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s/o plastic bags: zero waste home


regentrude
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In the plastic bag thread, kubiac mentioned the book zero waste home and mentioned some things she is doing to reduce environmental impact. In order not to derail that thread, I'm starting a new one.

Please share what you are doing in your home to live more environmentally friendly, what you find easy, and what you find difficult. I am looking for more ideas.

 

 

We do, and find it easy to do:

use reusable shopping bags or boxes

compost

recycle what is recyclable in our town

use a clothes line

do not get takeout (avoids styrofoam containers)

use cloth napkins, and rags for cleaning

don't use paper plates, disposable cups etc, even for large gatherings

chose a house within biking distance from work; DH bikes daily

have a low maintenance home and use few cleaning products

do not use insecticides on our lawn

 

This is where we could do better:

I am not biking to work on a regular basis. Too lazy, no good excuse.

I do not mop floors with a reusable cloth ever since I discovered swiffer - so much easier than dealing with the water bucket. 

I don't collect items that are not recyclable in our town, but could be recycled in another town, and take them there

I do not use reusable feminine products.

I don't buy milk in glass bottles and make my own yoghurt.

 

Our biggest environmental vice:

We drive a lot on weekends so we can go hiking and climbing.

We let DS drive to the city so he can train.

 

Things I find impossible to do where I live:

bulk shopping. There is not a single store where I can purchase unpackaged bulk goods.

 

ETA: All the great post below reminded me of a few things I forgot:

we use a soda stream and drink filtered carbonated tap water

we switched out heating system to a heat pump

 

 

Edited by regentrude
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One aphorism of the zero-waste home movement that I really like is "Stop wasting money on disposables; instead invest in reusables." Once you start seeing disposables as a trick by manufacturers, your whole viewpoint changes. They aren't helping you out by providing a single-use item, they are enticing you as a consumer to give them your money on a continuous basis rather than investing in a more substantial one-time purchase.

 

* Pilot Metropolitan fountain pen with replaceable cartridges

* Plain wood-case pencils

* Safety razor 

* Menstrual cup

* Handkerchiefs instead of Kleenex

* Cloth napkins, cloth diapers, cloth wipes, cloth rags, cloth nursing pads, etc. We do use toilet paper, but buy recycled and wrapped in paper so the paper wraps can be recycled.

* Stainless steel bento boxes and to-go containers and Thermoses for packing lunches

* Stainless steel insulated mugs and Thermoses for coffee

* Wooden clothespins instead of plastic (which will eventually photodegrade in the sun). If and when they are ruined, can be burned or composted.

 

We've also been working on "unplugging" what we can to save on energy costs. Manual pencil sharpener. Reel lawn mower. French press to make coffee. (Trying to find an old manual coffee grinder as well.)

 

Now, we still do takeout and fast-food, we use Tide (altho powdered in box) instead of making our own detergent, and I pay for a housekeeper who brings her own cleaning supplies, so we have a lot of imperfections in our household "zero-waste" system, but I've really really enjoyed making the shift.

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What are these?

 

* Plain wood-case pencils

 

I love my fountain pen, although I don't use an ink well, but plastic cartridges that hold the ink.

 

I cannot find toilet paper from recycled paper in this town, except very rarely as special buy at Aldi (and wrapped in plastic). Back home, most tp is from recycled paper. For the purpose it is being used for, it seems ridiculous not to.

 

Edited by regentrude
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We have been very slowly making changes. The easy changes have been...

-cloth diapers

- reusable bags

- no paper products other than toilet paper(we use rags, cloth napkins, dish towels.)

- mostly reusable food storage containers that aren't plastic (with the exception of a box of Ziploc freezer bags my dad gave us that we are slowly using up.)

- hang drying our clothes

- we buy almost everything that enters this house used, aside from food and gift people give us.

 

Things we're working on becoming a habit currently:

- not getting take out or using plastic utensils while eating out.

- recycling(easy for me but not so much for the kids or dh.)

 

 

This that we put in the back burner for now:

-composting (not sure why this is so hard for us)

- biking and walking more often( we do only own one car which is great and we use it very little throughout the week. But with so many little kids getting anywhere on bike or foot is just too much work for our area.)

