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I've been thinking more and more about the reducing & reusing aspects of reduce, reuse, & recycle & I have to say that It's somewhat hard.<br><br>
Reducing isn't so bad. How much crap do I buy that I don't really need? A lot. Or at least it used to be a lot. Now I compare products not just based on price and merits, but also on how much packaging is included. The fish guy at the supermarket (I know I shouldn't even be in a supermarket) looked at me like I was nuts when I told him to wrap up the fish without the styrofoam.<br><br>
Reusing isn't bad, but it's HARD. It takes creativity is what it is. I unwrapped my giant BJ's toilet paper package (I know, I should be doing family cloth) and there's this BIG piece of plastic. What do I do with it???? I mean, hey we're fighting an OIL war here I may as well use this OIL product for SOMETHING, right? Using it as a garbage bag seems ironic for some reason.<br><br>
Are garbage bags necessary?<br><br>
How about other packaging--what to do with it? How can I re-use it?<br><br><br><br><br>
SO, the whole point of me starting this thread is to explore some ideas for myself on how to reduce and reuse stuff more.
 

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I have a lot of the same concerns, but no real answers or deep thoughts to share tonight. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/eyesroll.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="roll"> I'm chin-deep in major spring cleaning at the moment.
 

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Interesting that you bring up the garbage bag thing. I've often tried to think of alternatives to plastic garbage bags but haven't come up with anything.
 

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The obvious alternative to garbage bags is no garbage bags. We have those big green trash cans you roll out to the street and unfortunately in our town they only take bagged trash. I would love it if I could just chuck anything in there and then they'd dump it with their fancy schmancy truck than hauls the thing up and over, but alas we have to have bags. I've been thinking about trying a brown paper bag sometime and seeing if that will work, but haven't gotten around to it yet 'cause it doesn't fit in our kitchen trash can very well. Our can is one of those that you step on the pedal and the top pops open and it has a bucket liner in it that you just pull out to empty (like a bagless vacuum cleaner). What I would like to do is just dump that into the big green garbage can and be done with it. I know growing up (I'm probly old enough to be some of you'ns mama, 43) that my mama used a brown grocery bag (before the day of the plastic grocery bag) in the tall square kitchen trash can.<br><br>
Plastic is so recent! I remember ads on TV for shampoo in "new shatterproof plastic bottles". It's not like it's some lost ancient secret of how to do without plastic. There are plenty of people left on the planet who remember if we'll only ask them and if our bureaucracy will let us do what needs to be done w/o making us buy plastic garbage bags to throw away so they can sit in the landfill and not rot for hundreds if not thousands of years.<br><br><span style="font-size:xx-small;">oops. sorry about the rant...</span>
 

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The reusing part is my favourite! All of my clothing gets recycled in some way, like made into pillows or hopefully in the future sewn into rag quilts, and definitely used for rags.<br>
I use perrier bottles for my regular water bottles to carry water around. I use glass jars and bottles to store herbs oils and tinctures.<br>
I make wall shelves out of clementine boxes...<br>
I salvage a lot of crap off the street to make into cool things for my home. Though there is an entire economy of street crap in Montreal. Its a way of life.<br><br>
I like reusing. I hope to get really good and creative with it and build my house out of junk. Its great! Just requires a new way of looking at things I guess
 

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Here's just one option of compostable/biodegradable trash bags<br><br><a href="http://www.ecoproducts.com/Home/home_biobags/home_biobags_trashcan.htm" target="_blank">http://www.ecoproducts.com/Home/home...s_trashcan.htm</a>
 

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I love this...saw it on TV the other day. I would SO love to live like this!!<br><br><a href="http://www.touchtheearthranch.com/Rhome.htm" target="_blank">http://www.touchtheearthranch.com/Rhome.htm</a>
 

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I can reduce. I've done a good job with that recently.<br><br>
I suck at reusing. Our town only takes plastics 1 and 2, so I donate our margarine bins and stuff to the local preschool.<br><br>
I don't buy the biodegradable garbage bags because they're very expensive and nothing breaks down in a landfill anyway.
 

