These past few months we’ve been making even more of an effort towards higher sustainability. Being from Seattle, it sometimes seems we practice this more than the average person…
(I remember practicing & performing a ‘Recycle’ song in an elementary school class, maybe this is normal though…?)
…but, we still have a ways to go and much to learn.
Trash surrounds us. And most of what we buy ends up in the landfill.
Sure, the cans, bottles and newspapers are recyclable; but what about little things like straws, forks, paper coffee cups, plastic bags, etc. Knowing now that this stuff is just ending up in landfills has really inspired and moved us towards taking small steps towards a more loving relationship with our mother ship.
We’re already used to being pretty eco friendly, we recycle, we use plant-based soaps and detergents, recycled toilet paper, etc. But we can do better!
10 things we’ve done to be more eco-friendly
- Graduated from paper towels – we were spending $12/month on paper towels. Now we buy 2 ‘Euro Sponges’ for $4 that are biodegradable.
- Recycle our produce bags – it’s easy to throw it in the trash. But try keeping a separate baggy in a cupboard just for those little baggies when you’re done with them. Maybe try to reuse them once or twice, then retire them (re-purposing is ideal). When you’ve filled up the baggy full of bags, toss it in the car and drop it off at your grocery store for recycling.
- BYO water jug – bringing Your Own water bottle is pretty common these days, but we make a point to always bring an extra gallon of water with us too. Now we can have as much water as we want. Water refill please!
- Don’t throw away recyclables – this one probably seems either really easy or super hard. We thought we were really good about recycling until we realized we were tossing perfectly recyclable materials at the gas station. Being a hard-core recycler is a lot of work, and could make you look crazy. (how many times have you stuck a plastic bottle in your pocket or purse so that you can recycle it?) It’s not easy, but does build character :)
- Recycle old electronics – monitors, tv’s and worn-down juicers can all be recycled. There are many companies that take them for free and often times there are collection events where you can drop them off without having to drive too far
- Reuse glass bottles – recently we bought a bottle cleaner on Amazon. This thing has already gotten loads of miles and endless smiles! We like to put our green juice in old kombucha bottles, but we aren’t able to rinse them out until the end of the day, so there is a green film that builds up on the inside. Since getting this handy little guy we never run out of bottles anymore!
- Retire the ziplocks – we’ve been successfully off these things for about 6 months. Last time we used them was to freeze some major quantities of green beans, tomatoes and squash at the end of summer. We don’t really freeze much leftovers though, because we cook every night and just enough. For everything else, we manage without baggies by utilizing old salsa containers, tortilla baggies… we get creative!
- Reuse straws – we recently learned that plastic utensils and straws can’t be recycled because they get caught in the machines. Because they ultimately end up in the landfill we use them as a very last resort, and go with biodegradable. For straws we used a straw cleaner (that came with the bottle cleaner) so we can reuse them. What have a couple sturdy hard plastic straws, but we’ve got our eyes on some glass ones ;)
- BYO coffee mug – we also learned that paper coffee cups can’t be recycled because they have a plastic lining on the inside. When these cups end up at the recycling plant they just pluck em’ right out. Rather than have that happen, we like to have them use our own mugs for our green tea, or on occasion… yerba mate lattes!
- Pre-clean recyclables – up until recently, we’ve been really bad at this one. Salsa containers with tomato chunks inside, beans stuck in the bottoms of cans… Not anymore. Our new philosophy is that the more effort we put forth, the greater the impact. More cleaning at home means less cleaning and more production at the recycling facilities. It also makes us more conscious of our actions, which can only lead to more greatness :)
5 things we’re still working on
- Reusable produce bags – we’re not quite there yet, but our next goal is to start going with compostable ones
- Compostable kitchen trash bags
- Composting in general – we go through a lot of veggies, so this is a top priority
- Repurpose our greeting cards – there’s an organization that you can actually send your old cards to:
Thinking about all the trash we produce in a given month is depressing. After spending some time thinking about how we can be more resourceful and efficient was really empowering though. All of the time and effort we put into becoming more sustainable will come back to us tenfold; and raising our awareness of our actions elevates our integrity as humans as well. This translates into making more conscious decisions when it comes to our bodies, relationships and presence.
What are your favorite tricks to being more eco-friendly?