Ah, remember the 80’s? Or was it the 90’s?
Whenever we started hearing the mantra “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle”?
If you didn’t get enough of it back then, you’re in for a treat, because I’m posting on this topic today!
So, for Lent, I am just trying to buy less food. We keep a pretty modest food budget, and try not to buy superfluous things anyway, but I’m really concentrating on using my leftovers to the max. I’m trying to see how long I can go without buying groceries. So far, I’m out of butter. I’m relying on my chickens for eggs (and encouraging them to get with the program!), just used up my last cup of rice, and last 1/2 cup of quinoa. My pantry has beans, millet, dried mushrooms, popcorn, and some noodles. My freezer is full of meat, but I also am still using some frozen fruit from this summer. It can be a fun but intense discipline. The meals get even *more* creative around here in Lent. Its a challenge for us, but also a good way to identify with those that live solely on beans and rice, or the kids in Haiti who eat ‘cakes’ made of mud and salt to stave off hunger.
I save all kinds of things, you’d think I grew up in the 30’s. I made bird’s nests out of those drink holders you get a coffee shops. I already mentioned re-using plastic containers in my post last week. I save tea boxes for my Wildtree business, to give little door prizes at the Tastings. I really like to save and re-use cardboard boxes. As cute as all the Ikea and Container store organizers can be, I don’t really need them. I save mesh onion bags, and have crocheted pot scrubbers! I have made my own training pants for my kids with underwear, some old cloth diapers, and fleece (and I’m really not an excellent seamstress, I’m really actually pretty cheap. I just couldn’t bear the thought of spending all that money on something my kid is going to whizz in. Unless he can whizz in it many times. Case in point, I’m using mostly the original set of cloth diapers and covers up to size medium that I got when Child #1 was born, 8 years ago. Gee- WHIZZ! heh heh…get it?)
We help friend re-use their furniture by trading up if their stuff is nicer than ours. 4 boys are tough on the furniture. We’re not buying anything new until they move out. Seriously.
Do you know how much paper goes in the landfill? Tons and tons. Paper and cardboard account for 41% of all solid waste! So, corrugated cardboard, yes. Paper goes into three bins in our house – to be shredded, white paper, and magazines/newspapers. I do try hard to recycle every bit of paper possible. Of course, I have to also fully disclose (for some reason…you wouldn’t know the difference. Oh…but I WOULD….and I just couldn’t live with myself if I lied to you, dear reader) that I do sometimes toss a whole handful of paper away. But — mostly I try to stick to the plan.
You can also get rid of paper waste by actually opening junk mail, and if a page hasn’t been printed on both sides, use it in your printer, for those things that you’re not taking to the board meeting, but just are using around the house. We can make good use of this idea for school. Saves some cash, and some trees.
One item that just ticks me off is box board, and our inability to recycle it here. And yogurt and sour cream tubs and the like. Maybe someday….
What do you reuse and recycle? How do you reduce? Tell me about it.