The goal of reducing our waste this month was at sometimes disheartening, and at other times uplifting of all the new innovative things that are becoming available and can be used to reduce waste, especially plastic waste. Below are the ideas from the last week of January.
22. Reusable Silverware
We use these a ton while traveling. Jim and I both have them. They are made from sustainably sourced bamboo and pack up nice in a carrying case. I even stick a straw in mine.
Better yet, save all those chopsticks and become a pro at eating with only chopsticks!
The less plastic disposable eating utensils the better.
I’ll reiterate, when you use these in public (say at a fair or picnic) you’re making a statement already. You might inspire someone by simply using them. Be the change.
If everyone turned down plastic utensils, the person supplying them will have extra, next time they order they won’t order as many. The manufacturer they order from will notice their customers ordering less so they will make less. It’s a snowball effect. Be the change.
23. Party Supplies
More specifically reusable and sustainable party ware but I would love for this to be the norm and just call it party ware.
We have an eclectic collection of flatware we keep in the party box downstairs and bring it out for the (few) large parties we have a year. I put out buckets labeled “used utensils/plates/cups” and a laundry basket labeled “napkins”.
We have around 40 plain, linen napkins purchased from Amazon. If need be we can mix in our own collection of napkins. I haven’t counted the flatware but we’ve never run out. We don’t have a collection of plates but we do have compostable plates. There are also compostable cups out there too or use mason jars.
This is our norm now and for family and friend who come over it’s normal for them too.
NOTE: I suggest white or plain napkins so you can stain treat them. Stick with plain flatware so it matches all occasions and decorate with having fun fabric tablecloths, local flowers (in season), paper decorations and mason jar cups. Not your aesthetic? Check out Goodwill/Savers/tag sales for fancier stuff!
24. Travel Cups and Mugs
Create less waste AND save money. Many coffee places give discounts for bringing your own reusable mug.
Keep one in your car, a backup one in your car. One in your backpack. You know the drill.
There are so many different ways you can donate things.
It takes some legwork but once you have your list of places, keep it and refer back to it. Sometimes that list includes people as well. Know a contractor or a handyman? They might like any used building materials or supplies. Know anyone who had a kid going to college or is in college? They would probably love that old coffee maker. Know any artists or art teachers? They love tissue paper or broken plates for mosaics or jars/cups for water and paint.
You never know until you ask someone.
Our town has these pink bags you can put out with your trash that you put used clothes and accessories in.
I couldn’t think of a better subject for this picture than a hand-me-down sewing kit, a well used wood glue and some handy glues.
Create your own little collection of go-to fix-it objects and refer back to them as often as you. Always think about how something can be fixed, reused, repurposed or spruced up.
27. Buy Smarter
I couldn’t think of a photo for this one so please forgive me.
Start at the root of the problem. Instead of buying something cheap that might break/fall apart in a short amount of time, buy something that will last a longer period of time.
Unless it is biodegradable or made to be purposely reused, it will sit in a landfill. It takes a little more legwork to read reviews, research the materials and compare products but the longevity is worth it.
We recognize that it is a privilege to be able to spend the upfront money to buy the usually more expensive, better quality item but do the best you can.
28. Castile Soap
Reduce your plastic waste by using concentrated soap. We like Dr. Bronner’s Castile soap. It has tons of uses and lasts a long time.
Our co-op has it in bulk as well!
29. To-Go Containers
This one JUST hit me. It took a while. After having a couple styrofoam take out containers hanging around the house and feeling guilty that we were going to have to just throw them out I did what I usually do and take to the internet to try and figure out a solution for reusable take out containers.
All I found were meal prep containers or those glass Pyrex containers. Both valid but both bulky and heavy.
Like I’ve been saying, find a solution sustainable for you, as in something you will continue to do. There was NO way I was going to carry a glass container around in my already heavy diaper bag.
Enter these little contraptions, better yet we already had them! I had initially purchased them from Amazon for camping! They’re food grade silicon, collapsible and best yet, lightweight. I can stash them in my purse, the glove compartment of my car or my diaper bag.
Yes, you are going to be THAT person that brings their own bowl to the restaurant but most likely people will be marveling at how cool the bowl is.
30. Snack Containers
Skip the “snack” plastic bag. These are small and lightweight. Smush proof and air tight. Perfect for a snack on the go!
31. Safety Razor
There’s a reason this one is last.
Actually a couple.
1) I just got it.
2) I haven’t actually used it.
I’m extremely happy to have found this solution and equally scared to use it.
I told myself I was putting it off because I was working my way through the multi pack of razor heads for my Venus razor because (to reiterate) throwing them all out wouldn’t make sense.
But then I realized I was on my last one, so it was go time.
I admit, I’m using the last one until it’s probably not advised to still be using it. I will get to it. I promise.
Anyways, sustainable because you do not throw away the handles and don’t throw the heads away as often.
Anyone use these? Advice welcome!
Horror stories…not so much.