Month 4: Waste


We are in month 4 of Simple and Free and it’s about waste, or more accurately being conscious about what we consume, what we dispose of, recycle and reuse and seeing where we can do better. 

Do you use zippered bags, paper towels, napkins, disposable storage containers, water bottles or juice boxes? What about your cleaning supplies? Are they green? Are they harmful to the planet and/or to you? 

This month, we are making moves to be better consumers and be more green. While this is an area in which I could do WAY better, I have been making strides to be greener and more aware of my actions or, more precisely, areas of inaction. In the last year, I have started using cloth napkins. I even made cloth napkins for my girls so that they, too, could begin going a little greener. I also bought all of us reusable paper towels. Last count, only one of us was still doing this and sadly, it wasn’t me. Some things are hard to give up.

I have purchased reusable glass containers for food and rarely use plastic baggies when packing lunches. When possible, we don’t purchase individual serving sizes of food as to minimize waste and we each have many choices of reusable water bottles.
We are pretty good at recycling; although I’m sure I could do much better with this. I’ll admit that sometimes I get lazy and throw something away when I know it just needs cleaned and separated into the recycling bin. I also really struggle with reusable grocery bags. I mean well, but I can’t seem to remember to bring them to the grocery. I know it’s ridiculous and I just need to put them in my car, etc.. this is my month to make sweeping changes and that is one I intend to work on seriously.  Although, in my defense, I often reuse my grocery bags as poop bags so it’s not just waste.

Growing our own food is difficult in Colorado. In fact, I would say impossible, but my neighbor has a full garden. I don’t know what kind of vegetables she yields each summer, but she does spend a lot of time out there. In a typical summer I am lucky to harvest enough cherry tomatoes for a single salad, let alone canning purposes so clearly there is room for improvement. I manage to use my parsley, mint, cilantro and mint for a few special dinners prior to our normal freeze in September and every few years if the god of hail smiles upon us, we get a bumper crop of cherries from our tree. The last few times we have had enough to share with our neighbors.
Every fall, I think that I will start my veggies early and start growing them in the house and every year it doesn’t happen. Maybe this will be my year? Perhaps next year I will be able to make two salads with tomatoes.

Okay, so what do I plan to work on besides my gardening skills? Well, I just ordered some glass bottles and cleaning supplies, in concentrated form, which means less waste, organic cleaning solutions and less impact on the planet. I have put my reusable grocery bags into my car so that I have no excuse. No more plastic bags. I am looking for ways to use the herbs I have grown this summer so they don’t go to waste. Please let me know if you have any great ideas.

I am making a list of what is in my freezer so that I don’t buy duplicate groceries and I am making sure to use all of our fruits and vegetables each week. I am being conscious of everything that I am throwing in the trash to be sure it can’t go in the recycling bin and trying to purchase things that inherently have less waste. 

I am not sure I can get on the reusable paper towel train, I’m not likely to trade my vehicle in for a hybrid and you won’t find a compost bin in my backyard, but I do plan on looking for all the ways in which I can create less waste this next month.

Sunshine & Sarcasm,
Lowi & G

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