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I hear you on the plastic wrap. If it's not in bag form, I can't think of what to do with it. What is family cloth?
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>Narn</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10785358"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">What is family cloth?</div>
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cloth wipes used instead of toilet paper. You wash them instead of throwing them away. You could use baby washcloths as family cloth, for example.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>aaronsmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10777699"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">Interesting that you bring up the garbage bag thing. I've often tried to think of alternatives to plastic garbage bags but haven't come up with anything.</div>
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I use my old cloth diaper wet bag. It fits my can perfectly, and when I take out the garbage (which isn't much when you think about food that goes to composting, recyclables going in their can), then turn it inside out for a quick rinse, toss some muleteam borax in the bottom and it's ready to go again.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>BeckC</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10782799"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I suck at reusing. Our town only takes plastics 1 and 2, so I donate our margarine bins and stuff to the local preschool.<br></div>
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Oh I have that problem (they only take 1 & 2). It sucks because a lot of packaging is 5! I just try not to buy things that come in plastic. But there always seems to be some 5 plastic going in the trash.<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad">
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>starshine1001</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10782741"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I love this...saw it on TV the other day. I would SO love to live like this!!<br><br><a href="http://www.touchtheearthranch.com/Rhome.htm" target="_blank">http://www.touchtheearthranch.com/Rhome.htm</a></div>
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Now that is recycling! Amazing!!
 

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for me, a big part of reducing is also buying in bulk so there's not the excess packaging, and not buying things pre-packaged for convenience. luckily for me, there is an awesome mennonite market 15 minutes from my house (which is funny because there's really nothing 15 minutes from my house - i live in the boonies <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/lol.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="lol">). they sell flour and oats and pasta and all kinds of stuff in bulk. so i don't have the cardboard box surrounding the plastic bag and all that. and it also allows me to make fewer purchases because i can buy larger amounts - so even though i do have the items in a plastic bag (that's how they are there - pre-measured and priced in a plastic bag with a twist tie) i can buy 3x as much as i could at a regular grocery store, so it's only one package i have to recycle instead of 3.<br><br>
we also compost which makes a *huge* difference in how much trash we generate. and even though the only things we can recycle near to where we live are paper, cardboard, and aluminimum, we recycle everything - we bought big huge garbage bins with wheels and we sort our recycling and let it pile up in those, then we load it up in the truck and drive about 3x a year about 45 minutes away to drop the stuff at a recycling plant. it's great, actually, because it also reduced the amount of gas we use to do our recycling since we do it so infrequently.<br><br>
we are big reusers too - especially plastic and glass containers. like all the little glass jars from, say, fruit preserves. we wash them and keep them and either use them to can with (if they are real canning jars) or use as drinking glasses for the kids, or for storing small items in like screws or whatever in DH's workshop. plastic containers often find their way into our gardening regimen - small plastic containers are great for starting seedlings, for example. and right after we moved, before we had our water filter installed and had to buy bottled water for a while, we accumulated a ton of plastic water jugs. so we cut off the bottoms and use those to keep our recently transplanted seedlings warm overnight until the weather is warm enough. we also use a lot of them for apple cider - we press a ton of it every year in the fall at my FIL's, and pour the cider into those jugs and then freeze them. we've used the same jugs for like 4 years in a row!<br><br>
i also try to pick up used clothing and things whenever i can - cloth diapers, consignment sales/shops, thrift stores. and tattered old clothing always ends up as a rag or something in our house.<br><br>
as for garbage bags, i try to do my part as far as putting as little in them as possible, and filling them all the way up before closing them. for now, that'll have to do.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>dillonandmarasmom</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10785412"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">I use my old cloth diaper wet bag. It fits my can perfectly, and when I take out the garbage (which isn't much when you think about food that goes to composting, recyclables going in their can), then turn it inside out for a quick rinse, toss some muleteam borax in the bottom and it's ready to go again.</div>
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That's a good idea but here, like where beanma lives, we have to have our trash bagged. I think that's stupid seeing as they just dump it all in the back of their truck anyway. <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/greensad.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="greensad"><br>
The brown paper bag sounds like a good idea. We only have a 13 gallon trash can in our kitchen so it might fit.
 

