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Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eleven Ways To Reduce Waste In 2011

By: Notes From The Frugal Trenches

This year I'm fine tuning a few of my routines, beginning new challenges and trying to be purposeful about reducing waste. Here are the top 11 ways I'm reducing waste in 2011!

1. I've begun vermicomposting in my urban apartment! I have a box full of red worms which eat all my kitchen scraps! I was a tad nervous in the beginning, but it has been exceptionally easy! As I don't have a garden to compost this is the perfect solution!

2. I use re-usable batteries and charge them up as needed!

3. I take my own bags to the grocery shop

4. I have stopped buying plastic wrapped fruit & veg as much as possible, taking my own bags to place produce in. When I do have to buy something pre-wrapped, I re-use the wrapping

5. If I'm going out for coffee or tea {rare!} I try to remember to bring my own thermos or re-usable cup

6. I use reusable toilet paper {and after a few months it seems 100% normal now, so much so I'll talk about it in conversation and not remember 99.9% of people have no clue what I mean!!}

7. I use reusable feminine products!

8. I don't use any paper towels for cleaning or kitchen messes

9. Before I throw something away I check that I can't donate it

10. I try not to buy anything that can't be recycled or composted!

11. I've gone paperless with all my bills and statements!

I'm amazed that 11 simple steps have basically brought me to a place of not having garbage, or at the very least a very small amount of rubish each week. On top of that I save a huge amount of money by making these small changes in my life!

How do you cut down on waste? Do you find the measures you take save you money too?


Kim said...

Perfect Post for me Today!! I realized today that even w/12 childcare children this is the 2nd time this month we've not had any trash to put out @ the curb on pick up day!! one more month of this cycle & I will get to down size to the SMALL can! eeeeeeeeeee!! How is the vermiposting going! I am so tempted!!

Kristy Newton said...

Reusable toilet paper? How does that work? I'm genuinely interested!

Mrs. J @ Road Less Traveled said...

Great post! It really is surprising how easy it is to cut down on waste. My husband and I have implemented many of the changes that you listed, already. We are down to about 1 bag of garbage a month! And we're working to get to less than that.

If we have a choice, we pick food with less packaging. Usually we opt for bulk items that we can put into our own containers! And we compost EVERYTHING compost-able these days.

The majority of "trash" can actually be recycled, reused, or composted! Once you get in that mindset it's easy to reduce waste.

Kate said...

Buying in bulk is a great way for me to save money and reduce waste. It helps of course that I have plenty of room to accommodate big purchases. When I buy 25 or 50 pound bags of kitchen staples (rice, beans, flour, sugar, etc.) the bags are always heavy paper, which is far better than plastic, and less packaging overall than 1- or 5-pound bags of the same items. But best of all, those heavy bags are terrific for sheet mulching. I've also taken to collecting the same sorts of paper bags from the feed mill where I buy my chicken feed. They get alfalfa and fish meal in those bags and mix it into various feeds. They really come in handy for the garden, and they'd just otherwise be burned. Saves me effort and time, and a good way to sequester carbon!

Laura @ Getting There said...

We try to reduce waste, by many of the same methods you've mentioned, but it seems that we are still throwing out way too much...part of the problem is that we have a tiny, shaded yard and no compost system in place. I would love to try composting with worms, if the initial set-up is not too expensive.

I've also noticed that most of our garbage is food packaging--every loaf of bread comes in a bag, every pound of meat comes in a styrofoam tray, etc. We really need to work on that. One thing we might do is buy all our meat from a butcher, so it comes in paper that can then be recycled or composted.

Tim Majorins said...

These are great ideas! However, there are two reasons for me to keep paper towels in my kitchen... After sweeping up broken glass I wipe the area with a damp PT to pick up the tiny unsweepable flecks and the second is for draining bacon or homemade donuts (the oil on towels mess up my laundry). -Neither happen often so a roll lasts forever but I am up for suggestions on how to eliminate these uses. Thanks!


Jessica said...

Reusable toilet paper is the best! We do that along with "If it's yellow let it mellow, if it's brown flush it down" and the lack of tp helps save even more water.

Frogdancer said...

I'd rethink the paperless statements from the bank. If the system ever went down, you'd REALLY want a record of how much of your money they have in their coffers.

It may never be needed... but I think it's too important not to have that little bit of insurance.

On the less waste side... we got 6 chickens this year and it's incredible how much less garbage we throw out now. Those birds eat just about anything we care to give them.

Jessica said...

Kristy - Get some flannel wipes, cut to the size of baby wipes, keep a pile by 'the John', and use as TP. When you're done put them in a wetbag. I wash mine with my baby's cloth diapers.

The Improbable Farmer said...

I'm really interested in the reusable TP. Never heard of it.

I started using the Diva Cup and Glad Rags for reusable feminine products and I love it!

My crazy thing is to reuse any packaging I have and fill it with bulk items or homemade things as I cycle through my store bought stuff. I can find Oil, Vinegar, syrup, etc at my local co-op in bulk so I reuse those containers and I've resolved to stop buying dressing so I'm reusing my old bottles as they are done.

I never thought I would get a high from leaving the store with NO new packaging in my bags.

Hazel said...

I worked hard last year to reduce our waste, and although we throw out far less than any of our neighbours, it could still be reduced.

It is food packaging that's the issue. I do a lot of baking and I've struggled (in the UK) to find even bulk suppliers of ingredients like dried fruit that come in recyclable packaging. I think I've found a co-op that a friend and her SIL are keen to join in with, so hopefully I may have cracked that one.

Other than that I just need to keep working on the grandparents that feel the need to constantly hand over gifts of crisps and sweets every time we see them...

Old cotton tshirts that are too tatty to pass on are good for cloth TP. I use a fabric wet bag too. There's no smell and I just put them in with whatever needs washing as my children are past the nappy (diaper) stage.

Hana - Marmota said...

What do you do with your compost, if you do not have garden?
That's what I'm mostly wondering about...

Kate said...

Tim, pages torn from old phone books work just as well as paper towels for soaking up oil from greasy foods. They're also the perfect size for cleaning windows. And they're free.

Mitty said...

We use hankies instead of facial tissues, and it is surprising how much that plus vermicomposting has reduced our trash. I still struggle with food packaging. I buy in bulk as much as possible, but many things we use (such as mushrooms) come in those darned plastic packages. I can get them in bulk if I drive for an hour, burning gasoline all the way.

louisa @ TheReallyGoodLife said...

I'm like Hazel - the majority of our waste is non-recyclable food packaging and while we do produce considerably less waste than our neighbours, I'd still like to reduce it further.

The worst packaging for me is plastic film - non-recyclable and hard to reuse. I'm going to concentrate on three things to reduce it in our house this year: 1) making more of my own bread, biscuits & crackers; 2) make my own soap; 3) avoid multi packs where they're held together by yet more film.

kim whilhelm said...

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kim whilhelm said...

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