by Texas Homesteader ~
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Several years ago when we lived in the big city, I became keenly aware of the amount of trash my household 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 one 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…
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Excessive Product Packaging
They say a change begins with just one step, and that realization one morning on my way to work so long ago was my catalyst.
Suddenly I began to notice excess packaging, purposely done by clever marketing executives to make their product look bigger or more impressive than they actually were to the consumer.
I noticed the numerous items sold shrink-wrapped in plastic for the convenience of the store clerks.
And even tiny single-item purchases like a pack of gum or box of crackers were placed in a disposable plastic shopping bag all by itself.
If it was a relatively larger item it was even often thoughtlessly double bagged by rushed grocery store workers.
Even items that actually had HANDLES made into the product itself were double bagged!
Eliminating Single-Use Plastic Shopping Bags
So I first decided to eliminate single-use disposable plastic bags. Now this was way before the feel-good days of responsibly placing your purchases into a designer reusable bag.
I had several heavy cloth bags I’d received for free at business conventions. So I resolved to use them to reduce or eliminate plastic grocery shopping bags from entering the waste stream from our home.
For me it’s not hard to remember my cloth bags when I go shopping. I simply store them in my car. So even on an unscheduled stop, no plastic bags are needed when we shop.
And for smaller shopping trips I have my favorite *handmade basket.
Isn’t she a beauty?
I love to use this basket for smaller shopping trips because I can place my items directly into my hand-held basket as I stroll around the store. The top is wide open so shop owners aren’t concerned about potential dishonesty.
I simply bring the basket filled with my items to be purchased to the check-out register and unload them onto the counter.
As my items are scanned, the clerk simply replaces them into my basket.
It’s so much easier for them than wrestling with fabric bags. The basket stands on its own and has a wide open top.
Plus I’ve gotten so many compliments from cashiers about how handy for shopping, and how beautiful it is too…
Steps To Reduce Trash
But how else can I reduce landfill trash that comes from my household? There are only two of us here now.
Our household trash output typically requires us to empty our household waste basket (which is the size of a miniature bathroom wastebasket) about once every two weeks.
But I know there’s still more I can do – it’s a challenge I make to myself.
So I already use fabric bags or my handheld 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 & turn food scraps into 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!
Making Food Items I Used To Buy
I’m now more likely to whip up cream soups instead of opening a soup can for a recipe. And I prefer to use fresh jalapenos instead of buying them in cans.
It’s easy to make 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!
It’s Not As Hard As They’d Have Us Believe
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.
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
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