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<img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/notes.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="notes">:<br><br>
I think about these things all.the.time! Sometimes it really gets me down thinking about how much garbage I am responsible for. AND, then thing that really gets me, is how much I don't even know about. Like all the packaging that it came it when it got shipped to the store and the waste in the manufacturing process! It really overwhelms me when I think about it <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="/img/vbsmilies/smilies/dizzy.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Dizzy">:<br><br>
I try really hard to reduce. I buy local, buy less, consider packaging and try to know about companies that I buy from but I still end up with a lot of trash.<br><br>
Sooo.... I decided to become a very diligent recycler. I have ALWAYS recycled, but I wanted to get organized and recycle every tiny piece of plastic, glass and metal. I did this for a while until I read an article that talked about people like me, who thought that they were doing the right thing. It said that when you are in doubt, throw it out. If you recycle something that is not labeled as "recyclable" you could be contaminating the whole batch of recycling, rendering it all "trash." <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/oops.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="oops"><br><br>
Another thing that I learned was that you should not recycle pizza boxes because the grease contaminates the rest of the cardboard, who knew? <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/shrug.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="shrug"> I generally use those as fire starters anyway.<br><br>
Learning all this has given me even more incentive to "reduce," as it is really the best option anyway <img alt="" class="inlineimg" src="http://www.mothering.com/discussions/images/smilies/winky.gif" style="border:0px solid;" title="Wink">
 

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It does take ingenuity that is for sure. I did find POM toilet paper. If you buy it in bulk at a store like costco it comes in a cardboard box and each roll is individually wrapped but it is wrapped in paper so ALL of the packaging can be recycled.<br><br>
The plastics can be so frustrating. We went vegan, which I know is so HUGELY good for the environment, and all the vegan buttery items I found are in number five plastic. I can't see us doing without some type of butter spread for eating and baking right now. But, I won't throw them away! We reuse them for leftovers and other things. But, what the heck will I do when I have so many that they don't fit anymore!<br><br>
I am not buying toothpaste anymore for this very reason. Except isn't Tom's metal tubes recyclable? I can't seem to remember but we are using baking soda with a few drops of wintergreen essential oil now. I mix it up in reused glass peanut butter jars and keep one in each bathroom. So, I can recycle the cardboard from the baking soda and reuse my peanut butter jars.<br><br>
We actually keep a lot of jars around for storing leftover soups and for drinking out of too. I use them to store nuts, baking supplies, and all kinds of things.<br><br>
I am totally changed by the story of stuff movie. I was always thrifty and knew the importance environmentally of buying used, donating items we didnt' want to thrift stores and all that. But, now I am like millitant about it. When my daughters go to birthday parties they give cash as a gift only. We give used things as presents to each other and we buy all clothes, shoes, household goods of any kind used. Only food is bought new. So, this makes it really easy to reuse. It really becomes a habit.
 

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<div>Originally Posted by <strong>TinyBabyBean</strong> <a href="/community/forum/post/10801237"><img alt="View Post" class="inlineimg" src="/community/img/forum/go_quote.gif" style="border:0px solid;"></a></div>
<div style="font-style:italic;">The plastics can be so frustrating. We went vegan, which I know is so HUGELY good for the environment, and all the vegan buttery items I found are in number five plastic.</div>
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Earth Balance makes "<a href="http://www.earthbalance.net/product.html" target="_blank">buttery sticks</a>" which are foil wrapped and in paper board boxes like butter. I'm not convinced that they're better for the environment from a product standpoint (google "palm oil" and "orangutans"), but we use them along with butter because DH is dairy intolerant. The packaging certainly seems better than the number 5 tubs. They carry them at our HFS. I think they're not quite as tasty as the Earth Balance in the tubs, but not too bad.
 
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