Over the past 5 years or so, reducing waste and minimizing our carbon footprint has really been on my mind. There are so many simple ways to reduce waste at home. Below I talk about cutting out plastics, I know how impossible that sounds! Everything these days seems to be made of plastic. Take it one step at a time and see what works best for you and your family. Every small action adds up to big results over time.
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Cloth diapers might sound like a thing of the past, I am here to tell you why they are the future. Cloth diapers are timeless! They are clean, easy to use, they contain no harsh chemicals that would irritate babies sensitive skin, and most of all they help reduce waste. In the past I wrote about Why we choose to Cloth Diaper, I believe its a must read. Reducing waste quickly became a top reason after I started doing my research on Cloth Diapering. With all the storages due to COVID-19. Essentials like cloth diapers and reusable wipes can come in handy now more than ever. If you would like to learn more about Cloth Diapers, check out Different types of Cloth Diapers.
Ditch The Plastic
Yes I know in this day and age, it seems everything is made of plastic. So how do you cut back on plastic? Simple, you take it one step at a time! Below is a list of simple ways to say no to plastic and in turn you will be reducing waste.
- Use glass Mason Jars for food storage, instead of Tupperware.
- Purchase and use Stainless steel metal reusable straws.
- Reusable or compostable produce bags.
- Reusable grocery bags.
- Purchase Wooden toys instead of cheap plastic junk toys.
- Say no to plastic cutlery and use biodegradable instead.
- Do not purchase or use single use water bottles. Find a nice reusable bottle and bring your own water.
- Trade your tampons in for a menstrual cup or cloth pads.
Go to your local Farmers Market. I am sure you will be pleasantly surprised by the quality and surprisingly affordable prices. I am able to find Organic produce at great prices. Not only do you support the local farmers but you are also able to find fruits and veggies that are in season. In season fruits and veggies means they are packed with more vitamins and minerals than those that are not in season.
I also love to get old fashioned soap at our local Farmers Market. San Benito Soap Works is where I now purchase all of our bar soap for our home. I even made the switch to a shampoo bar, which has my hair feeling and looking its best. Becky also known as the “Soap Lady”, the owner of San Benito Soap Works, makes all her soaps and they are amazing! Some of her soaps are made from tallow, which is animal fat that would usually go to waste. The Becky uses this fat to make her soaps, reducing waste and creating her awesome soaps.
Click Here to learn more about San Benito Soap Works and The Soap Lady.
Cook at Home MORE
There is no doubt about it, cooking at home is huge when it comes to reducing waste. Every time you eat out, especially take out or food from the drive through, you create more waste. Burger wrappers, sauce packets, drink cup with plastic straw, plastic fork and salad container, don’t forget the bag it all came in and the receipt. Wow, when you break it down like that, we waste so much by just eating out. Now if you buy a lot of prepacked foods, eating at home may not be helping you reduce waste.
Buy Less Pre-Packaged Foods
When you plan your meals, try to aim for fresh foods. Think colorful veggies, fresh fruits, and grass fed and humanely raised meats. If you can not always buy fresh foods, trust me I know how impossible it is. Try to buy in bulk to reduce packaging waste and don’t forget all those extra trips to the store!
Bonus Idea for Parents
Reducing waste is hard with kids, we take them to the store and they see…well everything. If your kids are anything like mine, they want it all. I recently started something my son and I call the at home Lunchable. My 5 year old has a new found love of Lunchables, which do not provide much actual nutrition and create lots of waste. I actually think you get more plastic than food. For this easy trick, I start with one of our well loved plates that has a fun print and food dividers. I add nutritious foods like fresh fruit, cheese cubes, nitrate free lunch meat and some crackers. My son loves it. It is a win win in my eyes. No extra waste, I get to control what goes into his at home Lunchable and he LOVES it!
I will add that yes this plate is made from plastic. We own quite a few of these fun plates. They are not only fun for meal time, but I do not have to worry about the kids breaking a glass or ceramic plate. After all 3 kids are done with them, I plan to pass them along to the next family. Passing them along is another part of my plan to help us reduce waste at home.
Buy Used and Donate Often
Reducing waste at home can become more challenging with a growing family. We are currently expecting baby number 3 and our last. This time unlike with our first, we plan to buy gently used items for baby when possible. We have already picked up a second hand crib, and baby clothes. We will continue to search for used items. Or as we like to call them well loved items. After our kiddos outgrow their toys, clothes, and other items we will search for another family that could use them. This cycle helps in reducing waste with a growing family.
This is the one we all know. A tried and true method of reducing waste, recycling! I remember learning about recycling at a very young age. In school, there are programs to teach our children about recycling. We as parents should keep that education going at home by helping our children learn more about the ways to reduce waste and recycle.
Reducing waste isn’t just one thing you must do, its so many small things that add up to the big picture. If we focused more on reducing waste in our homes, imagine how much better off our children would be for it. Let’s all focus on the small things to help save our planet and make it a better place for our children.