Hey Bees! I'm back with another post following a trend I've seen on YouTube among green/minimalism people, and that's a list of a few things I do that may be a bit more unusual in my culture, in the name of eco-friendliness. Please let me know in the comments what are some of the things you do that make the average people in your life look at you funny, lol, but you know it's less damaging, so you do it anyway. :)
#1 Reuse calendars
If you google, you can figure out what years the calendar dates align with the current year, and reuse your old wall calendars! I've been doing this for years actually. 2020 was the first time I had to buy a calendar in ages because it was a leap year so it didn't align with any of the calendars I already had, and I hadn't received any as gifts or from nonprofits (which often happens, too). 2021 aligns with 2010 and 1999, so I am reusing my pretty Lunaria 2010 calendar (even though the moon phases won't align because the lunar calendar is on a 19 year cycle; the dates/days of week will align). Here is the site I use showing what years line up with 2021.
Here is my ginormous stash of calendars that I keep on a bookshelf. I organized them to be in order as I was searching for a calendar to reuse.
#2 Use trash as trash bags
Buying plastic bags for the sole purpose of putting trash in them and throwing them away strikes me as one of the most wasteful things, both in terms of plastic and money. Just, why?? You have all these other bags that would go in the trash anyway, right? That's what I use.
"I use cloth bags to do my shopping," I hear you say. Yeah, me too. I'm talking cereal bags, kitty kibble bags, the bags toilet paper can come in, the plastic bags parcels sent to you in the mail come packaged in, and yeah - the occasional plastic bag from a shop that either somebody gave to you with things in it, or you got delivery, or somehow you still end up with a few in your life even if you bring cloth bags to the store. You can tie some of them shut, or I bet you also probably have a stash of twisty ties or bread bag clips or rubber bands or something you can close them with, right? Yup! Use it up.
#3 Bring your own containers to the grocery & for restaurant leftovers
OK so this is somewhat less relevant currently due to covid, since my local shop where I can buy some things in bulk has pre-packaged all the bulk stuff into plastic bags now (argh), but in normal times I was always the weirdo bringing my own jars or cloth flour sacks to the store to scoop my bulk bin buys into, rather than taking the plastic produce type bags the store provides. I don't use those produce bags for produce, either - I usually just take it loose, and put it in my cloth shopping bags with the rest of my groceries. Yeah, even if it's wet. I pack it separately from anything that would soak through like cardboard boxes, but otherwise, who cares? It's going to get the cloth bag wet? Yeah, that's okay, it's cloth. ;)
I was apparently one of the only customers that did that at the store I went to, because I regularly confounded cashiers who didn't know how to subtract the weight of my jar from the weight of the bulk food. I was doing tares years ago when I worked as a cashier at a health food store, so I wonder if it has become more rare for people to try and reduce waste this way?
Also, when you eat out, bring a Tupperware type dish for your "doggie bag" leftovers! I've even brought my little reuseable chopsticks in a case I got from the Sanrio store in order to avoid the disposables at my favorite Japanese food restaurant. You can stash these things in your backpack/purse/bring a cloth shopping bag, and then put your leftovers in it when you're done eating.
My oldest and largest flour sack; I bought it with 25 lbs. of flour in it years ago.
#4 Compost, compost everywhere
I regularly have wide, flat lids or plates sitting out on my counter with coffee grounds drying out in them that I dumped out of my French press. I have eggshells sitting in a mortar and pestle, waiting for me to crunch them up. And when it's deep into the winter and the compost buckets on the balcony are full, I have containers in my freezer full of food scraps awaiting their turn to start a new batch when it warms back up and begins to break down again. These are resources not to be wasted. :)
#5 Choose the greenest option for the things you use
People recycle a lot, but they often don't make the effort to choose the things they buy based on its recycled content. If we don't make a demand for the recycled product made from that waste stream, then where do you think it goes? In the landfill or the ocean or the incinerator, that's where. In order to close the loop, we need to buy products we use anyway from recycled materials.
I buy recycled toilet paper and any other paper products I use (which my mother thinks is totally weird, can I just say). I buy rechargeable batteries (AA and AAA, anyway, as that's what fits in my charger), which not only reduces battery waste, but saves me tons of money. I once bought a door mat made of recycled tires. I buy recycled aluminum foil (and I do not buy plastic wrap at all). All of these things are available if you look!
It takes me a while to get through a roll of this, but I do use it for some things!
So there's my list. Do you do any of these things? Do you do different things? Let's learn from each other! :) And if you'd like to know what recycled toilet paper I use, I just switched to Who Gives A Crap (referral code: https://www.talkable.com/x/OHi5LR ...which should get you $10 off!). I had been buying either Seventh Generation brown recycled, which I still love, but it's only available at a store I very rarely go to; or Reel bamboo paper, which I used to love, but the last box I bought, they had obviously lessened the quality of it. I don't know if that's a permanent change or just because they had some manufacturing issues when the world went mad for toilet paper at the start of the pandemic (which still baffles me), but I decided to change it up. WGAC offers both recycled and bamboo options, and donates 50% of their profits to building toilets in places that don't have them. :)
Amazing art made for me that I got from a trade on Simbi! Simbi is a bartering website that I love. If you'd like to try it out, please use my referral link: https://simbi.com/wren-paasch/welcome