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Wood-case pencils --> literally just Dixon-Ticonderogas instead of mechanical pencils. The metal bit that binds the eraser and pencil is landfill, but the rest of it can be used to the nubs and they are basically biodegradable.

Edited by kubiac
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Wood-case pencils --> literally just Dixon-Ticondergas instead of mechanical pencils. The metal bit that binds the eraser and pencil is landfill, but the rest of it can be used to the nubs and they are basically biodegradable.

 

Oh, I see - you mean just plain wooden pencils!

I use those exclusively :) But I have to buy my sharpeners in Germany because I can't find decent ones here.

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We aren't zero waste but we try to be conscious of it.

 

Reusable towels and napkins

Cloth diapers

No paper plates and such

Reusable menstrual products

Bulk food foods with less packaging wherever possible

Thoughtful home design to lower energy bills

Minimizing driving to a few combined trips weekly for the family.

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In the plastic bag thread, kubiac mentioned the book zero waste home and mentioned some things she is doing to reduce environmental impact. In order not to derail that thread, I'm starting a new one.

Please share what you are doing in your home to live more environmentally friendly, what you find easy, and what you find difficult. I am looking for more ideas.

 

 

We do, and find it easy to do:

use reusable shopping bags or boxes

compost

recycle what is recyclable in our town

use a clothes line

do not get takeout (avoids styrofoam containers)

use cloth napkins, and rags for cleaning

don't use paper plates, disposable cups etc, even for large gatherings

chose a house within biking distance from work; DH bikes daily

have a low maintenance home and use few cleaning products

do not use insecticides on our lawn

 

This is where we could do better:

I am not biking to work on a regular basis. Too lazy, no good excuse.

I do not mop floors with a reusable cloth ever since I discovered swiffer - so much easier than dealing with the water bucket.

I don't collect items that are not recyclable in our town, but could be recycled in another town, and take them there

I do not use reusable feminine products.

I don't buy milk in glass bottles and make my own yoghurt.

 

Our biggest environmental vice:

We drive a lot on weekends so we can go hiking and climbing.

We let DS drive to the city so he can train.

 

Things I find impossible to do where I live:

bulk shopping. There is not a single store where I can purchase unpackaged bulk goods.

I'm not sure if you've tried it, but I use rags or old wash clothes with my swifter to mop floors. I just lay one on the floor, center the swifter on top, and then bring each corner over the top and tuck it into the perforated slot.

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I'm not sure if you've tried it, but I use rags or old wash clothes with my swifter to mop floors. I just lay one on the floor, center the swifter on top, and then bring each corner over the top and tuck it into the perforated slot.

 

I used to use the Swiffer wet jet but replaced it with a version from Rubbermaid that has a refillable spray solution holder and a reusable/washable pad. Besides reducing waste, it's so nice not to have to keep spending money on replacement sprays and pads, plus I can customize them to use more eco-friendly materials.

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I'm not sure if you've tried it, but I use rags or old wash clothes with my swifter to mop floors. I just lay one on the floor, center the swifter on top, and then bring each corner over the top and tuck it into the perforated slot.

My old microfiber or prefolds work great for this :)

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I think everything we do is pretty common in Oregon--nothing above and beyond.

 

What we do that's good:

-recycle

-reusable bags

-compost

-small house=less energy (someday we'd like to add solar panels)

-wear things like jeans multiple times before washing

-almost all of our light bulbs are now LED--slowly switching as they burn out

-reel lawn mower

-old-fashioned rake instead of a leaf blower (surprised how many neighbors own blowers for 1-2 months use per year)

-use library extensively for books and dvds.

-dh repairs any appliance that breaks around here. We also use computers and phones way past obsolescence.

 

Things we do that leave too large a footprint:

-disposable diapers for disabled dd who will wear them forever

-lots of driving for kid activities--we live too far out for anyone to walk or bike (dh will bike to work occasionally)

-we use some paper products--currently lots of paper towels while housebreaking puppy

-I like paper--real newspaper instead of online, books instead of kindle, I print maps instead of using phone while driving

-I also still buy CD's instead of downloading music. It's only 1 or 2 per year.

