Welcome to part two in my reducing waste series! If you haven't read part one, you can visit it here. In this series, I'm only sharing ways that we have personally been reducing our own waste over the last couple of years. I have separated each action into "effort" categories....these are based on how much effort I feel that they require in my day and life.
Alright, here we go!
Bring Your Own Bags
While bringing your own bags takes VERY little effort, it does require you to develop the habit of remembering them. I try to keep one or two in my van and then keep the majority in my market basket that hangs on a hook by the door so I can grab them all and go as I head out the door.
I love the cotton canvas totes from Grove Collaborative. Throughout the entire month of June, when you sign up for Grove you can get a set of FREE wool dryer balls! Dryer balls was one of my super easy steps in part one!
Buy a Bread Maker and Use It!
I'll be the first to admit that I thought a bread make was one of those appliances that just took up too much room and would never get used. It wasn't until I decided that I wanted to start making homemade bread and realized that I was having the hardest time making soft sandwich that I even considered owning one. When my grandma offered us hers, I accepted and we haven't bought a loaf of store bread since.
In less time than it takes to watch a football game, I have fresh homemade bread. All I have to do is add the ingredients and turn it on. No kneading on my part. Now, I do still make homemade French baguettes and things by hand, but it is SO NICE to be able to have homemade bread even during busy weeks when I can't stand around and time and knead.
You can even apply the buy secondhand principle from my first post here. I see bread makers at secondhand stores ALL. THE. TIME!
Make Your Own
One of the very first places I started reducing waste was by making our own spice mixes. Now I don't buy taco seasoning packets or chili seasoning packets. I just mix my own.
These are my favorites:
The reason this works is because spices can easily be bought in glass instead of plastic. Glass is infinitely recyclable whereas plastic is not. Or you can take your own containers to the nearest store with a bulk section.
We also make our our mayonnaise, coffee creamer, chocolate syrup, and sour cream. I hope to share more of our recipes for these soon!
Making your own does take a bit of time, but its also nice because you don't have to run to the store as often. As long as you keep your base ingredients stocked in your pantry, you can easily make whatever you need!
Say No to Plastic Straws
Plastic straws are a real problem for our oceans and marine life. You can learn more from the Ocean Conservancy. The great news is that there are SO MANY alternatives!
We have small silicone straws at home for the kids and I use stainless steel. I even have this stainless steel straw carrying kit from Marley's Monsters that I keep in my bag for when we're out and about.
Pay Attention to the Fabric
When buying clothes pay attention to the fabric material. Microfibers from synthetic materials end up breaking off of our clothes when we wash them and make their way to our oceans, so even when buying secondhand, you want to make sure to avoid synthetics.
What are some of these fibers?
- Viscose Rayon
And while cotton is a natural fiber, regular cotton requires A LOT of pesticides and water. Try to choose organic cotton if possible or look for clothes made with flax linen or bamboo, which are much more eco-friendly.
If you already have a few favorite items made with synthetics, there is a product to help when washing. The Guppyfriend washing bag keeps the fibers from entering the water. I personally, do not have one of these so I can't say how well it works.
Plan The Night Before
So many times, if I don't plan for a trip out the night before, we forget most of our reusables or I don't end up having time to pack them. (hashtag life with three kids)
I try to prepare and pack our drinks, napkins, straws, utensils and reusable bags the night before so that I can easily grab them in the rush out the door. This makes saying "no, thank you," to single-use disposable items MUCH easier when we're out.
Well, that's it for part two. What do you think? Anything from part one or this post that you're excited to try? What ways are you reducing waste that I haven't mentioned? I'd love to hear from you in the comment section below!