Tree-Hugger Tuesday – Loads of crap!
Yeah, I know it’s not Tuesday. I know Tuesday was yesterday. I have my reasons. Apologies to Tuesday.
Been awhile for the Tree-Huggers! Sorry about that – a bit distracted! Well, to get back into it, I thought I’d start out by talking trash.
More specifically, my trash.
See, in a previous Tree-Hugger post, I happened to mention that I take out about 3-4 (typically 3) normal-sized bags of trash a year. I mean this for serious, and I mean “normal sized“: my town “taxes” trash by requiring you to buy specific trash bags. So it’s 3-4 of those, not some gonzo-sized bag, and they’re not bursting (who wants to guess if my state can afford fancy-pants trash bags that can handle being overstuffed?).
As a result of this statement, Miss Thoughts called me a saint. Who, me?
While Thoughtsy is pretty awesome and we all want to take her words as gospel, I’m not actually a saint. In fact, I don’t think reducing my loads of crap to a couple bags even a miracle. It’s not even that difficult.
So. How do I do it? Simple:
- Reduce & Reuse: I’ve already discussed the importance of this in a previous Tree-Hugger, but I’d like to re-iterate the importance of reusing. A friend of mine dated a dude who was insanely wealthy, but he hated washing dishes (and dishwashers apparently?). He had not dishes, simply cabinets and drawers full of plastic cutlery and paper plates. Such a despicable lifestyle would be a deal breaker for me. I tend avoid such disposable items kinda like they’re a plague. Instead, I use cloth napkins, washable scrubby dishcloths for washing dishes, and cloth for cleaning and floors. I bring my own bags AND plastic bags (for the bins/produce if I actually purchase some) to the store, I rinse out ziploc bags, and I am never without a reusable water bottle and/or coffee mug. I’m bringing back the handkerchief. Do I feel a lil silly sometimes? Sure. Do I care? No. Simply replacing disposables with things that can be reused instead of thrown away can be HUGE to diminishing your loads of crap. PLUS! It can save you money!
A lil sidenote on re-using food (hear me out, mmkay): throw vegetable and meat “trash” (cores, trimmings, stalks, bones) in the freezer. When you’ve reached a, er, critical mass, use it to make stock! Simply toss into a large pot, add water, salt, pepper and any other species – and simmer!
- Recycle: I’ve argued before, recycling should be your last-ditch effort after reducing and reusing. However, making sure to recycle definitely cuts down the waste you put curbside. If you’re not sure what you can recycle, ask your town or at your work what they will take and when. Funny…most of my recycling is glass bottles of the wine variety…
- Cut down on packaging: Next time you go to a grocery store, take a minute to check out how things are packaged. Note how we really really like to put things in a bag, or many bags, and then in box. Or maybe a box first, then wrap it in plastic, then put it in a bag, in another box. Or whatever. Doesn’t really matter the order, or the amount, or the reasoning behind it – buy that item, and all that crap ends up in your trash. To avoid (and to actually eat healthier!) I recommend the following: a) shop around the perimeter of a store as much as possible, and b) shop the bulk bins (using, of course, the plastic bags you’ve brought with you). Doing this will not only automatically cut down on excess packaging in one fell swoop, it will also eliminate a lot of processed crap from your cart at check-out!
- Compost: I need an entire post just on this and how to do it (maybe next month!) but composting is another biggie in cutting down waste – because it turns your waste into something positive. I create a whole crap-load of compost, but it’s no longer waste – it’s food for my flowers in the summer. Moroever, it actually re-generates food for me: last year, my compost grew me several tomato bushes, peppers, butternut squash, a pumpkin, and a gigantic sunflower. I did not water it, tend it – I only fed it my compost!
- Eat locally: This may seem to be less intuitive, but eating locally (e.g farmer’s markets, farm stands) cuts down your waste drastically. Why? It’s rarely anything beyond minimally packaged, and you can, more often than not, bring your own re-used plastic bags to farmer’s markets. Thus, you end up with awesome, whole foods without any new packaging – the waste of which goes into the compost! Some ideas on how to do this can be found in this post, even though it’s about the holidays.
That’s it. That is all I do to achieve Crap Saint status. Not all that difficult, and can actually improve your diet and save you money. Being green is, once again, good for you too!