Welcome to our Go Green Challenge: 4 Weeks to an Earth-Friendly Home! Find more posts from this series here. As a reminder, we are focusing on reducing the amount of waste we send to the landfill this week.
Week one of the Go Green Challenge has my family focusing on reducing our garbage. The ultimate goal is to get to zero-waste, but considering where we are coming from, nothing in the trash can is probably unrealistic. But I do believe we can make a significant dent in what we send to the landfill by making some changes to our lifestyle.
Here is what we are focusing on this week and will continue to implement throughout the 4-week challenge:
Recycle everything possible.
As per Shelly’s suggestion discussed yesterday, we have a recycle bin in addition to the blue cart provided by our garbage provider for curbside recycling in the garage (see the picture above). We will be even more diligent than usual to take advantage of our curbside recycling and we will also collect other recyclables, put them in the extra bin, and dispose of them properly. Later. When Shelly comes to my house and tells me what to do with it.
I also have put a recycling container in both of our bathrooms and in our office to pick up stray recycling that would otherwise be put in the garbage by our lazy selves.
Compost food waste.
I cannot believe the amount of food scraps that end up in the trash or the garbage disposal in our home. I will discuss our composting solution tomorrow.
Eat out less often.
At first, we were encouraged to stop eating out altogether, but that’s just craziness. Eating out is one of our favorite things to do, so I’m going to ease myself into this and focus on staying at home to eat as much as possible and then selecting places that don’t have disposable packaging or packaging that can be composted in the store (like some Burgerville restaurants) or recycled (like Baskin-Robbins’ ice cream cone wrappers).
Buy nothing new.
New stuff comes with lots of packaging, and oftentimes it’s not recyclable, so we want to stay out of the stores.
I broke this rule within 92 minutes of the start of this challenge. Audrey, my nine-year old, was getting an allergic reaction to some nickle-free earrings on Monday so we stopped by Claire’s (a poorly-made-product wasteland) to purchase sterling silver earrings. I’m sure you can find used earrings somewhere (is that nasty? I’m not sure), but it was an emergency (a nine-year old emergency, not a real-life emergency) and I just took care of it. Maybe we can use the plastic packaging to pick a lock in the future.
Reduce food packaging.
Oye. This is going to be a tough one. I have a strong aversion to from-scratch cooking (not my fault, it’s inherited from my mother), so unless my husband is going to bring home a cook, I’m going to have to get all domestic up in here.
I will bring reusable grocery bags or plastic bags from the past to the store. I am going to keep using the packaged food we currently have in the home (because not using it would just be nutty), but we will replace it with as-close-to-package-free food as possible. We will buy bulk at WinCo and Fred Meyer for as many items as possible. For refrigerated food, I will select the options with minimal packaging as possible, like block cheese and deli meat in simple wrappers. For food that typically has tons of packaging, I will attempt to make those items at home. On my list this week are yogurt, bread, and baby food.
I would love to find affordable milk in glass jars, but as far as I can tell, New Seasons is the only store remotely close to me that offers this. The nearest New Seasons is a twenty-minute drive from my home, and considering that it’s $9 per gallon, I’m going to save the gas and the $6 and just buy it in the plastic gallon at my local store.
This is the part of the zero-waste challenge that is most exhausting to me. Go ahead, judge me. I’ve come to terms with my domestic shortcomings and realize that my skill-set lies elsewhere, like cracking jokes during times of awkward sadness and driving. I’m a good driver.
Luckily I have a husband with low-expectations and friends who will make me bread (thank you, Kate).
We are going to tackle disposable diapers, wipes, and toilet paper waste during week three of the Challenge.
Now it’s your turn: What part of going zero-waste would most challenging to you?
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