Edited by Ali in OR
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For me, "being green" is too closely tied to my hoarding tendencies. "Oh, we can reuse this...someday," that leads to clutter, or agonizing over how not to use extra containers or bags. It comes down to a choice...do I try to save the planet or save my sanity?

 

There are some things we do to cut down on waste:

 

- recycle

- compost

- use reusable bags

- cloth diapers

- Divacup

- water filter instead of bottled water

 

But to be honest, I feel like I NEED conveniences like Clorox wipes and paper towels and an electric clothes dryer. My house is a mess as it is, and those things are worth their weight in gold because the place would be a disaster otherwise.

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.

 

We've also been working on "unplugging" what we can to save on energy costs. Manual pencil sharpener. Reel lawn mower. French press to make coffee. (Trying to find an old manual coffee grinder as well.)

 

 

They still make manual coffee grinders. We bought one from Amazon.

 

I'd love a working antique one some day.

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Here are the things we are doing:

 

Things that are working here:

- MomsintheGarden has a very large garden from which we get much of our food.

- Of course we compost all food waste for the garden. (And in the past couple of weeks we have rescued over thirty bags of leaves and pine needles and their plastic bags which were headed for the landfill.)

- Our photovoltaic array produces just over 100% of the electricity which we consume in our all-electric home (net metering: over 18 MWh per year). Electricity consumption is below 2.5 MWh/year/person.

- Included in the electricity consumption is driving our electric car 8500 miles per year.

- Gasoline consumption for other vehicles has been reduced to about 200 gallons/year (about 40 gallons/year/person).

- Consumption of goods and services has been cut to a bare minimum (below $3000/year/person including taxes).

- We walk most days and pick up the trash on a two-mile stretch of our back country road. (A ridiculous amount of trash for a road with very little traffic! We get more recyclables and nearly as much trash from the side of this short stretch of road as our family produces.)

 

Things we could improve:

- We use plastic bags (but we reuse them for trash).

- We purchase quite a few electronic items from China (I'm from one now).

- We still use about 50 gallons of propane each year for our cooktop. (O.K. Our home is ALMOST all-electric.)

 

Things for which I see no replacement:

- Our farm tractor runs on diesel.

- Long-distance travel is done in our gasoline vehicles.

 

My favorite energy-saving gadget:

- Our heat-pump water heater. That thing cools and dries the basement, keeps the produce cool, and simultaneously reduces electricity consumption by about 4 MWh/year. Simply amazing! (It needs a room AT LEAST 700 cubic feet in volume: about 100 square feet. Ours is in a utility room with the air handler for our home heat pump where it recycles waste heat into the water.)

Edited by RegGuheert
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Reg, i love how you have such a clear grasp of usage and cost. Impressive! I wish we had solar panels.

 

Things I do that are easy/have been doing a long time:

- reusable water bottles daily. Refuse offered disposable water bottles in most cases.

- no paper/plastic utensils, even for parties.

- refillable Starbucks cup for my monthly meeting with a friend at Starbucks.

- nearly all shopping is done with reusable bags

- i have nylon liners in most of my small trashcans at home so I don't need a plastic bag liner.

- recycle all recyclables. I also have a recycle collection bin upstairs so shampoo bottles, etc. make it to recycling.

- bulk goods; cotton bags for buying bulk goods like pasta

- all cloth: cleaning cloths, mop cover, napkins, towels

- menstral cup, though I can't rely on this 100%

- canning/freezing food from my organic garden

- composting and feeding things to chickens

- buying used things often

- borrowing books from library as often as possible. I have mostly eliminated my impulse-Amazon habit.

 

Things I have not been able to solve:

- i use a Swiffer dry cloth to pick up my shedding hair from my bathroom floor. Nothing else does this particular job well. If I vacuum it, it just clogs up my vacuum. If I sweep it, it just gets entangled in the broom and doesn't work that well anyway. So I keep using these.

- i still use dryer sheets because of static. I have tried things like dryer balls and the aluminum ball, but nothing does this job properly. I do cut my dryer sheets into fourths to make them go longer.

- we don't live in a walkable/bikeable area; we live right beside a death-defying busy state road with no shoulder in most places. People do sometimes bike on it, but IMO it is way too dangerous. People have been killed on that road biking or walking.

