As we simplify things at home, one area that we're constantly going back to is our trash and recycling habits.
We've seen improvements with reducing our trash. We have service every week, but I'd say we only fill up our garbage bin about every two weeks.
Our recycling bins, though, well they're usually packed. While we're happy about that being the majority of what we toss, a recent episode of 99% Invisible reminded me, recycling has kind of taken the spotlight with waste management while reduce and reuse have been pushed off to the side.
So for 2019, we'll step up our game and see if we can knock done the amout of waste we throw out in the first place.
If you're in the same boat and want to become a more green family, I'll share what we're doing now along with some ideas we're going to try out.
Reducing Food Waste
Sarah from Smile and Conquer has laid out some fantastic ways she's tackling her food waste.
Two big components of her master plan include meal planning and composting, both we employ here around the house.
They're very effective to cut back on waste and with saving you money.
Composting Kitchen Scraps
Composting is pretty straightforward for us. We have a pail underneath the kitchen sink where we put our kitchen scraps and any veggies or fruits that have gone bad.
Every few days we head outside to add it to our compost piles in the backyard.
They each hold about 200 gallons (around 12 lbs per gallon) so if we had to buy the equivalent amount of compost from the store, we'd have to pay $720 (basing on a 40lb bag being $24) to cover one bin.
So yeah, doing so good for the earth also means we get to save quite a bit of money!
Better Meal Planning
We don't lay out a menu per se with each meal listed, but rather we design our meals that week based on what we already have and what tasty ingredients are in season (aka on sale).
You'd be suprised at how easy it is to throw together delicious meals that are cheap.
One our go-to one are tacos. You can mix and match any protein (we like pork), some crunchy greens, along with veggies.
Knowing that, we have a stash of tortillas in our pantry so we can make some for those busy night when eating out or delivery is a temptation.
Better meal planning (and upgrading our cooking skills) has helped us to reduce waste and saved us some cash.
Even by cutting back on eating out once a week, we're able to save around $120 (estimating that a dash for take out is around $30 for our family of four).
Being Wiser with Our Purchases
With trying to be more responsible around our home is also being careful before we brings into it.
This means when we're purchasing we're giving some attention to how either:
- how easy packaging and the item can break down and be recycled
- how durable it is
- how well it can be used for more than one thing
An example of this thought process is with our kitchen wares and utensils.
We have been cooking more at home over the last few years and so we've bought stuff, both for and serving.
Cast iron pan is still our absolute best buy by far. (Can't tell you how many meals we've made with that!)
Thoughts on Reducing Waste In and Around the House
As you can see it's a work in progress for us. We're trying to be wiser with that we have and smarter with our purchases.
So there's my take on things, I'd love to get yours – how do you handle waste around your home? what steps have you taken to reduce and reuse?