When I started on this journey, I had really high hopes for our progress. And I kinda thought it would be a fairly easy transition because we already do a lot to cut waste in the first place. I use rags to clean, we buy things in bulk and in the largest size possible, we refill soap dispensers, turn old towels into rags, etc. But it definitely has not been as easy of a transition as I had imagined.
The good news is we have done a few easy swaps that we don’t really notice.
- We started composting. When we lived in Multnomah County (Portland) we composted and the garbage people hauled it away in our yard debris can. So, the only real change for us is learning to manage our own compost bin in our back yard. Which, I admit, we really have no idea what we are doing. But we are attempting to learn.
- We stopped buying paper napkins and started using the cloth napkins I had for holidays. We’ve done this before, but I made napkins out of quilting cotton. But I kind of got tired of having to clean the cat hair off of them even after they came out of the wash. The napkins we have now are some I bought at the store a few years ago, and miracle of all miracles, cat hair does not stick to them.
- Straws. Ok, I admit. I like to use straws. I had no idea how harmful or terrible they were for the environment until the recent turtle video that has been floating around the internet. I just never even gave it a second though. I’m guilty of throwing away millions of straws in my life time, I’m sure of it. Hey, I’m not the only person on the planet that has created millions of straw waste over the years, so don’t get all mad at me about it. If you really want to get mad at someone, get mad at the person who invented the plastic straw. So, I switched to reusable straws.
- I’ve been trying to buy produce that doesn’t come in plastic and not using plastic produce bags when I go to the store. We put a pause on our Imperfect Produce for a couple weeks because we were out of town for a weekend and we already had let some of it go to waste because of this.
- For showering, we switched to bar soap that comes in paper. Although, I still have approximately 8,000 gallons of liquid hand soap that I use to refill our soap dispensers.
- I’ve been trying to buy things that come in glass and not plastic.
Here’s where we’ve failed.
- I love me some Darigold Mexican Sour Cream. No, I don’t know what makes it Mexican, but it’s one of the most delicious things on the planet. It comes in a plastic container.
- We went to Costco today and my husband snuck in a giant box of Otter Pops. I rolled my eyes and continued along. And then when we got home, I realized, all it is, is a box full of plastic tubes that can’t be recycled. So, I might accidentally return them before we open the box.
- Bread and tortillas. Ok, I like to pretend I’m all Suzy Home Maker because I quilt and want to be a Stay-at-Home-Cat-Mom and hang my laundry out to dry in the sun, but. I actually kind of hate cooking. And I only like the end result of baking. So, I’m not quite at the stage of making my own bread and tortillas yet. However, I do try to buy these items in bulk and I try to reuse the bags they come in.
- Using bar soap to wash your dishes totally sucks. Yes, I tried it. Yes, I tried it for several weeks. So, It may take me a while to convert fully to this one. We usually just buy a giant jug of liquid dish soap at Costco and refill the container we keep at the kitchen sink. So, I don’t feel too terrible about that one.
- Ziploc Bags. We still have a ton because we buy them at Costco. I try to put things in glass if possible or a reusable container, but we still reach for the Ziploc for freezing meat and after we open a block of cheese. I did, however, buy one pack of silicone reusable bags, but I haven’t actually tried them yet. I’m getting there, ok?
- Cheese. I’m not gonna lie. We love cheese. I think I’ve only met one cheese that I didn’t like in my lifetime. I didn’t hate it, I just didn’t like its attitude. I don’t even remember what kind of cheese it was. So, I probably just imagined or dreamed that I found a cheese I didn’t like. Forget I said anything. Anyway, most cheese comes in plastic. And we don’t own any cows or goats and even if we did, I wouldn’t know how to make cheese if my life depended on it. And I’m pretty sure my life will never depend on that, so I don’t really plan to learn. What can we do about that? Buy in bulk? Ok, sure. Use less cheese? Uh, that seems a little excessive to me, but we could try to use less cheese. And by try, I mean no. Stop eating cheese? Haha, just kidding. We’re not ever going to stop eating cheese. Unless, the Zombie Apocalypse happens and then I guess we will probably have to stop eating it against our will.
Ok, I’m getting way off track here. My point is, we are doing better and we have really cut down on the amount of trash that goes into our trashcan on a weekly basis. There is still a lot of room for improvement, but we’re working on it.