March Recap & April Goals

What a great month March was! I feel like I’ve really been making progress in my goals towards reducing food waste and have continued to hold on to my resolutions for the year.  Let’s take a look!

The following purchases were made in March (outside of routine grocery essentials):

  • Glass jars/containers: 2 salad dressing, 3 air-tight storage, 2 mason (all used)
  • 6 metal camping plates to replace paper for camping/cookouts (all used)
  • 1 pair of running shoes (new)

Glass jars were purchased to house bulk and homemade items.  The metal plates were my solution to the paper plate. Typically paper plates are used at cookouts because having heavy ceramic plates outdoors would be harder to hold if you’re that one stuck eating in a lawn chair or out of concern that they might break (at least those are my concerns). The same goes for camping. Ceramic china isn’t exactly “on-the-go” friendly. But metal plates are!!  Believe it or not I set out one day looking for any metal plates I could find and I ended up finding six at my second stop (you really have to love thrift stores).  So now I have the ultimate paper plate replacement!  I might keep my eyes out for a couple more to accommodate having a larger number of guests when we cookout. The one personal item that I gave myself a pass for this year was a pair of running shoes, to prevent injury related to crummy shock absorption. Otherwise, still no purchases of clothes or accessories and I’m doing just fine with the ones I have! Actually, last week I did a major clean sweep my home, gutting things that haven’t been used, touched or aren’t providing me with any value. During this process I cut out a lot more clothing and probably 80-90% of the jewelry I’ve been hanging on to!

There was one small backslide last week during a trip to Goodwill. I was looking for one to two medium sized jars since all of my others were occupied when I found this complete box of 12 and thought I’d hit the jackpot! Thinking “this is great I can totally use all these” right into my cart they went…along with another large glass container.  Wanting to make sure I had ample storage as I transition away from packaging and knowing that I eventually want to start freezing my own stuff, I thought these would all come in handy eventually, so figured I would go ahead and buy them now that way I’d be ready when I do.  Better to be prepared, right?  Well, I immediately had buyers remorse the moment I left the parking lot, feeling like I just had a wave of old habits break through and that I got ahead of myself buying more than may ever be needed. I had just spent a large part of the week working to cut down on clutter and here I was trying to bring in a whole bunch of jars to take up space.  The mason jars were large and not as practical or versatile as maybe a case of the smaller sized mason jars would be and I already had three large air-tight containers not even being used so another large one was not necessary.  There are several glass jars in my fridge that have food in them but once empty I can use.  So, I shuffled things around with some empty containers that I did have in order to free up some mason jars and back to the Goodwill those jars went for a store credit.

I haven’t been including plants on my purchase lists but if you follow me on Instagram you know I’ve been trying to exercise my green thumb with two herbs (basil and cilantro) and a native. While I’m not sure about what the future holds for my basil, the other two I have high hopes for!

My primary goal for the month was to focus on minimizing waste related to food, both packaging and the food itself.  As we’ve been making the transition away from packaged goods, I have located bulk options for the majority of the dry things we normally buy. This month freshly ground up coffee and almond butter from the bulk section. I ran into a snafu when trying to grind the coffee. Just as a heads up, if you try to grind coffee at Whole Foods, take a wide mouth jar or bag because there is a trigger behind that silver thing that tells the machine the paper bag (that is provided) is in proper position to start.  I was still able to get the coffee into my jar, but lost a bit in the process.

Freshly ground almond butter going into an old almond butter jar…oh yea!

Hubs and I don’t get but so many snacks but we do usually always get something salty and something sweet as part of our weekly shopping.  I’ve spent a lot of time parusing the bulk snack options and this week decided to try making our own popcorn and grabbed these dark chocolate coconut bites!

I also cooked up some roasted nuts using a variety that we had in our closet that needed to be used up.

There are a few things where I haven’t been able to locate a package free option that we eat regularly which include: tortillas, crackers, yogurt, butter and cheese.

I attempted my first batch of homemade tortillas the other week and I have to say, not that bad and pretty easy. Obviously not as easy as having whole wheat tortillas at the ready for a quick meal but the batch I made lasted several days in the fridge so in reality not that much more inconvenient.  I just heated them up so they would be soft and foldable when it was time to eat.

We’ve been doing a lot better about eating leftovers before they go south, often through a little creativity turning them into something else, especially when you throw then into a blender! For instance some avocado, broccoli, celery and mango that needed to be eaten was blended up to make an earthy, green smoothie.

As far as going out to eat is concerned, I have started to keep a cloth napkin, fork and spoon in my bag for on the go. It’s amazing how many places wrap their silver in a paper napkin!  Twice I’ve left behind my fork though…oooops. And even if it does look a little wacky I’ve had no problem busting out my own storage container for leftovers. Perfectly enough, the lid also doubles as a plate for baby girl.

Still working on the compost bin situation.  In the mean time, I am going to start saving veggie scraps by putting them in the freezer and later turn them into veggie broth!

In addition to getting more dried goods package free, I also got conditioner from the bulk section at my beloved Ellwood’s as well as bamboo tooth brushes for the hubs and baby girl. I just started using the last plastic toothbrush so I’ll pick one up for myself when that one wears out. The cool thing is we’ll be able to add the handle of the bamboo brushes to our compost bin once they are used up rather than having to send them off to the landfill.

Really happy with all these changes!

April is my birthday month!! This year, I am asking family to support my waste less venture by not giving me anything new or any personal items such as clothes/accessories. Instead my wish list includes a few used books, sun loving native plants to grow in my yard or donations to my favorite eco-charities (Chesapeake Bay Foundation, Ocean Conservancy, The Nature Conservancy’s Plant A Billion Trees project).

My goals for April are to get our compost bin up and running as well as our vegetable garden!  We’ve been doing our research and think we have a good plan so stay tuned!!

Thanks as always for stopping by!

xo, Erica