Long time draft post, coming out to see the light of day!
If you have ambitions, like I do, of being good to God by being good to creation, and saving some money and being responsible you gotta make it an easy, convenient, worthwhile thing to do, especially if its gonna compete for your time with your darling doe-eyed offspring. So here are some things that have worked around here to help me meet those goals.
Maybe the big ticket things (all organic? cleaning only with edible things? cloth diapers? other cloth things in the bathroom?) scare you off, or maybe you are doing them all already. Who knows, all I know is there is always a little more we can do
Thought I would share some simple and easy things I have been doing, things I really think almost anyone could try, which will make your life a little more natural and earth friendly.
- Reduce Waste
When I read about Pope Francis saying that wasting food is like stealing from the poor, my mindset was radically altered. I am not a fan of left overs, but I am not a fan of stealing either, especially from the poor. So I am trying to take this to heart. I try to meal plan with left overs in mind, my husband luckily loves having left over supper for his lunch at work, and that helps a lot! Otherwise I try to use left overs for my lunch with the kids, or incorporate it into a meal the next day.
Another thing I have done which I am very glad I discovered, is every time I am preping vegetables, peeling and slicing and de-seeding, I add the scraps to a ziplock bag in the freezer, when it is full I use it to make broth (bone broth if I have bones to add, or just vegetable broth) and use that in the upcoming weeks meals. There is so many health benefits to consuming broth, and it makes everything you cook taste even better! (use it in place of water in almost any savoury recipe – rice, sauce, soup etc.) Carrot peels, onion peels, garlic peels, the tops and bottoms of celery, any unsightly parts of peppers and zuccini and squash and pretty much anything else work wonderfully.
- Recycle more than Trash
Maybe this seems to simple, but when our kitchen was renovated and the spot for the garbage changed from being super close and convenient, to being a few steps away. See exhibit A. I realized how often I throw away little things, scraps of paper and plastic, dirty food containers and lids, and plastic bags that could be recycled. Now we have the recycling bin in the cupboard right by the sink, and the garbage can is near the back door. Most of those little things that could get recycled do, and only real garbage gets thrown away.
Most of what we call “recycling” is actually “down cycling” where the components such as plastic are mixed and turned into a plastic of lower quality. Same with paper, (think of that brown “post consumer material”) and eventually these things end up as trash, just not as immediately. Upcycling is taking something destined for a landfill, and making it into something more valuable and useful than it originally was. I try to do this when I can, and have made torn clothes into kids clothes,or empty coffee cans into sorting games and toy containers. Saves us from buying new clothes and containers, and keeps a few more things out of the dump. Win.
- Make something you usually buy
I don’t do all of these things all the time, but I find the exercise very valuable. I learn what is actually in that thing I always buy, and can decide if all the alien ingredient (mono poly sacci trans glycer whats?) are necessary or not. Some things I have tried making are;
And the list goes on but that gives you an idea. Many of the things we routinely buy are full of things we may not want to be in there, and when you have made it yourself and seen the quality difference and price difference, you can make a much more informed decision. And you may just discover you like making your own stuff.
- Grow something you usually buy
I have not found my green thumb yet, but I keep trying. I have found that there is so much to be learned about life and the earth if we involve ourselves (even slightly) in the process of growing things. Sometimes it is just a herb or two, or some green bean seeds thrown in the garden, but most of the cold dark year I am limited to indoor growing, and so just keeping green onions on the counter with their roots in a jar of water (the green tops will keep re growing after you chop them off) and some plants for colour and fresh air in the living room. It makes a difference!
- Shop Local
There are many entrepreneurs and small business owners in our family, and it has made me better understand the impact on quality, service, jobs, and the earth, that those distinctions make. Yes you may be able to get that baby wrap for a few cents on the dollar cheaper buying it on Amazon instead from the local boutique, but will you be going into that boutique for instructions on how to tie it? There are many benefits to supporting people who make possible the things we want to be a part of our lives, so maybe its worth a few extra dollars to go toward them than to Mr and Mrs Billionaire Walmart.
- Maybe embrace cloth after all
Even excluding diapers, a huge portion of our waste is paper products, that when soiled are not able to be recycled. I love keeping those small baby wash cloths by the sink to use for the many wipes that kids necessitate all day long, times I otherwise would easily reach for a paper towel, wipe, or kleenex. Using cloth rags for cleaning, and cloth washcloths and towels for dishes all contribute and make a difference, and with old towels and sweatshirts to be cut up, you probably don’t even have to purchase your initial stash of rags!
This post was edited to add I have recently joined a cloth diaper with science group that has radically altered my views on home made laundry soap and its effectiveness… I will be doing a little experiment to see if my clothes were REALLY getting clean. We will see whether science or crunch wins the day.