Homesteading // Zero Waste Family

>> Friday, February 3, 2017

I got very much off track from my original posting plan for this week. I hope you don't mind if I skip around a bit. I get compelled to go in different directions depending on what's pulling me most in my everyday life. Right now, it's simplification and minimalization. I am pretending that's a word. And actually, these have been homesteading goals of mine for several years. Executing them with kids, though, proves difficult in my book.

I'm sure you've noticed that I've flirted with zero waste in the past. It's a goal of mine that I keep highly regarded in my head. And when it comes to actually doing it, I make good efforts. But it falls flat because life is hectic and -- let's face it -- cutting down on garbage and other waste is really difficult.

Strides we've made:
  • Bringing our own bags for grocery and other shopping. Including produce bags. (Here are more ways we've tried eliminating plastics.)
  • Buying produce from a CSA where we fill a huge bag with the foods versus getting them packaged in the store.
  • Using DIY "plastic" wrap to cover goods in the refrigerator.
  • Trying to buy foods in bulk when possible. But I'll get to that in a moment.
  • Cloth diapering -- at least some of the time. Again, I'll get to that.
  • Using or fixing the things we have versus always going out and buying new.
  • Carrying our own water bottles (always) and coffee mugs (when we remember).
  • Using a cloth towel system versus paper towels.
  • Making many of our own cleaners, like laundry detergent, dish washing detergent, and all-purpose spray.

Even with sticking to most of these changes most of the time, we still have way more recycling and garbage than I'd like to admit. I am happy that we have made the efforts and at least lessened our impact. That's a start. So, in 2017 . . . I'm looking to keep this conversation going. I'm looking to do better. And I've love hearing from you.

Here are the three areas we struggle with the most.

  • Buying all or even most of our foods in bulk isn't possible. I did visit some local mom + pops, and the prices were too high. The ingredients are high-quality, that's for sure. I have to stick within our budget AND try to lessen waste. And sometimes these things are at odds. Aldi, for example, has such great deals on food. But it seems like everything is packaged up in boxes upon boxes. When I come home, I always feel like our recycling bin is bursting.
  • Cloth diapering is a love/hate thing over here. I wrote about it yesterday on Instagram. We actually had stopped doing cloth in Eloise's third month because life got crazy. I am attempting to start back up, but I have trouble committing because she doesn't seem as comfortable in the diapers. I also cannot seem to get the best wash process down with our extremely hard water. That said, diapers are SUCH an awful thing to keep tossing in the trash if I have cloth diapers just sitting in drawers. I hope to do an update after this month's trial goes.
  • Being out and about just seems to invite waste, like coffee cups, takeout containers, and etc. I am thinking some of this stuff will naturally lean out once we're making most of our own meals again and not spending as much on entertainment money. (Yup! This is the month we are finally starting to make sense of our debt!)

I've decided that my best bet is to set one goal each month to see if we can smash it. This month, I'd like to work on meal planning in such a way that we aren't using as many foods in packages (pasta, cooked beans, frozen veggies, etc.). This includes baby food, which I have definitely gotten lazy about. I've been buying tubs of it versus just mashing my own. It's so easy and would save a lot of money.

Anyway, accomplishing this goal obviously won't eliminate all our waste, but my goal is to see if we can go a whole week before filling the garbage and recycling bins.

I'll give an update in March along with my next goal!

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