Just Another Recycling Story

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.

Warning: This is just another reduce, reuse, recycle story.
A simple experiment that will teach my daughter what plastic does to the environment.

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.

We can sell this to junk shops and earn extra cash, too.

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.

Sustainable It Is

These past months, there had been several instances when the poor, tiny dump truck supposed to pick up trash in our area would just pass us by, not even stopping to collect our garbage.

You see, by the time it reached our street, it was full, dangerously tottering on one side, without room for more.

I was angry. My trash heap was growing and I did not know what to do with it. How could they not provide a bigger truck? Surely, they knew the rubbish we were keeping were long overdue.

About three weeks ago, garbage sitting in our garage for about two weeks had begun to produce funky smells. It was terrible! Flies and other insects had begun to swarm and thrive in those bags. It was totally frustrating YUCKY!

Who is to Blame?

I was angry, yes, but a realization hit me. I am supposed to be angry with myself. I let trash pile up. I was not mindful of my consumption.

If I can manage my household’s incoming, I must be able to manage its outgoing! Sounds fair, isn’t it?

And just because the local government did not instruct me to segregate, it didn’t mean I may not do it if it’s for the best.

I can blame the truck all I want, and the town officials all day, but the immediate change I need must come from me.

I had an aha moment. Others have long done it, and I am catching up. I made a resolve to segregate and to recycle. And that’s what I’m doing right now.

A Change of Heart

My family began to implement a new scheme in waste management in our home.

Would you believe that there is peace knowing that even if the garbage collector will not arrive this week, my trash is good and manageable! Here are some of the things we do to lessen our home’s impact to the environment:

Lessen Waste Production. Paper bags are folded neatly, and so are plastic bags which are still clean and dry, for further use. We have made the resolve to continue using them again and again until they are no longer useful. Then and only then will they be thrown away… responsibly, of course.

These paper bags can be used for wrapping things and wiping oily surfaces in the kitchen.

Responsible Waste Segregation. Waste are segregated. Milk cartons, juice cartons, bottles are separated from vegetable and fruit peelings. The latter will go to our container compost for use as a fertilizer when needed.

Tote Bag Usage. We lessened the use of plastic. This tote bag mama is proud to have a tote handy whether I go to the supermarket or the fresh produce market. Tote bags can be washed easily in the washing machine or hand-washed. They dry easily, too. A cotton tote bag I’ve had since 2009 is still with me. It continues to serve me during those market visits or for carrying things around.

I saw this at an 88 shop at a nearby mall.

Supporting Like-minded Businesses. When shopping, I had begun to realize the impact of all those plastic to our planet. When shopping, I go for soap bars, not bottled body washes. I also replaced my plastic body scrubs with loofah sponges. Slowly, I will implement a no plastic rule in the house but it might probably take a long time. But at least a head start is here and I don’t intend to stop!

This loofah is organic, unbleached and earth-friendly! Truly sustainable!

Buying Thrifted Items and 2nd Hand. I now practice this principle — if you can get a good deal out of a second hand item, why not buy it? I find wonderful items made of wood, ceramic and stainless materials in thrift shops all the time so why not? I realized the more we patronize plastic products, the more businessmen will make them! And the more trash we will produce in the long run. We can no longer manage trash effectively as it is!

Composting, Composting, Composting. Clearly, this made my life a whole lot easier. Since fruit and vegetable by-products can be used to enrich my potted plants, I went ahead and imitated what many people do — make compost! It is easy, actually. There are various YouTube tutorials addressing this concern! This last one made my life a whole lot easier.

My daughter is covering kitchen waste with soil for composting.

That is my modest list, so far. I believe I will grow in this as long as I keep in mind that the sustainable lifestyle might possibly make our sad old earth filled with mirth. 🙂

How It All Began

So during (or simultaneous with) my decluttering adventure, which you can read from my previous posts, I slowly set aside my plastic items and opted for the wooden, glass, ceramic and stainless kitchen tools that I already have.

I did not buy new ones as I am also minimizing my expenditure but using to the full my old treasures. I also think I will continue using them until they are worn out. That way I can also save money.

And I began to do gardening and composting. Trust me, you will love helping the environment because simply, you are also helping yourself.

Recently bought from the nursery. Oh, love it!

Check out my posts on Decluttering and Living with Less.

Embrace Your Space

When Stuff Kills

Should I Rush Into Decluttering?

Carve Out Your Creative Space

See you every Monday for my Sustainable Living articles as I explore what this means in my life and my home.

How about you? Do you have suggestions to a newbie like me?