April 16, 2012

75% Less Garbage

As I was taking the garbage can out to the curb this morning, I looked in and had a wonderful surprise. The can was only about 25% full. It was a huge surprise, compared to normal. Normally, our can is overflowing. It was an incredibly pleasant surprise.

I love the idea of zero-waste. But my family is still working on minimalism - we'd never paid that much attention to actually practicing a zero-waste lifestyle. However, it seems our attempts at minimalism have even affected our garbage.

So when I got back inside I sat down and started thinking about what had caused this huge reduction in our waste. And thinking back, it's pretty simple.

  • We started using cloth bags at the grocery store (when we forget them, we use paper bags)
  • We bought more fresh food in cloth produce bags, instead of overpackaged junk
  • We switched from disposable diapers to cloth diapers (this saves us about $100-$200 a month)
  • We stopped using ziplock bags and switched to glass spaghetti jars to put our leftovers in
  • We put our used coffee grounds in our indoor plants - it makes great fertilizer!
I think, if we were allowed to compost where we live, we'd only fill up about 10% of our garbage can. Wouldn't that be wonderful?

Today's challenge is simple. Pick one small change you can do in your home to produce less waste. You'd be surprised how big of a difference it can make. If you don't know what to do, try one of these:
  • Compost!
  • Switch to cloth grocery and produce bags
  • By more fresh food instead of packaged foods
  • Switch to cloth diapers instead of disposable, underwear instead of pullups (they potty train faster this way, too)
  • Keep leftovers and pack lunches in stainless steel or glass containers
  • Stop drinking bottled water - reusable water bottles are soooo much better
  • Switch to a digital version of your newspapers and magazines
  • Buy bulk soaps and toiletries, and get them in reusable or recycled packaging if you can
  • Shop at your farmer's/holiday market!!
  • Use cloth napkins instead of paper ones
  • Towels and washclothes instead of paper towels and clorox wipes
What have you done to reduce your families waste?

Further Reading:
The Zero Waste Home: Tips
Zero Waste America
EcoCycle Zero Waste at Home Guide
EcoCycle Compost Guide

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