1. REDUCTION: DO IT THE OLD FASHIONED WAY
Make Your Own
No matter how much we re-use or recycle, if we're truly going to make a dent in our garbage, we need to reduce. Inspired by both the Re-Think It Challenge and Fake Plastic Fish's post about plastic recycling, I decided to reduce the amount of plastic I go through - recyclable or not. The biggest culprits in my recycle bin are plastic food and drink containers. I'm still working my way through the milk but as for the food and juice, the best way to deal with it is to make you own. I've done this for jam and pasta sauce - why not the spicy cilantro chutney I load up on from my friendly purveyor of Indian delights at the farmer's market. Using my increasingly flexible cooking skills, I used farmer's market ingredients to whip up a damn good chutney - packed, of course, in re-used glass jars. Viola!
Doesn't that sound fancy? I'm not talking about an old house - though you could do that too. Just repair what's broken. The challenge motivated me to tackle the stack of items crying out for repair. I fixed three pairs of sunglasses that needed a new screw, mended three socks and two pair of pants. We need to get out of the mind set that a pair of pants with a hole or sunglasses without a screw are trash. They are just a project.
I broke a decorative glass jar used to store cotton swabs. The jar has been cracked forever and I guess it had finally had enough. Rather than tear out to Target for a new, better jar, I simply made do with a less attractive but equally functional jar.
2. RE-USE: REORGANIZE
I'm not opposed to re-use of materials but I don't relish the image of me as an old lady smothered by millions of #5 yogurt containers I've saved for years. For me, it only makes sense to keep containers you can use readily. Now that I am making more of our own food, I've found many a re-use for glass jars and the occasional plastic tub.
While re-using plastic containers is new to me, I've been re-using ribbon, wrapping material and buttons for years. I keep a ribbon box, button jar and wrapping box in the closet and any material that comes into the house that falls into one of those categories finds a home in the appropriate container until needed. I recently read that 38,000 miles of ribbon (enough to tie the world in a bow) is thrown out every year. That's a good reason to start a ribbon box. So is the fact that you can save money and still have beautifully wrapped presents every year. ;-)
3. RECYCLE: THE END OF THE LINE
I have a couple medium sized cardboard boxes in the garage to be recycled - too small to become houses or cars for the kids and too big to freecycle as shipping boxes. Other than that, here's all of my recycling for an entire week. Pretty good, eh? I've definitely learned to re-think stuff this week. Thanks Chile!