Friday, January 10, 2014

{365} Challenge: Reduce the Trash

Today's Challenge: Reduce the Trash

My challenge came to me in a dream this morning.  In my dream, I was watching TV in my childhood living room.  You might remember those beastly box TV sets in which you had to turn the dial to one of 10 channels?  Yeah, that was in my dream too.  The news was on and it was showing how our waste these days are at an all time high.

It started me thinking about how I can cut back on the trash around here.

How can I help reduce the trash at the landfills?

There are so many ways for us to use less and I feel like I already do a lot.  Part of my motivation to use less is that it saves us money.  I am a Stay-at-Home-Mom so we are on one-income; that means I need to save so we can do the things we enjoy.

We have neighbors next door that each week, fill (to overflowing) their trash can and the recycle can with garbage.  Both cans get piled high with pizza boxes and trash bags.  Each week they have to rotate which can to take to the curb and they never get caught up.  Their trash blows into my yard and it disgusts me.  Part of me wants to consume even less to make up for the massive carbon footprint they leave behind.

As I walked around my house this morning, I tried to find the areas in which we can reduce our garbage.

Ways to use less:

Household cleaners:
1. I make my own laundry detergent and it lasts us about 10 months.  I spend $20 buying the supplies to make it.  That saves me about $160 over that time period and I then use less containers of detergent that will end up in the landfill.  The recipe I use is from How Does She?

2. You can make your own general purpose cleaners, dusting solution, granite cleaner, toilet and bathroom cleaners, etc.  The Homestead Survival has all these recipes and more.  By using the same bottle over and over and making your own solutions, you save money and waste!

3. All She Cooks has recipes for dishwasher detergent and other household cleaners.

4. Cut your dryer sheets in half.  You don't really need a whole one to do the job.

Kids and Baby:
5. Cloth diaper!  We have been cloth diapering Baby B and it has saved us a lot already.  Initial start-up is around $500 and the diapers can be used the whole time they are in diapers.  Disposables run from $1500-3000 for the same time frame.  Diapers do not biodegrade either so they are just filling up the landfill.  Cloth diapers can be re-used and often sold to other mama's for close to their original price. What disposable diaper can bring you that same return for your money?

6.  Make your own cloth wipes.  I get used receiving blankets at the thrift store, wash them, then cut them into 8x8 inch squares.  I place the squares right side in and make them the same way I make my burp rags.  Flannel also works great.  I use a homemade solution from this recipe by Homemade Ginger.

7.  Homemade boogie wipes.  Why spend the money and waste the packaging when these are easily made at home using this recipe by One Good Thing?

8.  Buy used!  Places like Once Upon a Child or local swap sites on Facebook offer great ways to buy used gear at a fraction of the price.  Baby will grow out of this stuff quickly.  If you have a baby close in a age with a friend, think about sharing or loaning each other equipment and clothing.  Same rule applies for sports equipment as they grow.  Adults can find great used items for clothing and home at places like Thrift Town.

The one thing you should NOT get used, ever, is a carseat.  You have no way of knowing whether or not the carseat has been in an accident or not.  When it is time for you to replace a carseat, make sure you strip everything off of it, cut the straps up, and toss each piece in the garbage on separate days so that someone else doesn't grab it out of the trash to use.

Around the Home:
9. Re-use items for gardening.  You can use egg cartons to start seedlings.

10.  Start a compost pile.

11. Re-purpose old items into something new.  Tomorrow I will be sharing a really cool kid's kitchen that my friend Kate made.

You can also use things like old ladders for blanket racks, tires for potting beds in a garden, cans and jars for votive and pen holders, and old fruit crates for shelves.  Have old CD's laying around?  After you download the music to your computer, try using the discs for art.

12.  Use cloth napkins and paper towels.  We have been doing this for years.  Every so often we purchase a new set of cloth napkins and the old ones work great for garage rags.

13.  Pack a lunch and cook from home.  Don't eat out (all that trash from the wrappers!) and cook meals at home. Pack leftovers for lunch.

14.  Use old papers for scrap paper for jotting down notes or for the kid's homework.

15.  Buy in Bulk.  Places like Costco and Sam's Club have bigger items with less packaging than purchasing the same amount at a regular grocery store.

16.  Donate!  Donate items that you cannot sell to places like Goodwill and Salvation Army.  Someone might love the things that you no longer care for.

17.  Save boxes!  I save every box (to the chagrin of my husband) that I get from Amazon or gifts.  I use them to wrap presents in, transport items, and to contain glitter and glue messes from crafting.  I try to get the most use out of them before they make it to the recycling plant.  They also make great cat traps.

18.  Borrow movies from friends or check You Tube to see if they are there, rather than buying more new DVD's.

19.  Borrow books too!  Either from the library or a friend.  Or, get a Kindle or a tablet to download books with and save all of those trees.

20.  Enjoy throwing parties?  Purchase a special set of dishes for entertaining instead of buying paper plates and utensils every time.  A white set matches everything.  Check the dollar store!

Know of other ways to cut back on trash?  Post it below!

You can catch up on all of my challenges here.

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