Garbage gets me down. I'm stunned each week by how full our can is when carted to the street. Even before a baby, this household sent quite a load to the dump. I'm ashamed. I try to make myself feel better by piling the recycle bin to bursting. I carry reusable bags to the grocery store. I wrap our baby in cloth diapers–most of the time. But I'm not so naive to believe that this makes up for the horrendous mounds of junk that we throw out each month. And yes, I also know that many items we think are being recycled actually end up in the ocean. What we do with garbage stinks!
Now that I have more time at home I want to make a serious effort to reduce the waste we toss. Since I write this after making two trips out to our garbage can, I guess I haven't put much into that effort yet. I realize what really needs to happen first is I need to learn how to cook. If I cooked more meals from scratch, we would have fewer items in the recycle bin for starters. What about personal hygiene product containers? Is there anything I can do to limit that type of trash? Some people make their own soaps and shampoos and keep it in reusable bottles. I've been thinking of looking into that. If I could cut out one bag of garbage like, I don't know, a month, every two months–what's reasonable?–that's something. You might say it won't begin to make a dent globally speaking, but why rush to thinking of the whole planet? I can't clean the whole planet. But I can take better care of my speck on it. And I might save money, eat better, feel healthier, and be happier in the process.
I'm asking for help from everyone who reads this. Help me think of new ways to reduce our addition to the garbage patch.
So here is my list of what we do now (not to pat ourselves on the back but just to let you know so we don't get repeats):
1. recycle (glass, plastics with the "right" numbers, paper, tin and aluminum cans– you know!)
2. reusable bags for groceries (though I often get the plastic ones and use as trash bags! Gah! And hey, why don't I use cloth bags for other types of shopping, too? Duh! Why did I JUST now think of that?)
3. reusable mesh bags for produce
4. cloth diapers on baby (we do use disposables at night, on trips, etc. I may try to reduce this, and I don't use disposable wipes at home–maybe should, but that is a lot more laundry!)
5. no paper towels–yeah, OK, it's only because we ran out of the ones from my sister (who used to work for a paper mill) and I have not bought any more. They're so handy! How can I resist getting more?
6. refillable soap dispensers–this means that I buy one big thing of soap every so often to refill the dispensers around the house. Then we still throw out the big containers when they are empty of course.
If I think of any more that we do now, I'll come back and add those on in a comment.
So, what do you do that I don't? Are there any ways you recycle by using stuff for different things at home? Please share your ideas, too, of what you would like to do or what you've heard that some people do.
Thank you! Feel free to join me in cutting down on the garbage problem.