Wednesday, March 18, 2009

How to reduce waste in your home.

Like I've been saying from the moment I started my blog, every little thing we do to help the environment makes a difference. Sometimes we get overwhelmed at thinking of a full green conversion. How will it affect our day to day life? Well I've decided to quickly list a few simple steps I've taken to reduce waste in my home and in the process, sending less waste to the landfills.

1- Just because you recycle, doesn't mean there is no waste! We all try to do our best and recycle everything we can. It's not always easy, but most of us do as much as possible. But the truth of the matter is that even if you recycle, a lot of waste is created during the production of the recyclable materials... It's important to understand the 3 Rs of a greener life : Reduce, Reuse and Recycle. When you buy foods in containers that can be recycled, also think of how they can be reused. Yogourt containers, plastic ice cream buckets, glass jars and bottles... they can all be reused in your day to day life.

2- Graduate from paper coffee filters : If you are a fan of coffee like I am, you probably make coffee everyday. That is 365 paper filters that go in the trash a year. And I know you may say its paper and paper is biodegradable, but stop and think. Most filters are made from new paper, which means trees are being cut down. Plus, most of them are bleached which is a process that puts a lot of chemicals in the environment and, well, your coffee! Did you know that tons of companies like Krups, Mr. Coffee, Medelco, Hamilton Beach (to only name a few) make reusable, permanent filters that sell for a few dollars and last you years! You can get them in basket and cone shapes. They are great and totally washable!

3- Baking can be green too! So how many of you out there love baking? I know I adore it. I make muffins all the time. When you start adding it up though, it really gets scary : 12 muffins every 2 weeks : Over 300 paper cups to put them in and throw away every year. Really, it isn't necessary. Most of us have non-stick bakeware and with a minimal coating of canola oil, you have perfectly unstuck muffins or cup cakes!

4- Wrapping wrapped produce? We all have the habit of grabbing those little plastic produce bags at the grocery store. But are they really necessary? Fruits and veggies with delicate and breakable skins like tomatoes, plums, bell peppers, apples, maybe... But why put onions, bananas, oranges and grapefruit in them too? Nature offers a variety of pre-wrapped foods ready to be simply brought home. And for those of you who simply MUST have the bags, try these reusable ones : ECOBAGS makes organic cotton drawstring that way less than 0.10 lbs on the produce scales.

5- Trapped biodegradable waste cannot biodegrade! No matter how much biodegradable waste we throw out like food and paper towels, the reality is that if you trap them inside a non-biodegradable trash bag, they will stay for years and years in a landfill somewhere. Most biodegradable trash bags are made from a treated polyethylene material that has a biodegradable cycle of 12 to 14 months. According to Munger Nature, a Qu├ębec company that makes amazing biodegradable plastic products, the oxo-degradable principal transforms the polyethylene into biodegradable matter. The site's info is a wonderful read, you should really click and see...

I hope these little tips help you take those first steps into a greener everyday life!