by Texas Homesteader ~
I’m sharing with you the simple reasons why I recycle LESS.
Yes I love Mother Nature, but I’ve found by recycling less I’m not only saving lots of money, I’m saving the environment too! Intrigued? Read on.
(Note: Some links in this post will take you to other related articles for further information. But links preceded with * are affiliate links. If you click and buy something I could receive a tiny commission.)
Learning About Recycling
Y’all know I have an environmental bend. Back in my fledgling environmental days I was pretty darn proud that my recycling bin was full while my landfill-bound trash bin was only half filled. A badge of environmental pride! And recycling is good, don’t get me wrong.
But recycling is still dealing with trash
So these days I’m actually recycling LESS and helping Mother Nature much MORE!
Does Recyclable Material Go To Landfill Instead?
I was shocked to find out the recycling that you diligently separate & send off often ends up at the landfill anyway. (gasp!)
No, your landfill-bound recycling material isn’t a shady underhanded act.
You see, selling recycled material is a business. If there are no customers buying that recycled material it’s of no use to the business and must be disposed of somehow.
So if for instance the need for recycled glass to make new glass jars isn’t there, that recycling facility’s glass will go instead to the landfill.
Because of that (and SO many other reasons) I strive to reduce both my trash AND my recycling volume.
Here are a few easy ways I’m accomplishing that.
How To Recycle Less
It’s easy to have less to recycle in the first place:
Reducing what’s brought into our home in the first place,
Reusing what does make it inside,
Utilizing my composter for paper waste & veggie trimmings.
These steps mean there’s much less need for me to recycle.
Plastic Bags Are Hard To Recycle
Plastic is the material I avoid most in our household. Y’all know I’ve shunned plastic shopping bags since way before it was the ‘in‘ thing to do.
Back then I always hated how bags seemed to accumulate until they were a storage issue. But when they did accumulate, I’d just recycle them!
Then I found out that kind of plastic was pretty difficult to recycle. I found out much of that plastic ends up in the landfill anyway. And more & more recycling facilities don’t even accept that kind of plastic anymore!
How I Avoid Disposable Plastic Bags
So instead of plastic shopping bags I use my Hand-Made Basket for our lighter shopping, and my fabric shopping bags for larger shopping trips.
When plastic bags do come into the house via bread bags or other food, I use them to separate our prepared food inside freezer bags when doing Cook-Once, Eat-Twice cooking.
At least that plastic gets used again to serve another purpose before throwing it away.
And we buy large family-sized bags of septic-safe toilet paper. Yes it’s still wrapped in plastic, but less overall plastic than several smaller packages would be.
Then I carefully cut the plastic bag so that I can reuse it to line our small waste-basket. I haven’t purchased trash bags in over 10 years.
How I Reduce Plastic Bottles & Jugs
I still buy our milk in plastic jugs, because living out here our options are pretty limited. But plastic bottles from soft drinks have all but been eliminated.
RancherMan was a cola junkie, but we gradually moved from soft drinks to sun tea. Healthier, lower sugar and no waste.
The brewing jar is a repurposed picante jar that gets used again & again. The tea bag goes into the composter. (see potential caution regarding sun tea at the bottom of this page)
How To Reuse Plastic Coffee Cans
RancherMan & I love our coffee. But it’s sold in a plastic canister.
I’ve found many ways to repurpose Coffee Canisters including:
A cute Bread Box,
Nifty Planter to share plants with friends,
Repurposed coffee can Chicken feeder for our chickens,
Canister for holding Homemade laundry powder
You can see all our coffee can repurpose ideas by clicking this button:
How To Repurpose Plastic jars
I’ve attempted to grind our own peanut butter from peanuts but wasn’t pleased with the result. So we still purchase our peanut butter and it comes in a plastic jar.
But I repurpose those empty plastic jars to another use:
RancherMan uses them to hold hardware in his shop.
Fun bug observation toys for the grandchildren. (Oh the wonderful things that can occupy a child’s mind!)
How To Reduce Metal Canned Food Trash
We buy food in cans from time to time because it’s quite the tall order to provide 100% of your food yourself.
Those cans are always recycled of course, but I try to provide our veggies straight from the garden when I can.
I grow a large garden each year. That fresh produce is minutes from harvest to table.
Not only is it healthier & low-waste, but growing your own food is like printing your own money!
Excess veggies are abundant during the harvest season. Some are preserved for non-gardening months by canning, freezing or dehydrating.
I’ve really enjoyed my *Excalibur dehydrator for preserving fresh produce.
There’s nothing like tasting that delightful flavor of summer as I drop those dehydrated gems into a simmering pot of Homemade soup during winter months.
Plus it all takes the place of purchased cans of veggies – less material into our recycling bin!
Excess Paper Goes Into Compost
My composter needs brown material for a properly-balanced compost mix. So I typically use various household papers in my *Tumbling Composter.
Cardboard toilet paper rolls,
Letters & envelopes,
Cardboard boxes from our community volunteer involvement.
It all turns into black gold (compost) for my veggie garden. Who knew this much ‘waste’ paper could benefit the Homestead by providing a healthier & more productive veggie garden?
Reducing Junk Mail Trash In Our Mailbox
I hate junkmail from an environmental standpoint as well as a personal one. Why must I deal with mail time & time again that I didn’t request and don’t want? Especially if there’s no way I’ll ever be a customer of theirs?
So I reduce the amount of immediate trash/recycling (ie: Junkmail) coming to our home in the first place. It’s easy!
If we receive junk mail in our mailbox, I google the company along with the words “contact us” and email them.
I politely request to OPT OUT of all mailings from them or their affiliates. (I have a copy/paste verbiage I send to each one and then add the information shown on the label.) 99% of the time it’s a quick response & compliance. Now most days our mailbox is empty!
But for the small amount of mail we do get, envelopes and letters are tossed into my composter.
And I use any newspaper we receive to line the compost bucket beneath my sink. It goes to satisfy the ‘browns’ requirement of my compost while keeping my compost bucket tidy.
Recycling Less Can Be Good For The Environment
So there ya have it, the reasons why I recycle less.
Not only is it good for Mother Nature but often good for our wallets as well. Gotta love it!
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
- Growing Your Own Plastic-Free Scrub Sponge
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 Shaving
- Natural Cleaning – Homemade Laundry Detergent
…and Many More
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Potential Sun Tea Concerns
There are some who have commented that brewing sun tea does not allow it to get hot enough to kill the bacteria in water. It’s said that it must be boiled 3-5 minutes in order to be safe, then refrigerated immediately until consumed. So as I typically do, I went to the experts – my extension agent.
According to my extension agent (who is an AWESOME resource) apparently the source of potential problem microbes isn’t the water, it’s the actual tea leaves. She recommends bringing the water to 195 degrees and steeping the tea for 3-5 minutes, then pouring into a pitcher over ice & refrigerating.
Of course you’ll want to use your own judgement about making sun tea. If you have concerns about your individual health, your doctor is always your best source of advice.
For us, sun tea is still king. I continue to make sun tea several times each week, the same as I’ve done for years.