Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Reducing Our Waste

I am so intrigued by the concept of Zero Waste and the Johnson family's journey. After first hearing about their success in eliminating trash from their lives, I took a few steps to reduce my own family's waste.

The first step for me was observing just how much waste was going into our trash can every day.

The second step was realizing that much of what I was throwing out was recyclable. I've always recycled the obvious things, but didn't realize how much more I could recycle.

Next I made some changes.

  • cloth napkins
  • reusable grocery bags (ALL the time, not just when I remember)
  • mesh produce bags
  • compost bin
Again, these all seem like obvious first steps that I should have taken a long time ago, but at least they have become our new norm.

Now I'm ready for another change. My next goal is to eliminate paper towels from our home. Although they sit on our kitchen counter, we use them pretty sparingly. Just this morning I've moved them out of sight and am vowing that I personally won't use them at all. I'm thankful for the good supply of cloth I have and will rely on those for cleaning.

If you have ideas for my next next step, please share! 


  1. Hi Jill. This is amazing! Where we live, we've been used to the practice of composting & reusable grocery bags/bins for a while now. All grocery stores charge for grocery bags so we bring our reusable ones. Our city picks up garbage only twice a month... but compost pick-up is every week... thus encouraging the practice of composting.

    Recycling is huge here too... so almost all packaging materials get recycled... cans, glass bottles, plastic produce trays, milk cartons, all cardboard & paper (even used paper towels, it goes in the compost pile)!

    1. We have great resources here where I live, too. If I lived in the big city here, I would have the same trash/composting/recycling pickup you have. But I don't...I live in the suburbs and they have a different system. I keep meaning to call my disposal company and urge them to adopt the city's system. I would love to be able to compost ALL my food waste and paper products.

      We don't have to pay for our bags (yet) but most stores offer a 5 cent credit for each reusable bag we use.

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  3. I was amazed to learn that it really does depend on where you live. Having lived most of my life in the metropolitan Minneapolis area I thought everyone everywhere recycled lots of stuff. Then we moved into an RV traveling the country for just over three years and we had trouble finding places that would even take our cans let alone anything else. For now, we are back in Minnesota and the things we can recycle here outnumber the ones they were taking before. It's going to be a challenge going back on the road again.

    Have you done cleaning products yet? It's amazing what you can do with just baking soda and vinegar. And the baking soda comes in a burnable box and the vinegar in a recyclable bottle.

    1. I've been researching cleaning products and am excited to give them a try. It seems very, very simple to make this step so I will be doing this next. I'm also thinking about trying no shampoo.

  4. Linda, that's a good idea--reduce the waste in the cleaning products.

    We bought reuseable coffee mugs and water bottles.

    1. I de-cluttered my reusable coffee mug last year because I never took coffee anywhere. But now I am wanting one so I can take it with me to the local coffee shop. I need to remember to take the water bottle with me to the coffee shop so my girls don't have to ask for water, thus wasting a cup.