Waste Less, Live More: 3 Easy Steps

This week is Waste Less Live More Week (September 21-27). Over the last few months we’ve become a much more “green” family. I posted a few months ago about how It Ain’t Easy Being Green. In that post I challenged myself (and my readers) to take on a more green lifestyle slowly with 3 simple steps:

1. Stop Buying Water Bottles

2. Decreasing Plastic Bag Use

3. Turning Off and Unplugging Most Items 

I’m proud to say I haven’t bought one single plastic bottle of water in the past 3 months. I invested in a filtered pitcher and have refilled reusable water bottles. I’ve carried my reusable bags with me to the grocery store, and in doing so I realized that the reusable bags hold so much more than the plastic. I’ve tried my hardest to unplug everything I can: chargers, coffee pot, toaster, etc. when not in use. 

While I’ve been proud of myself and my family for making the change, I’m ready to take on a bigger challenge. Here are my next steps, and I hope you’ll take them with me:

1. Paper Towel Usage. I often use cloth wipes on MJ, and since I have an abundance of them I’ve begun using them to wash dishes and clean, but we still use paper towels as napkins, and go through quite a few rolls. My goal is to cut down to a roll or 2 per month, and then try to cut them out of our home completely. Cloth wipes/towels/napkins are now organized is in this tin bucket and near the sink in the kitchen.   

2. No Disposable Dishes. I’m ashamed to admit that I often buy paper plates, cups, and occasionally  even Plasticware. I’ve tried to cook more recently, but the dishes pile up and it’s so much easier to put a plastic cup or styrofoam plate in the recycling bin than stand at the sink after a day of work, errands, cooking, kids, etc. We’ve agreed as a family to all pitch in on the dishes so we can produce less waste.

3. Straws. Did you know that Americans use 500 million disposable straws per day? The Be Straw Free Campaign, started by a 9 year old boy in 2011, encourages reusable straws or to go straw-free when eating out. Read more at ecocycle.org. I have plenty of plastic straws that came with my reusable cups, so I’ll be carrying them with me, and I’ll also be on the lookout for a stainless steel straw with a cleaning brush. 

I’ve wondered how we, as a society, got to the point of being so wasteful. When I was a kid we used paper plates, paper towels,and plastic bags, and I don’t recall recycling until that blue bin was delivered to our home. I’m not sure when the change gradually occurred from washing all of our own dishes, and using cloth napkins and diapers and wipes to where we are now. We are, at this point, a society focused more on convenience, and I’m glad I have the opportunity to teach my children that convenience is not necessarily better. 

It was 3 months ago that I took on this Eco-friendly challenge and I’ve been so satisfied with results, and hopefully within the next 3 months my home and family will be even more environmentally conscious and continue to create less waste.