- i cannot make my family eliminate paper towels. I want them for a couple things: mopping off grease or cleaning up something awful like cat vomit. But unfortunately, if they are available (which they are) DH uses them a lot more then necessary. It turns into a stupid argument if there are no paper towels.

- i do use some convenience things for packing DS' lunches. Ideally, I would always have a slice of pumpkin break or oatmeal cookies or something, but I can't keep up with it. So I have little chip bags or granola bars or whatever. Same with Gatorades when he is in sport season. His bottled water is not enough and so I have Gatorades during sports. But I hide them in my house because everybody will use them as daily beverages otherwise, which burns me up!

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Things we are good at:

 

Bar rags for cleaning and hand wiping in the kitchen. (However: Do use a few unbleached, recycled paper towels for bacon grease, homemade fry grease and cat and dog barf.)

We both work at home. No gas for commutes. We save up errands to reduce trips into town.

Buying mostly clothes that will eventually biodegrade. Avoiding plastic based clothing (no polarfleece, polyester, spandex, etc) except we do continue to use what we had before we made the switch.

Eggs from our own pastured chickens so no packaging.

Composting or feeding to chickens all food scraps.

Using a funnel to get the last bit of katsup etc. out of the bottle.

Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets.

Gave up soda.

Use stainless steel water bottles and lunch box containers.

Line dry clothes when weather permits.

Use reusable bags when shopping. (Except I always forget to bring one to Rite Aid? Why just Rite Aid? It is a weird mental block).

Shop at the local farm stand when in season to avoid packaging.

LED bulbs except in my "mothing" lights on the back porch.

Hand tools in the kitchen. No KitchenAid, no electric can opener, no coffee maker, etc.

Choosing items in glass instead of plastic even when more expensive. (e.g. buying the smaller glass jars of pasta sauce rather than the larger plastic ones. No, we don't make our own. But I am sure we should.

Experimented to see the what the smallest amount of laundry detergent, dish soap, etc. was that still got the job done.

Buying in bulk when it reduce strips to the store and means less packaging.

 

What we really need to do:

Get off catalog and organization mailing list to reduce the amount of junk mail that comes to our home!!!

Use the 1000 paper grocery bags we have in the basement for "dry" trash (saving the plastic bag just for things like cat barf and mopped up cooking oil).

Buy more things made in USA.

Bring the reusable bag when I go to Rite Aid!

Get a reel mower for myself only. (We had one, which I loved to use, but my husband managed to cut himself badly on it once and it "disappeared").

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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I use these glass bottles at home. You can get silicone wraps separately. I love the fact that they're glass and not plastic. 

 

Bottles:

https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B003XPISEO/ref=pd_sim_60_1?ie=UTF8&pd_rd_i=B003XPISEO&pd_rd_r=ERFK9236QYCTK9FX33V6&pd_rd_w=KBAEG&pd_rd_wg=WpZhM&psc=1&refRID=ERFK9236QYCTK9FX33V6

 

Silicone Wraps:

https://www.amazon.com/Aquasana-AQ-SL-500-MULTI-Rainbow-Silicone-18-Ounce/dp/B00BJN8KUE/ref=sr_1_13?ie=UTF8&qid=1479485957&sr=8-13&keywords=aquasana

 

It also helps me get my water in. If I drink all 6 of them in a day then I get over and above my water servings. You can also put smoothies and other drinks in them.

 

 

ETA: I also bought one set of fiestaware dishes for each of our family members. Fiestaware is made in the US and is hearty so I felt that it was a good purchase. Everyone has their own color. We each have a dinner plate, salad plate, bowl, cup, saucer (can be used for a small plate), and I added a fruit dish and a bouillon bowl each. After each person eats they wash their one dish (because the next time they eat they'll need it). It's helped cut down on running the dishwasher and excess. 

 

I'm not super eco-friendly in everything but these are a couple of the things that we do.

