Earth Day Reevaluation

| 4/13/2016 3:45:00 PM

Tags: recycling, reducing plastic use, Sheila Julson,

Sheila JulsonSpring is a time of rebirth and renewal, and April welcomes an unofficial holiday that really makes me want to take stock and start fresh — Earth Day. During this time, I take stock of sustainable lifestyle choices that I’m proud of and also look for ways to improve.

At the beginning of the year, my household made it a priority to further reduce plastic waste. (A Google search of “Are plastics really being recycled?” turns up countless articles about how some plastics, especially #3 through #7, are not.) While it’s difficult to avoid all plastic in today’s world, in the spirit of Earth Day, I figured that now would be the ideal time to take stock of what has worked well for my family over time to reduce plastic use, how we’re succeeding, and in what areas we can improve:

Things we’ve eliminated/reduced:

Shampoo bottles: I gradually switched from commercial shampoos to homemade liquid shampoo crafted from castile soap and essential oils. But even castile soap is sold in a plastic bottle. I went a step further and found a locally made, small-batch artisan bar shampoo, packaged in nothing but a biodegradable paper wrapper. It has that luxurious lather, as well as a pleasant scent and no harmful added chemicals.

Condiment bottles: For a minimal time investment of making our own condiments, we’ve not only created tastier, healthier foods, but we’ve also reduced excess plastic bottles. Our homemade barbecue sauce, salad dressing, jams, salsa and more are stored in Mason jars or repurposed glass jars.

Plastic wrap/food storage bags: I think we’ve all fought with plastic wrap and have either ended up with a wadded useless clump, or with bandaged fingers from that wicked serrated metal edge on the box. I also can’t help but wonder how many single-use food storage bags and discarded plastic wrap is clogging the earth. We reuse grocery produce bags or wrappers that tortilla shells are packaged in as our “baggies”. We also cover a half-eaten bowls of leftovers with a saucers or plates, thus saving money and plastic waste.

4/18/2018 1:11:31 PM

Research knit and crochet groups in your area. Plastic grocery bags are knitted or crocheted into sleeping mats for the homeless. The mats keep the sleeping bags off the damp ground and are lightweight for carrying purposes.

2/27/2018 10:40:59 AM

For homemade deodorant, use a glass spray bottle, 3/4 water and 1/4 pure grain alcohol (sold in liquor stores), and essential oils. I made mine after purchasing Weleda brand, used the same ingredients, and recycled the spray bottle. Don’t be too generous with the oils. Katie

2/27/2018 10:15:44 AM

We reuse our plastic grocery bags except the few that are too torn to reuse. I made trash cans sized to accept the common size ones and we keep one in each can changing it out as necessary. We collect our throw away trash in them and I put litter box scooping's into one each day. They will also get used for dry storage for something that just needs dust protection. The few that cannot be reused get put into the burn trash. We do use cloth shopping bags for certain things that are prone to tearing the plastic bags such as cereal boxes or canned goods.

mother earth news fair 2018 schedule


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