**I wrote this post over a year ago and never published it! So I added a few more items that we have done in the past year as well and have finally brought it out of hiding. Enjoy!**
Over the past year, Ryan and I have slowly tried to be more environmentally friendly in our home. We were prepping for a big move and purged hundreds of items in our home. Then we began to notice how much trash we were going through. We would have to sneak bags in our neighbor’s bins on trash day because ours was stuffed so high it the lid couldn’t close.
I believe God made us stewards of the Earth. He created this beautiful planet for us. By taking the responsibility and accountability we have to protect His creation is how we can show our gratitude. Now if you’re not a God-fearing person, there are plenty of articles to convince you of the negative impact of all the trash the billions of us leave behind on a daily basis.
After we had moved to a new city, our family wanted to be more intentional with what we were bringing into our home. We would find alternative ways to live a normal life, but with just a little less trash.
“Figure out what brings value and purpose to your life, and let go of the rest.”
Now there is no way we will ever get a year’s worth of trash to fit in a mason jar, but just because we can’t be completely waste-free doesn’t mean we can just do a little to help out the environment.
Here are 16 ways we started living a little more waste-free life.
Swap Paper Towels for Dish Towels
We stopped buying paper towels and Lysol wipes and replaced them with microfiber rags. They work surprisingly well and if I don’t need to disinfect I can just wipe with water and get everything off, thus saving on our cleaning supplies! I will say, we do own a few rolls of paper towels for a small list of things: cleaning out bacon grease from a pan, to soak any moisture in our salad containers and pre-washed fruit mason jars, etc. Any other wipe we use our rags.
Bring Bags to the Grocery Store
We bought mesh produce bags and large bags to take with me to the grocery store. I researched heavy-duty canvas bags for forever and none were at the price I wanted or had good enough reviews so I bought these large beach bags so I could also use them for other activities. I am so glad I did because I can stuff them and I have full confidence that the stitching won’t rip as I waddle them from the car. (One trip always!)
Use Glass Containers / Repurpose Jars
We got rid of all our plastic Tupperware and only use glass containers. Mostly because I hate how plastic Tupperware stains and smells gross, gets scratched and warps. Glass tupperware are way easier to clean and although heavier, they last much longer.
Buy in Bulk at Package Free Stores
Going to a package-free store is very hard unless you have a shop near your area, but I do love to go to Winco or other bulk stores and stock up on those necessary items like oatmeal, cereal, flour, etc.
Ditch the Plastic Water Bottles
We stopped buying the super cheap case of water bottles at Costco and use a large Brita dispenser in our fridge. We used to buy them as our “food storage” but then pound them in a few days while watching TV in our basement and fill up our garbage can. We also own Hydro Flask 64 oz and Yeti 30oz with Straw & Lid. Now we own a Berkey Filter and love it!
Bees Wax Wraps instead of Plastic Wrap
We bought wax wrap and stopped using plastic wrap. I hate plastic wrap, they never ever worked for me and were always annoying to put on.
Stop Using Ziploc Bags
We got rid of our Ziploc bags and use reusable bags. I haven’t found my favorite brand quite yet but there are so many options out there to try!
Make Your Own Cleaning Supplies
Whenever I have a bunch of oranges, lemons, pine needles, lavender, whatever I can find, I will add it in a jar with some vinegar and let it ferment for about 2 weeks. Then I will distill it with more water and use it as a counter spray. The vinegar may seem strong but it always evaporates!
Grow your Own Food
I love our little garden. I haven’t gotten tons of food out of it just yet but I hope to have a big vegetable garden soon!
We weren’t interested in any kind of food composting for a while but once we gave it a try, I was hooked! I love going out and checking on my little red wigglers and Hazel enjoys going to “feed the wormies” with our leftover food and veggie scraps. It is much easier than I thought and we are using the compost into our garden. We are using Worm Factory’s bin and it seems pretty fool-proof.
No more Tampons
Stop wasting money on disposable razors
I waited until I used the last of my disposable razor head cartridge so I could invest in a nice safety razor. Not only will this eliminate more waste but it also will save us money. I did a lot of research and chose this razor for Ryan. It costs way less than the head replacements which is a great perk. I just bought my own at this shop!
Washable Nursing Pads
One way I planned on but didn’t end up needing to was using reusable nursing pads. I didn’t leak much after the first month, but I’ll be ready for our next baby!
Replace your Makeup Wipes with Microfiber
I stopped buying the makeup wipes I had used since high school and bought these amazing microfiber cloths that take off makeup much better. Plus, I don’t have to rub on my eyelids as hard. Win for me and win for the environment!
Try out Elimination Communication
We started doing EC at 2 months and 2 months later, we saved over 200 diapers! In addition to saving diapers, we use way fewer wipes and do less laundry because we have very minimal blowouts. Go to godiaperfree.com to learn more about it. If you don’t want to go down that road, you could try cloth diapers. I will probably write a blog post about our journey through EC once she is fully independent/potty-trained!
Make Your Own Laundry Detergent
Because Hazel had bad eczema, I made my own laundry detergent for the first 2.5 years of her life. I used a combination of the image above: Baking Soda, Washing Soda, Oxi-Clean, Castile bar soap, and Fels-naptha. I grate the bars of soap and I love the scent combination of both lavender and peppermint together actually.
Other Waste Free Goals
We bought a garbage can that has a spot for recycling. We also have two recycling bins so our town makes it easy.
Use your local library and borrow books for free!
Some of these books I’ve read, some I’ve been wanting to get my hands on, and others I have on my long list to read eventually!
Farmhouse on Boone
Epic Gardening & Epic Homesteading
Minimalist Moms Podcast
Best of luck to you and your journey of being more waste-free!