Several years ago I became keenly aware of the amount of trash my family generated. Sure, we put out maybe half the amount of trash as our suburban neighbors. But as I headed down the ally on my way to work that morning I noticed with sadness the mammoth trash cans lugged to the edge of the ally by every household. Several houses even needed two trash cans. And even those were filled to capacity, spilling over to the cement below.
I thought to myself – this is just one street and only one of the
TWICE PER WEEK collection!
Wow, that’s a lot of trash.
So I got to wondering…
Excessive Product Packaging
They say a change begins with just one step, and that realization was my catalyst. Suddenly I began to notice excess packaging, purposely done by clever marketing executives to make their product look bigger or better to the consumer.
I noticed the numerous items sold shrink-wrapped in plastic for the convenience of the stores. And single purchases were often thoughtlessly double bagged by rushed grocery store workers. Even items that actually had HANDLES made into the product were double bagged!
Eliminating Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
Now this was way before the feel-good days of responsibly placing your purchases into a designer reusable bag. So I obtained several plain but heavy cloth bags for free at business conventions. Then I resolved to reduce or eliminate plastic grocery shopping bags from entering the waste stream from our home.
I now keep fabric bags and even my favorite handmade basket in my car. So even on an unscheduled stop, no plastic bags are needed when we shop.
But how else can I reduce landfill trash that comes from my household? There are only two of us here now. Our household trash is typically the size of a miniature bathroom wastebasket every two weeks.
But I know there’s still more I can do – it’s a challenge I make to myself. I already use fabric bags or my basket for 100% of my purchases. Plus I reject overly-packaged products and avoid paper products in my kitchen. I buy quality, and I reuse, recycle & compost… what else can I do?
I Wonder If I Can Make That?
So I began to look even at the small amount of packaging contained by the products that had already passed my keen packaging-police eye. And I thought about that product itself, “I wonder if I can make that myself?”. To my delight the answer was almost always YES!
I’m now more likely to whip up cream soups instead of opening a soup can for a recipe. I prefer to use fresh jalapenos instead of buying them in cans. I have homemade seasoning mix that I use to make my own fresh salsa in less than 3 minutes. And my salsa uses fresh garden tomatoes and vegetables in a blender instead of buying salsa in jars.
Not only do these actions bring me much satisfaction, but the products are typically healthier, less processed, significantly cheaper and almost trash free!
I’ve found that I derive an immense amount of pleasure and pride from providing these items for my family. And I’m amazed at how simple some of this stuff actually is! Have the marketing folks really convinced us that buying is the only way? I had certainly swallowed their story.
Making some of the things your family uses regularly is usually very quick and very easy to do. I challenge you to give it a try. Start small and try to make something you typically buy. It can be as easy as a seasoning mix or cake frosting, or more complex like making your own cold-pressed soap. You may be very surprised at how easy it really is! Your wallet and the environment will both thank you…
Other Great Posts About Reducing Plastic
- Reducing Plastic Is Easy
- I Love Mother Nature So I Recycle LESS!
- 7 Ways To Reduce Plastic In The Kitchen
- Ditch The Plastic! Using Glass In The Refrigerator
- Natural Air Freshener In Reusable Glass Jar
- Reducing Plastic In Personal Hygiene: Deodorant
- No More Plastic Razors – How To Use A Safety Razor
- Where Exactly Is ‘Away’?
- Replacing Plastic Wrap With Beeswax Wraps
- Eliminate Plastic Produce Bags
Reducing Household Waste
- Repurposing Empty Coffee Containers
- Denim Repurposed Into Fun Crafts
- 5 Zero-Waste Products We Love
- Easily Reduce Or Eliminate Junkmail
- Making Your Own Pourable Sugar Jar
- Paper Napkins In A Paperless Kitchen
- Repurposing A Parmesan Cheese Lid
- Zero-Waste Hygiene
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Detergent
…and Many More