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.
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: recyclecartons.com. 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.
Lent begins next Wednesday, March 6. This year we decided our family is going to focus on creating less waste for the 40 days leading up to Easter. I’m hopeful that the efforts we make will help us create new habits that will make a lasting impact on our environment and also lead us to become more intentional consumers.
I should start by giving my husband credit for his weekly trips to the recycling center. We currently do not have curb-side recycling available at our house.
Seeing the recycling pile up has made me want to buy less things altogether. We have a lot of room for improvement, so we are focusing on 7 key areas that we think will make the biggest impact in our home.
7 Ways to Reduce Waste at Home
Less Glass – Something we typically give up during Lent is drinking alcohol during the week. Not only is this good for us physically, but this year we are focusing on how our decisions make an impact beyond ourselves and how little decisions add up over time.
No Drive Thru Foods or To-go Drinks – There seems to be a theme about how things that aren’t great for our bodies are also not great for our planet. Have you been through a drive thru and got a bag of garbage per person who orders!? I have and if the french fries don’t hurt my stomach enough, seeing all that trash sure makes me feel sick. That also means no more coffee to-go unless I bring my own cup.
No Shopping Bags – I started ordering groceries online and picking it up at the store which felt like a life-saver during cold winter months when I didn’t want to drag two young kids into the store. But… the bags!! We started collecting piles and piles. Even though I’m recycling or reusing them, I still feel awful and therefore I will be shopping the old fashion way (in the store) with my tote bags.
Less Gas – Occasionally, my girls fall asleep in the car unexpectedly. In an effort to get a nap in, I drive around town happily sipping on a latte enjoying my quiet moment without much thought to the gas I’m wasting. My new solution will be to park and listen to a podcast or read a library book. It’s getting warmer, so I can turn off my car and open a window to enjoy the spring breeze.
Reduce Paper – We get a lot of junk mail and I also have a habit of picking up free magazines. I’m going to email/call to unsubscribe from mailing lists and I’m also going to stop myself from picking up free items.
Save Electricity – when I was a kid my Dad gave me a badge and called me ‘the power patrol’. My job was to go around the house and turn off lights. I think my girls will love to continue this tradition.
Avoid Single Serving Packaging – I love 100 calorie pack almonds. It’s so convenient to have them counted out for me so I don’t eat too many, but I’m really going to focus on purchasing products that aren’t packaged individually (goldfish, yogurt, apple sauce, popsicles, etc.)
Our final goal this Lent is to donate to and support nonprofits that are making a positive impact on our environment including the National Park System that we love so much.
I’m sharing my ideas because I know a lot of people want to do something meaningful for Lent, and I’d love to have you join us! I’ll be posting about our progress on Instagram with the hashtag #lesswastelent.