 

Edited by importswim
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we don't use paper plates/cups.

we use very few paper towels (maybe I buy 1 roll every other month that I only use for very gross stuff like cat barf)

I use a steam mop with washable pads

I use a washable duster

recycle everything possible including setting aside metal to bring to the scrap yard

cut down on using aluminum foil by buying some baking pans with covers

DH's commute is about 10 minutes

I try hard to find activities for the kids that don't require regularly driving too far and some my older kid takes the bus to

small house, nearly no lawn, community garden (compost at community garden, cannot do so at home, never use pesticides or chemicals) 

high efficiency washer

energy saving bulbs everywhere

no decorations that require electricity

solar lights in the back of the house

 

you all know about my plastic bag problem.... :laugh:

 

 

 

 

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If you shop in  bulk, where do you shop?

 

Also, we have no easy source of grass fed pasture raised beef unless we choose to buy half a cow from a farmer. We don't eat enough meat to make this worth while, and we don't want to eat all the cuts. This is a pet peeve of mine: I really like division of labor and grocery stores and I do not want to store and preserve my own food for the year. I want to buy what I need when I need it. Plus, I would have to purchase and run a large freezer, something I don't currently have.

What other options have people found?

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We are lucky to have a good city waste program, so it is easy and cheap to recycle and compost.

 

As far as other things we've done well at:

 

I've cut out a lot of disposable plastic use in terms of packing lunches and such.  I've adopted reusable containers and I've replaced plastic wrap where required with wax paper.

I use cloth diapers and wipes.

Dh takes the bus to work - we chose our location to make this easy.

We do most of our activities close to home.

I make dd11 walk to school and violin lessons (this is, I am told, a great hardship.)

We don't use things like disposable plates.

We try and buy meat right from the farm, sides or quarters - though we have not done that so far this year.

I had a menstrual cup, but my dog recently pulled it out of my purse and chewed it to bits!  So, I guess I'll need to think about replacing it.  I've never been able to get into cloth pads.

 

Things I could improve: 

I also tend to use a Swiffer and paper towels for some cleaning.  This is probably the thing I could most easily change but am somewhat resistant to for no good reason.  I hate ate hate it when cleaning clothes get covered in dog hairs when I am trying to wipe things down, they do not rinse off easily.

For three years I hung dry all my clothes.  I recently bought a dryer for diapers, and I've really fallen down with line drying even with things I could.  I am hoping to get back on track with this by next summer.

I very often forget my grocery bags at home. 

 

 

By far the majority of our trash going out is in the recyclable bags, so plastics of one kind or another and a few cans.  I haven't found that there are many options to reduce this though I try to choose less packaged options.  Often though the products aren't all that equivalent - if I want cherry tomatoes I can get them only in plastic, or substitute big ones.  (Or, go to the farm market stand but then they may cost more than I can afford.)

 

Edited by Bluegoat
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If you shop in  bulk, where do you shop?

 

Also, we have no easy source of grass fed pasture raised beef unless we choose to buy half a cow from a farmer. We don't eat enough meat to make this worth while, and we don't want to eat all the cuts. This is a pet peeve of mine: I really like division of labor and grocery stores and I do not want to store and preserve my own food for the year. I want to buy what I need when I need it. Plus, I would have to purchase and run a large freezer, something I don't currently have.

What other options have people found?

 

One possibility with this might be to form a group with a few people who would split up that side of beef.  I've in the past got a group together to buy winter boxes of meat, so we could collect them all in one trip. I even kept some for people in my big freezer., since they had no room and it's better to keep it as full as possible.

 

Some farmers, if they can see there is a group who wants to purchase, may be willing to do more in terms of splitting things up, like with the boxes I purchased - they would include a variety of cuts in lots.  Some farmers aren't all that big on the marketing aspect but if you suggest an arrangement they would be interested.

 

Along those lines, there is a co-op here that facilitates quite a few of these kinds of things, meat shares, or bulk orders of grains, and so on.  It was started by people who needed to manage bulk purchases.

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If you shop in  bulk, where do you shop?

 

Also, we have no easy source of grass fed pasture raised beef unless we choose to buy half a cow from a farmer. We don't eat enough meat to make this worth while, and we don't want to eat all the cuts. This is a pet peeve of mine: I really like division of labor and grocery stores and I do not want to store and preserve my own food for the year. I want to buy what I need when I need it. Plus, I would have to purchase and run a large freezer, something I don't currently have.

