Do you still remember my first post on sustainability?
There, I recounted how I turned from trash churner to trash champion with a renewed mindset, and that is, this: When I manage my trash, I lessen my stress and the stress I give to the environment.
Fast forward now, I am happy. And my sanity does not depend upon the garbage truck that comes to pick up irregularly!
Making Recycling Fun Together
But I don’t want to bear the burden of trash management alone. So it’s a good thing my daughter who is six has also caught my appeal at home.
She is most bothered when, after hearing the bell (the garbage truck is coming when you hear that), the truck just leaves.
The look on her face after that is pure frustration. It’s like a friend passed by without saying hi.
So she has enlisted herself in our journey to lessen the waste in our household, and here are a few things that we will be adopting as we go along.
Hopefully, they become standard practice until we reduce our waste close to zero.
For now, I will be talking about paper. Do you have a lot, I mean, a lot of paper to throw away? Here’s how you can manage them!
Managing Paper Trash at Home
First, don’t take paper trash home. It’s simple, really. When you buy several packs of yogurt from the supermarket, you need the yogurt but not the cardboard that goes with it.
What I would do moving forward is to take the cardboard, as well as other unnecessary trappings and packaging that go with my items and dump them in the supermarket or the mall’s garbage bin.
These establishments have regular trash pick-up schedules and recycling facilities, so they are better at managing the trash they sold to me.
Second, reduce paper waste. Bond paper has two sides. When one is done, say, you printed out a recipe on one side (who still does that?) the next side can be used for your child’s doodling.
White paper must never be thrown without the other side being taken advantage of. I mean, how many trees are cut for these white paper!
I have a neighbor who buys white paper by the kilogram. Her trucks then take these to a recycling facility. Garbage lessened, money earned.
Third, recycle paper whenever you can. For example, paper napkins that are used in the kitchen can be added to your compost.
In fact, the newspaper that the fish seller used to wrap your dried fish can be dumped in there.
I read it somewhere that paper is mostly carbon so it can balance out the nitrogenous matter coming from other sources in your pile. Shredded paper can also increase moisture and the retention of water of the compost pit which are helpful.
A website however advises against composting paper napkins in general because they might contaminate the recycling stream. It’s your call. For me, I only use for this purpose those that were used in the kitchen.
Fourth, try not to use paper that much. Instead of using paper towels, substitute washable and reusable cloth towels. It’s easy to wash them, they can be dried under the sun and they are ready in no time.
My mom uses reusable cloth towels made from old clothing all the time. It’s a practice she got from my grandmother, and I presume, my grandmother got it from her mother.
You save money and you help lessen the use of paper in the house, which is great!
Fifth, allot a paper budget in your home. And for those instances when paper really needs to be used, allot a paper budget.
For example, for this week, paper for Art is ten pages (that could be cruel to a child who loves to paint!) That way, my child will understand that paper is not to be wasted because the next allotment will come next week.
When the supply is scarce, their use will be maximized. The shortage of paper makes the student more careful in doing her work — she can’t afford to waste any piece so she will plan and be resourceful.
If you know there is a limit to the consumption of these, then you will not splurge.
You Helped & You Saved
Bonus in doing doing the above is more savings (and you can even sell to a junk shop that buys these), less garbage to deal with and, eventually less stress.
Don’t we all want to handle that stress successfully, just like we do garbage?
Manage your trash right away and feel free to try out some of my tips and tricks in recycling, reducing and reusing.
How about you? What steps have you taken to be on top of your trash issues, err, I mean stressors?
In case you’re wondering, I still use plastic at home. I don’t feel guilty about it but I am working on reducing my consumption of it. Are you in the same journey as I am? Hope to hear from you and learn some of your tricks. Really need help on this!
See you again next Monday for another post on sustainable living and what it means in my home one day at a time.