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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Reducing the Trash


Trash is inevitable. An ugly truth. Accepting this has been a difficult pill to swallow. Ever since my family’s trash challenge, I’ve become a bit fanatical about reducing it on all fronts. In order to do so, another conundrum begins: hoarding.
I also love to purge; clearing out closets is personally rewarding, but that trash needs to go somewhere…and in order to reuse in lieu of discarding, my tidy spaces ultimately fill up again.

My cupboard is now stuffed with packaging I didn’t want to discard. With lofty intentions of creating art or musical projects with the kids out of our loads of plastic goods, I’m sure I’ll end up just tossing it all out in one of my cleaning rages. Packaging is the nemesis—the amount of plastic and shrink-wrap is sometimes sickening. To reduce our packaging, we now buy products based on the amount of waste it will produce. Buying bulk and storing in reusable containers instead of individually-wrapped portions for the kids’ lunch boxes has been helpful.

Switching to cloth napkins has been the most rewarding change we’ve made. I love setting the table with colorful cloth napkins, and with kids that tend to use their pants as a napkin anyway, we hardly notice the extra laundry. Cloth rags for window washing and cleaning have also helped in reducing paper trash.

Finally, the compost has been a true blessing. We keep a small bin in the sink that is dumped in the corner of our yard every couple of days. The smell is never an issue, and the garden this year is thankful.

Contributed by Megan Seckman, parent-writer for Today’s Family magazine.

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