What other options have people found?

 

 

Also, on the cuts, you can specify the cuts you like, and then have the rest as ground beef.  They will be scandalized that some tender cuts will end up in there.   But those make up for the not so great cuts.  

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Have you thought of canning meat? It's extremely easy to can and preserves so much better than in the freezer.

 

No. I cannot imagine canned steak tasting good. I am not interested in a hundred pounds of ground beef.

 

Also, as I stated earlier: I like division of labor. I do not wish to stock up on, and preserve, all the food I will eat throughout the year, but rather purchase fresh that which I intend to consume on short notice.

Edited by regentrude
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No. I cannot imagine canned steak tasting good. I am not interested in a hundred pounds of ground beef.

 

Also, as I stated earlier: I like division of labor. I do not wish to stock up on, and preserve, all the food I will eat throughout the year, but rather purchase fresh that which I intend to consume on short notice.

This might not work for you - but here is he general gist.

 

Canned ground beef isn't great, it works better for chunks. It's a time saver in recipes too. Unfortunately bulk buying meat does require prep though canning is the least time consuming - several hours to prep and can an entire side of beef is super fast.

 

But in terms of taste it works in any recipe that has beef, chicken, venison, moose, duck, turkey, etc cooked in - you end up with juicy, tender meat in its own gravy. Fish works too, but the bones soften up quite a bit (most sardines are raw packed too :) ).

 

Steaks I'd buy fresh as needed if I wasn't eating meat regularly, and sub in shredded beef for ground in normal recipes since the texture of the former is far superior.

 

Reusing lids and jars is a bonus over freezer bags and vacuum packs, or even butcher paper :)

 

Raw pack is by far the easiest and produces excellent results:

https://www.gopresto.com/recipes/canning/meat.php

Edited by Arctic Mama
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Ugh, I typed a whole post out and then lost it. No time to do it again :(

 

 

 

Quill, can you tell me more about these?!

I originally had a couple liners that were for lining diaper pails with, such as those sold on-line at Green Mountain Diapers. http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/blueberry-tall-diaper-pail-liner.html

But my mother loves to sew and give homemade gifts, so I asked her a couple years ago to make liners for my small trash cans. She used a vinyl type material and put a drawstring and toggle on the top of each. So, when emptying those cans, the boys just dump the trash into one larger kitchen trash bag. If they get yucky, I can wash them off, but it isn't often necessary. :)

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If you shop in  bulk, where do you shop?

 

Also, we have no easy source of grass fed pasture raised beef unless we choose to buy half a cow from a farmer. We don't eat enough meat to make this worth while, and we don't want to eat all the cuts. This is a pet peeve of mine: I really like division of labor and grocery stores and I do not want to store and preserve my own food for the year. I want to buy what I need when I need it. Plus, I would have to purchase and run a large freezer, something I don't currently have.

What other options have people found?

 

Buying in bulk with most things really does not work for me either.  Sometimes I buy a 30 pound box of meat from the store (various cuts of poultry, pork, and beef).  Other than that, nope.  I really don't even have anywhere to put a bunch of extra stuff. 

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This might not work for you - but here is he general gist.

 

Canned ground beef isn't great, it works better for chunks. It's a time saver in recipes too. Unfortunately bulk buying meat does require prep though canning is the least time consuming - several hours to prep and can an entire side of beef is super fast.

 

But in terms of taste it works in any recipe that has beef, chicken, venison, moose, duck, turkey, etc cooked in - you end up with juicy, tender meat in its own gravy. Fish works too, but the bones soften up quite a bit (most sardines are raw packed too :) ).

 

Steaks I'd buy fresh as needed if I wasn't eating meat regularly, and sub in shredded beef for ground in normal recipes since the texture of the former is far superior.

 

Reusing lids and jars is a bonus over freezer bags and vacuum packs, or even butcher paper :)

 

Raw pack is by far the easiest and produces excellent results:

https://www.gopresto.com/recipes/canning/meat.php

 

 

I'm a meatatarian and that sounds yucky to me.  LOL

 

 

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 After each person eats they wash their one dish (because the next time they eat they'll need it). It's helped cut down on running the dishwasher and excess. 

