Recycling is important, but our goal is not to recycle more but to use less. Did you know that only 9% of the world’s recyclables end up getting recycled?? The rest ends up in landfills!!
Start by asking yourself “Do I really need this?”, I know we want things, but as we get used to living a less wasteful life we find that our wants change. We simply want less stuff! Here are a few tips to get you started:
- Mason Jars! I love to keep my pantry staples in Mason Jars. I find it keeps it neat, easy to find, and helps keep pesky bugs away! We use them for leftovers, pantry items, bag clips…endless uses! Plus it looks all #mariekondo – esque! Makes my Monica side happy too – “Freinds” reference!
- Reusable sandwich bags. I’ve tried several brands and really love the Lunchskins bags and the Stasher bags. The Stasher bags are great for cheese and wet items. We take them hiking, store items in them, take them in the car etc. Quick tip: Use a Chalk Marker to write the contents on the bags, you can then erase it and write the next item that goes in the bag.
- Reusable cutlery set. My husband and I both carry a roll-up pouch that contains a spoon, fork, and chopsticks and we added a knife, metal straw, and cloth napkin over time. I really like the Numu set because the for tines stab well and are spaced far enough apart to allow for easy cleaning.
- Reusable water bottle!!!! This is an easy adjustment and can make a huge difference! In the US 1500 bottles are tossed a second – not day, SECOND. I like the insulated metal bottles the best, keeps my drink cool all day even in a hot car. Or hot. When I’m hiking I will take hot tea for an afternoon break. We like Hydroflask.
- Concentrated Cleaners As a Shaklee distributor I really appreciated products that use fewer bottles etc. By using concentrated cleaners in reusable bottles you can help keep 1000’s of plastic bottles out of landfills and hazardous waste sites. We use Basic H2.
- Reusable Grocery Bags, there is some debate about this. Some are concerned that the process of making the bags combined with the waste from old bags is such a large concern that it negates what we are trying to accomplish. My husband works with landfills, however, and he says plastic bags are the bane to landfills. They escape, end up in oceans, all over the landfill, and never break down. I think choosing wisely and really using them makes a difference. Quick tip: Forgot to take them into the store? Just ask the bagger to put your items straight into the cart and them bag them when you get to your car.
- Glass Storage Jars. Outside of Mason jars we also use rectangular storage containers for leftovers. Most have plastic lids with silicone seals, but it’s still a step in the right direction. It allows us to reuse while also guarding against leaching from plastics. The lid rarely touches anything. Plus you can safely re-heat in them and even freeze them. I like the ones from Ikea – OK…I like everything from Ikea, but thes work well and are cheapy cheapy!
- Make your own rags. Old clothes and towels that wear out end up in landfills. Instead, try using pinking shears and cutting them into squares to use for cleaning. We use rags instead of paper towels. It takes a little adjusting, but once you’re used to you almost forget about paper towels completely. Quick Tip: Pinking sheers (those rigged scissors that look like Jack-o-Lantern teeth) help keep the rags from getting stringy and unraveling as quickly.
- Reusable Make up remover pads. This is something I have come to love!! Something like this. Mine are soft and white cloth rounds and work great. They get stained after a while, especially if you use it for mascara, but they wash up well and I figure they are on display so it doesn’t matter if they get stained. But please don’t use bleach – it is a dangerous product for your health. We use Nature Bright.
- Cloth Napkins. We have used cloth napkins for years and I love it. Actually…be warned…it becomes a sort of addiction, like…oooooOOOO I need ones for every season!!! But we are trying to cut back right? Right? I have napkins that were my grandmother’s and my mother’s. We just keep them in a bin in the dining room and grab and go. Plus I have Nature Bright, mentioned above, and I can keep them stain-free!