors. :) Its so easy! No smell either! I also compost outdoors but only outdoor clipping etc due to bears.

cb said...

Love this list. We have instituted many of these items. Not only saves waste and money...but most changes are much healthier

Shauna said...

Lots of great ideas! I do quite a few of these already, and you gave me some more ideas. Years ago I printed out some salad dressings from your blog, and still use them! One was an Italian type and also the ranch I make I think also originated from here.
An idea about the produce bags, at thrift stores you can often find old sheers (curtains) and they are perfect for that, and so cheap, as they are not wanted anymore. The ones I made had '70's orange flowers on them for example, but are sheer, so see through, which is handy and light too. French seams work well to keep the fraying edges enclosed, and I made them long and narrower, and then a loose knot can be tied at the top.
I enjoy your blog, a friend from the north, Shauna

Abbi said...

Nola, That is really cool! I have wanted to try that but never have. That seems like a perfect solution for your situation.

Shauna, That is a great idea for produce bags. Now to get them made!


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