 

I'm not super eco-friendly in everything but these are a couple of the things that we do.

I thought the data was pretty clear that dishwashers were way more efficient, esp with regard to water consumption.

Acc to this you'd have to wash and rinse a dinner plate in a cup of water. 

 

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

Edited by hornblower
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I'm a meatatarian and that sounds yucky to me. LOL

I know! It kind of blows my mind that it's actually tasty and awesome. I wish I'd known about it sooner but it works in everything from salad toppings to enchiladas to soups and casseroles. It's no different than leftover pot roast - just less packaging, freezer burn, and a much longer shelf life. It also lacks the nasty chemical preservatives and salt of canned meats like spam, with a much better texture.

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Yeah, canned meat, other than canned ham and pickle in tiny triangles, doesn't appeal to me.  And I don't think it would be better than frozen either, unless it was frozen meat that had been freezer-burned.

 

I do find bulk meat is worthwhile though, the price and just availability for anything grass-fed/pastured/etc is so much better.  Buying the same things in small cuts has to be done at the market or in small shops and it's just prohibitive.

 

I also find it means I use the cuts that take a little more planning ahead instead of just the easy ones, and that's important to me from a sustainability POV.

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I thought the data was pretty clear that dishwashers were may more efficient, esp with regard to water consumption.

Acc to this you'd have to wash and rinse a dinner plate in a cup of water.

 

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

Most dishwashers use only a few gallons of water, the heat is actually the bigger issue and is dependent mostly on the efficiency of the water heater. I think one can hand wash dishes efficiently but most of us waste a lot more water :o

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Yeah, canned meat, other than canned ham and pickle in tiny triangles, doesn't appeal to me. And I don't think it would be better than frozen either, unless it was frozen meat that had been freezer-burned.

 

I do find bulk meat is worthwhile though, the price and just availability for anything grass-fed/pastured/etc is so much better. Buying the same things in small cuts has to be done at the market or in small shops and it's just prohibitive.

 

I also find it means I use the cuts that take a little more planning ahead instead of just the easy ones, and that's important to me from a sustainability POV.

Some of it is the space and energy of the freezer too. Canned goods take less packaging and energy than frozen.

 

I need to have all of you over, randomly feed you canned and frozen meat dishes, and see if you can tell the difference :rofl:

 

This may be one of those zero waste things that is too hard for most people, but it makes life easier for a lot of us who hunt, especially!

Edited by Arctic Mama
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I thought the data was pretty clear that dishwashers were may more efficient, esp with regard to water consumption.

Acc to this you'd have to wash and rinse a dinner plate in a cup of water. 

 

http://www.treehugger.com/kitchen-design/built-in-dishwashers-vs-hand-washing-which-is-greener.html

 

When I've seen this looked at more closely, it seems like the tests have people wash with a fair bit of water.  So it might depend.

 

I think it's probablya lot less practical for people who use only a small number of dishes.  There might not be enough to fill up the dishwasher before running out.

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I use non-disposable pretty much everything.  Haven't used a disposable diaper since my eldest was a few weeks old.  Don't buy paper towels, paper napkins, or disposable wipes of any type.  Once in a very grand while, I buy paper plates.  I have a stack of paper and styrofoam plates right now because DH is recovering from a serious injury, and my kids have been doing more upkeep of the house while I've been caring for him (at 20+ weeks pregnant).  Disposable plates have helped with the time factor.  But normally, nope, we just don't buy disposable stuff, except for a handful of chux pads for each homebirth.  I use a cup for my period, except postpartum, and maybe this time I'll get around to making some cloth pads.  Mostly I store leftover food in reusable containers as well.

 

Reusable water bottles!  Our Klean Kanteens get used heavily.

 

I do try to use reusable grocery bags too and reuse or recycle the plastic bags we do get.

