January/February Recap & March Goals

Its been a little over 2 months since I set out on my mission towards less waste. While I still feel like I have a long ways to go I feel like I’ve started to make a little progress.

Since the start of the year I have:

– Eliminated kitchen disposables such as paper towels, foil, plastic wrap, and ziplock bags. Plasticware, paper plates, solo cups, and plastic straws have been removed as well.
– Recycled better. Things that we were throwing away but could have been recycled are no longer ending up in the trash can.
– Thrown away less food (or at least feels like we are). I have no baseline measurement to compare to but I feel like we’re starting to do better about eating through the food we have in our fridge before it expires, though there is still a lot of room for improvement here.

The following purchases were made over the last two months outside of groceries/toiletries:

January

  • 1 can of primer and 1 can of gloss from a craft store to complete this up-cycling project.
  • 1 pizza pan, stainless steel skillet, metal tongs & 2 cloth napkins all used from the Goodwill.

February

  • The Art of Happiness book (used)
  • 2 Pyrex lids to replace their “broken” predecessors
  • 1 cloth napkin (used)

There are a few things on this list that if I had it to do over I wouldn’t have bought, such as the metal tongs (simply because I was getting by just fine without them and they weren’t as user friendly as I’d hoped for) and the Art of Happiness.  Only reason for regretting the book purchase was because it was due to error on my part and not necessary.  Basically I went through my entire reading list for the year and checked off which were available at my library so that I could add them to a used wish list. When looking at my local library’s catalog the title did not populate on the first page when I searched for its name. It was later that I discovered that sometimes exact title names don’t show up until subsequent pages (for whatever unknown reason) and when I checked back after the fact I realized the library did in fact carry it. Let this be a lesson in being thorough…

I haven’t felt any strong urges to shop and I’m still holding strongly to no personal purchases (clothing, accessories, shoes).  Not shopping has been pretty easy – I’ve just avoided places where shopping takes place (other than thrift stores). I truly believe you don’t feel like you are missing out on anything when it isn’t staring you right in the face.  A couple of weeks ago, I took my kiddo to the mall to look at the fountains and ride the train. This was the first time I had been there since starting this project.  It was weird to be back somewhere that for a period of time I had spend a lot of time at but hadn’t seen in a while. I’d probably equate it to running into an old fling: a little nostalgic but glad you’re no longer going down that road.

The only new purchase I gave myself permission to buy this year was a pair of running shoes because its important for purposes of shock absorption and support to not have shoes that have been sitting around too long or have been molded to someone else’s foot.  I am probably going to have to cave in this month and get a new pair.  With the warm weather I’ve been pounding the pavement a lot more lately and since I have been wearing the ones I have now for over a year, they definitely feel like they are breaking down.

My husband has been very supportive in my efforts to reduce waste in our home. While he is not actively taking part in this project himself, he has thus far gone along with the changes I have made around the house and is open minded to future changes as well.  He has even been trying to buy used in place of new! Baby girl is completely on board, hehe.

So all-in-all a successful start. I’ve dipped my toe in the water but I’m ready to dive completely in!  Now that I have this blog up and running, my gears are turning and I am ready to kick up the speed a bit. I’ve been researching a lot of stuff about minimizing waste and the zero waste movement.  Everyday I become more and more inspired to get my level of waste reduction to or as close as possible to that point.

My big focus this month (and into April) is going to be related to food (how perfect for National Nutrition Month?!). There is so much waste associated with food, both on-the-go and at home. Not just the food that we buy and end up throwing away but the packaging that food comes in.  A lot of is plastic bags that may not be recyclable or have to be sent through a special service in order to be recycled.  The best solution is to minimize the amount of packaging that is even brought home in the first place.  Hubs and I have been talking about building our own little garden for a long time. Seeing as we are heading into planting season, I’d reeeally like to get it up and running this month if not next so we don’t miss out on having fresh produce right in our own backyard, even if it’s just a mini box garden with a few vegetables.  I’m really eager to get a compost bin started to have a productive place for all of our food scraps and biodegradable materials rather than letting them go to waste in a landfill.

Tomorrow we will be headed to our local farmers market to see what bulk items and fresh produce we can find! I haven’t been “marketing” since September and we’re checking out one we haven’t been to that is supposed to be pretty great so I’m really pumped (even though its supposed to be freezing cold).  I know it’s off season so not sure what I’ll find, but I’ll have my reusable bags in tow just in case!