Waste less update!! / by Lauren DeMarco

At the end of March I wrote about an action item I would take to reduce waste, recycle plastic bags! Well, I wanted to update everyone that not only have I been doing that religiously and have gotten my household on board, but I have gotten a little obsessed (as I do) with reducing as much waste as possible!

You might say "I know all of this", I said that about a lot of this stuff, but wasn't taking as much actual action as I felt I needed to. TAKE 1 ACTION today, I wish I started sooner.

I wanted to share a few things I have done! I spent well under $100 on some helpful supplies! None of this is sponsored, just for fun and for the cause!

1. 2 average and 1 large BAGGU shopping bags to keep in my purse for target trips or whatever other kind of casual shopping! They are soooo cute and I feel great whipping them out! I like to think my single action would maybe make the person behind the counter think about their plastic intake for a sec and consider their choices as well! They have baby sizes too. I spent $34 on these 3 plus maybe $5 shipping. If you can find them locally, do that! They are running an awesome earth day sale right now too with code MOTHEREARTH!!

2. Beeswraps! These are so cool! I have been using for my snacks and cheese! I got the pack of 3 mediums! I spent nothing on these because I traded with a friend who has a store for some handmade hairbows I make. Good deal! But if you buy the set I have, they retail at $18. They also have many patterns and options! Another earth day sale with code: EARTHDAY18

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Id like to try to make my own sometime too! You can google "how to make reusable food wraps" to find many tutorials!

3. 4 oz mason jars. I got mine at target. I have been buying yogurt, applesauce, and pudding in 16 oz containers and making my own single servings for snacks and lunches. Carrots, apples, cheese cubes, etc. are great in these. Ball brand makes these in USA too! Individually packed stuff causes so much more waste and costs more. These jars are like $9 for 12 jars, you could prob find them even cheaper here or there.

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4. Mesh produce bags. $5 at target for 4 big, 1 small. I keep them in my reusable grocery bags in my car every week. I'm sorry, but these are very worth the investment. No great excuse not to use these. I have used them for apples, zucchini, broccoli, and grapes (in our store the grapes are sold in a large quantity in plastic, I took half the grapes from the bag and put them into my mesh bag last time, worked great) so far. I love showing Chi how to think outside of the box to be responsible. These are made from polyester so there is probably an even better choice but I wanted something that the grocer could see the stickers through.

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6. Paper snack bags. These have been helpful for those few times I feel I need to use something more bag-like or if you have a treat you want to share. I sent Chi to school with popcorn in one of these, folded the top, and sealed with a piece of washi tape. I took a second to write a note on it for the teacher to try to send it home in lunch so I could refill again the next day. 1 lasted all week and it was great! These are a little pricier ($3.99 for box of 48) so it makes you a little more mindful to conserve. And you can compost them when you are done!!!

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7. Linen napkin and silverware in lunches. The same one can pretty much last all week unless something particularly gross happens. I have some in my shop that are handmade with my artwork but you can find them all over the place! They last super long and are an easy swap.

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A few more things/ideas:

-When we do have to use ziplocs, or plastic bags of any kind, we reuse them until they can't be reused anymore and then put them into the plastic recycle bin at ShopRite (or a store near you).
-We decline straws at restaurants (decline when you order because sometimes they bring the drink with the straw already striped and in the glass)
-We have been more mindful about paper towels; we are using dishtowels for most counter wiping, etc.
-We own Hydroflasks for our water. Frank and I have 40 oz and Chi has 12 oz kids. They are everything! Order right from their website or from Dicks, good deals on both sites right now.
-We request books to the library, pick up, borrow, and return. Way more cost effective, saves paper and shipping from amazon.
-Take plastic pots, flats, etc. from garden centers/nurseries back to them after you place them in your garden. They will reuse them!
-We compost what we can and put some food out for the squirrels like stale bread or leftover pasta keeping the trash bags from filling up faster than necessary.
-Buy eggs in paper and milk in glass if at all possible. The eggs are available in my store in cardboard cartons but the milk is more than double the cost in glass. We can't afford that right now so we try to use the plastic jugs for gardening or water play and recycle when we are done.
-We have changed to a concentrated, very Eco-conscious soap brand called Dr. Bronner's and LOVE this choice. Read about their company and you will never go back to anything else! There are recipes right on the bottle for varied uses. I got mine at Target. Saves bottles in addition to the soap itself being healthier for the body, home, and environment. US company that seems to really care about their employees and our planet.
-Next challenge is figuring out how to get take out or leftovers home with less waste, thinking of carrying a stainless container in my purse. This one takes things to another level of unconventional but dear God, Styrofoam makes me want to cry.
 

Again, some of this you have heard before, but be honest with yourself, are you taking action on any of these things? If you are, AWESOME and thank you! If not, consider taking even just 1 action to contribute. There are so many ways that we can at least help with this mess and inspire others in the process!!