 

Can I vent about my township and its recycling program?  The township has only contracted for ONE bin per residence.  The recycling company graciously allows me to have TWO bins at no extra cost, but they only pick up recycling every two weeks, and I have a family of almost eight.  We use jugs of water for our coffee maker because I don't want anyone consuming our softened water regularly, and the non-softened tap water that we drink kills our coffee maker no matter what we do to clean it.  So there are 2-3 jugs in the recycling each week, and although we do crush them, they, plus glass jars and other packaging (cardboard from Amazon, paper from kid projects, pasta boxes, meat containers, etc., although not a lot of takeout) really add up.  The bins are not super huge, and definitely are not adequate for our family size.  I have offered to pay more for both pickup and rental of the bins, but the recycling company won't allow it.  However, the same company picks up our trash weekly, and they'll pick up up to five containers of trash.  We never have that much trash unless we've been doing house remodeling.  (I realize that this is a good thing, that we don't have that all much trash because we'd prefer to recycle or compost as much as possible.)  They would rather us put our excess recycling in our trash, to go into the landfills, than allow us to pay for the privilege of recycling more.  I think this is beyond ridiculous.  I'm just not sure what to do about it.  I've called and asked them a couple of times, but no luck.

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I originally had a couple liners that were for lining diaper pails with, such as those sold on-line at Green Mountain Diapers. http://www.greenmountaindiapers.com/blueberry-tall-diaper-pail-liner.html

But my mother loves to sew and give homemade gifts, so I asked her a couple years ago to make liners for my small trash cans. She used a vinyl type material and put a drawstring and toggle on the top of each. So, when emptying those cans, the boys just dump the trash into one larger kitchen trash bag. If they get yucky, I can wash them off, but it isn't often necessary. :)

 

Oh, how funny. Those are exactly what I was picturing, but I forgot that they were diaper pail liners because it's been so long since I owned one! Not that I'm complaining :D What a fantastic idea. When I was searching for a laundry bag for camp this past summer I saw some smaller bags that sound just like you describe. I think I'm going to invest in a few. Thanks!

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I use non-disposable pretty much everything. Haven't used a disposable diaper since my eldest was a few weeks old. Don't buy paper towels, paper napkins, or disposable wipes of any type. Once in a very grand while, I buy paper plates. I have a stack of paper and styrofoam plates right now because DH is recovering from a serious injury, and my kids have been doing more upkeep of the house while I've been caring for him (at 20+ weeks pregnant). Disposable plates have helped with the time factor. But normally, nope, we just don't buy disposable stuff, except for a handful of chux pads for each homebirth. I use a cup for my period, except postpartum, and maybe this time I'll get around to making some cloth pads. Mostly I store leftover food in reusable containers as well.

 

Reusable water bottles! Our Klean Kanteens get used heavily.

 

I do try to use reusable grocery bags too and reuse or recycle the plastic bags we do get.

 

Can I vent about my township and its recycling program? The township has only contracted for ONE bin per residence. The recycling company graciously allows me to have TWO bins at no extra cost, but they only pick up recycling every two weeks, and I have a family of almost eight. We use jugs of water for our coffee maker because I don't want anyone consuming our softened water regularly, and the non-softened tap water that we drink kills our coffee maker no matter what we do to clean it. So there are 2-3 jugs in the recycling each week, and although we do crush them, they, plus glass jars and other packaging (cardboard from Amazon, paper from kid projects, pasta boxes, meat containers, etc., although not a lot of takeout) really add up. The bins are not super huge, and definitely are not adequate for our family size. I have offered to pay more for both pickup and rental of the bins, but the recycling company won't allow it. However, the same company picks up our trash weekly, and they'll pick up up to five containers of trash. We never have that much trash unless we've been doing house remodeling. (I realize that this is a good thing, that we don't have that all much trash because we'd prefer to recycle or compost as much as possible.) They would rather us put our excess recycling in our trash, to go into the landfills, than allow us to pay for the privilege of recycling more. I think this is beyond ridiculous. I'm just not sure what to do about it. I've called and asked them a couple of times, but no luck.

That is a really lousy recycling program. :( I LOVE ours. We get a huge bin on wheels with an attached lid. All recyclables can be comingled and the only things they don't accept are styrafoam and some (7) items. They pick up weekly. The only hassle - and it isn't much of one - is that the truck comes very early and we have a long driveway, so the bin has to go out the night before.

 

We end up with a miniscule amount of actual landfill trash.

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