Last Week of Less Waste Lent

This Lent we decided to work on creating less waste as a family. I feel like somedays I’m doing really well remembering my tote bags on grocery shopping trips, donating items we aren’t using to charity, and taking trips to the recycling center.

Recycle Cartons

We recently moved to an area that doesn’t have curbside recycling. The good news is we’ve had to take more responsibility and learn about the recycling process. For example, my daughter loves almond milk and I always assumed the containers that the milk comes in are recyclable. During a recent trip to the recycling center, I learned milk cartons can’t be recycled in my community.

I went home to do some research and found a website to look up if carton recycling is available in your area: I went ahead and signed a petition on this site to bring carton recycling to our town.

Buying Less Stuff

This week we are also reading a book called Meet the Frugalwoods: Achieving Financial Independence Through Simple Living. It’s a memoir of a couple who decided that consumerism wasn’t making them happy so they went on a quest to become financially independent by living an extremely frugal life style. I don’t want to take all of the steps they do in the book. For example, I’d rather pay a talented hairdresser to cut my hair (and know it’s helping her support her family) than ask my husband to attempt it (yikes!). However, I love the idea of thinking about where you can cut back to save money and create less waste in the process.

We have one more week of Less Waste Lent, but I’m confident we will continue along this road and keep improving as we go. Let me know if you have any ideas about how to solve my milk carton problems. I’d also love your inpiring book suggestions.


Week 1: Living with Less Waste Lent

Less Waste Lent

This Lenten season our family is focusing on ways to cut back our wasteful habits that have a negative impact on ourselves, neighbors and the environment. This week I am very excited about a couple things that are related to this goal.

Free Ozark Native Tree & Shrub Program

The Beaver Watershed Alliance provided our community a variety of trees to plant in our yards to reforest. My husband spent an afternoon planting a dozen or so trees (because he is awesome) and I’m crossing my fingers some of them grow. I’m also thankful for the local volunteers who planted trees along the river. It’s inspiring to see people working together to keep our lakes, rivers and streams healthy.

Beautiful Lives Thrift Boutique in Fayetteville, Arkansas

There are just so many reasons why I loved shopping with my sister this weekend. One of the highlights was discovering the Beautiful Lives Thrift Boutique that sells upscale used clothing at an affordable price and donates profits to charities. My sister bought me a green Express shirt for $5 that I’m looking forward to wearing on St. Patrick’s Day. I enjoy consignment shopping because I can get new items in my closet without contributing to some of the social and environmental negatives that come out of ‘fast fashion’.

Ways We Are Reducing Waste at Home

I mentioned our goals last week (here), but I thought I would share a few updates:

  • Less Glass – We are limiting alcohol consumption to weeknights only, so instead of having a glass of wine and watching an episode of Mad Men we are sipping decaf tea. We thought about stocking up on sparkling water, but decided the extra cans would be counter productive.
  • No Drive Thru Foods or To-go Drinks –We’ve been doing a good job at mostly eating at home, but my daughter requested Chick-fil-A this afternoon and I obliged. I don’t think we cut out much waste by going inside which was a bummer, but I cut back where I could by not taking a plastic straw or the awesome disposable place mats that they offer for kiddos.
  • No Shopping Bags – This goal was the one that I got the most feedback on. I’ve heard several people are giving up plastic bags for lent and I’m excited we are doing it together!
  • Avoid Single Serving Packaging – This goal has been harder – my kids basically ate a big bag of goldfish in a day. Also, I’ve been struggling to maintain portion control on things like almonds. We will figure this out, but I think it’s our biggest struggle so far.


Finally, I said I would share updates on instagram (#lesswastelent) and I’ve been failing at this mission because reducing waste is hard to get a pretty picture of. I tried to pose our 2-year-old with an umbrella by one of our new little trees, but it was raining and the umbrella blew away and she fell down and got muddy. It was a complete picture taking fail. So, if you want to share any ideas or pictures with me, I would love to see them!