One of my new year’s resolutions was to ELIMINATE PACKAGING and stop generating the waste that has been clogging up our lives. We are a family of six, so it feels almost impossible to eliminate package. But, darn it, I think it can be done.
I’ve been on this kick for awhile but I thought if I wrote it down and committed to it, I would be more serious about getting packaging out of our lives. Mostly I’m thinking about grocery shopping, but really I’d like to stop all influx of packaging into our home.
After three weeks of a serious commitment to eliminate packaging, here’s what I’ve learned:
1. My husband thinks I’m crazy.
2. Said husband agreed that I could write the above sentence only if I explained that when he shared his thoughts on my cognitive functioning he did so while laboriously grating a bar of soap in order to make our own laundry detergent, which he does every three months or so, and which is one of my favorite packaging reducers (plus the detergent is awesome and only costs pennies!). A very simple way to eliminate packaging and save money is to make all your own cleaning and personal hygiene products. Mommypotamus is the best site I’ve found to show you how. You can also check out my DIY board on Pinterest.
3. It’s very hard to eliminate packaging without the support and cooperation of your spouse.
4. We are eating tons of fruits and vegetables.
5. Produce bags should be illegal. They are completely unnecessary. Put the fruit DIRECTLY INTO the cart. Same with the vegetables. Hey funky hippie Co-op shopper, are you listening? You don’t need to put that bunch of bananas in a plastic bag!
6. Buying stringbeans is trickier — the key is getting into the habit of BRINGING YOUR OWN REUSABLE PRODUCE BAGS.
7. We are eating lots of things you can buy in bulk: rolled oats, rice, beans, flax seeds, pistachio nuts, almonds, walnuts, etc.
8. I may never eat meat again because I can’t figure out a way to buy it without packaging. How did they do this in pre-plastic times?
9. My children wish to banish me from grocery shopping, since their father (see #1, #2, and #3) is happy to buy canned soups and cream cheese in plastic tubs.
10. I need to set up more TRADES. I trade homemade granola for raw milk yogurt (in a glass mason jar). It’s the most awesome trade ever. Now if I could find someone to trade homemade jam for granola, I’d have a source of packaging-free preserves.
11. My kids loved shaking cream into butter. I can buy cream in glass bottles and they can shake it up. It takes forever. But it’s fun. And the homemade butter is delicious.
12. Bread is a problem. I buy it from the Village Baker and the clerk hands me the naked loaves. But they don’t use organic flour and we run out quickly. Then I have to make bread from scratch. Yummy. And holistic. And all that crap. But it never rises high enough and the whole process is SO TIME-CONSUMING (and difficult to clean up).
13. Eggs are easy to buy without generating new packaging, since local farmers reuse egg cartons.
14. We are eating a lot of eggs.
A few other thoughts on ways to reduce the garbage in your can:
1. Old maps make fantastic wrapping paper (check out the photo of some nicely map wrapped presents here).
2. Gently used gifts are more special than store-bought plastic crap. They have more meaning. They were previously loved.
3. Advertising and junk mail is a huge source of unnecessary garbage. Twelve year olds are excellent at making calls to remove one’s name from mailing lists.
4. Why use toilet paper when you can drip dry?
5. Go commando with your garbage. You can eliminate packaging by never buying another plastic garbage bag. The first time I heard this idea I thought it was crazy. But we’ve been doing it for awhile now and it’s awesome. Turns out plastic kitchen garbage bags are totally unnecessary. Who knew?
Do you care about all the garbage you generate? Would you like to reduce waste? Do you have good tips/advice/secrets to share with me? I make killer granola. Any local readers out there want to start a trade?