Google+ Authentic Parenting: Green Living: 25 Tips On Waste Reduction (rerun)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Green Living: 25 Tips On Waste Reduction (rerun)

One of the most important steps to living more ecologically sound is waste reduction. The Westerner is a very wasteful animal, leaving behind tons of things that are just clogging up the earth. Yet waste reduction is something we all can achieve, without dramatically changing our lives, just by adopting some simple gestures. Here are some things you can do to reduce the pile of rubbish you leave behind. As a bonus, by diminishing our wastefulness, you are often saving a penny too. Ecology and economy often go hand in hand.

Chickens, Fenced, Gavin Schaefer
  1. Get Chickens (or pigs): they only require a small space and a shelter, but they'll eat all your food leftovers and peels. In return you get some delicious free range eggs and your child gets a pet. Two to three chickens are enough to turnover the edible waste of a family of 4 and will give you plenty of eggs to never have to buy them anymore (see, you'll even be saving money). If you don't have the room to keep chickens in your garden, or you travel a lot, try to get some chickens as a community project. It just takes some upkeep of their shelter and someone to share the eggs. Everyone can drop off their edible waste, which makes a little daily walk too. Don't forget that chickens also eat fresh greens, so when you're picking the weeds, you can toss them in too.
  2. Compost: If you have a larger garden, you might read up on composting. It's actually not so difficult and gives you great fertilizer for your precious plants. You can toss in lots of stuff: garden clippings, used soap nuts, cloth diaper liner (make sure they're biologically degradable)...
  3. Use cloth diapers or EC: Washing stuff is better then throwing it away, and not having anything to wash is even better. And yet again it saves you money.
  4. Choose an ecological alternative for your moon flow. There are lots of options nowadays: the DivaCup or Lunette replace boxes and boxes of tampons and you just have to buy them once. Then there are many many options to replace menstrual pads, they come in all sizes and colors and price ranges.
  5. Washable baby wipes are easy to make yourself, just cut out squares of cloth you don't use any more. You can finish the edges or not. If you're not up for making them yourself, you can get them in different materials and colors. 
  6. If you're up for it, you can even make/buy toilet wipes
  7. or if that's a bridge too far, you can just make a collective effort as a family to use less toilet paper, check what's the least amount of paper you need to get the job done. Again, you'll be saving money while at it.
  8. Buy family packages: buying big bottles not only reduces the amount of packaging, it also reduces your trips to the shop.
  9. Buy solid soaps: for washing your hands, as well as your body and hair, there are soap bars available in any scent and for all skin and hair types. Another bonus, next to being package free, is that they last a lot longer then liquid soaps.
  10. Get your liquids in glass bottles. Glass is a sounder option then plastic and can easily be reused (if not by the manufacturer, then by your family). You can get on the round of your milk man, he'll be happy to pick up empty bottles when he comes back, this will save you some trips to the shop too.
  11. Buy Bulk:  Buying bulk not only gives you the opportunity of buying just the right amount of produce, it also drastically reduces the amount of packaging.
  12. Buy local: shopping at your local farmer and butcher not only gives you better produce then your supermarket does, it again gives you the opportunity to pick exactly the right amount of produce.
  13. If you shop this way for your fruit and vegetables, you could get a pretty basket or crate to hold your food.
  14. Buy Seasonal fruit and vegetables. Some farms even have a "mailing list" where you can get a monthly/weekly basket of produce. They just get put in a crate per family, so they don't have to be packaged and shipped and repackaged etc.
  15. Cook your own! Try and make the things you would normally buy ready made yourself (I'm thinking stocks and ketchup...). It might be more time consuming, but it will be a lot more yummy and gratifying.
  16. Make your own. Making stuff yourself cuts out lost of middlemen and lots of wasteful steps. Get creative, explore your talents. You can make toys, sew clothes and linens, build furniture...
  17. Make or buy a cotton shopping bag: you can get some online or you can let your creativity go wild and make your own, it's really not hard and just requires some sturdy canvas and a sewing machine. You can also decorate a plain cotton one. Have them with you every time you go out and say no to plastic bags: everything will go neatly in your gorgeous creation. 
  18. Upcycle: reuse everything, get online and find creative solutions to use your waste. Get crafty!
  19. Hoard like a pack rat! Thing that we would normally toss away make gorgeous suppleis for children's crafts, store everything in marked boxes and get them out when creativity calls.
  20. Barter and trade: one man's waste is the other's treasure! Either online or in your community, trade off the things you want to get rid of.
  21. Sell: Ebay and comparable sites offer a great opportunity to get rid of what you don't use any more. Or you can organise a yardsale. Drop things of at a second hand store... The options of making money out of your junk are limitless, it just takes a moment of your time.
  22. Donate: If there is still plenty of mileage on your old clothes, shoes, toys... why not donate them to people who will be happy to receive them?
  23. Repair: Many things that land on the landfill are still perfectly usable, if we would just have them repaired. Even if you won't be using it again, get it repaired and then you can give it away or sell it.
  24. Reuse: Boxes, bottles, containers... lots of things can find a new purpose in your house without even having to change them. Again, it will save you one buying storage boxes
  25. Recycle: If all else fails, many things can be recycled, so pay attention when you are throwing away. Don't forget to sort!




  2. Oh dear! I've been LOLing for 15 minutes about that typo!!! Talk about Freudian mistakes!!

  3. I love your list! We already follow your suggestions (the joys of building a homestead!) but it's SO nice to read that other people use Diva Cups and family cloth (washable tp) and embrace glass in the kitchen! The only plastic in our kitchen is the bottom of a HUGE Sunny Delight bottle that I got out of my little brother's recycling bin, because it is huge and perfect for carrying our compost to the bin- and I don't have to worry about it getting broken outside. Oh, and about your #1- we deprive our chickens of our leftovers, BUT we grow sunflowers just for them with the compost, instead <3 love our laying ladies!

  4. Oh chickens! I'd love to have chickens one day! :) We didn't cloth diaper, though knowing now what I didn't know then... :(
    And my children have been telling me we HAVE to start composting. They do it at their school. Arg... the downsides of living in a condo.
    A home with land for chickens and compost is in my things to come vision. The universe will manifest what we most want and need. Land, and space - I need space! Thank you for sharing these great ideas!

  5. @KellyNaturally, yes, living in a condo makes some of these recommendations a lot harder.
    @Dusti: that's so cool that you're already doing all of this too. I started a second list of tips, but it's a bit more difficult then the first one (these 25 actually came surprisingly fast)


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