Sunday, June 17, 2007

Reduce the Trash and Keep the Cash - Update

Well I've been doing more observing the trash than reducing it in the last 2 weeks. I've come to one simple conclusion - we have a LOT of rubbish!!! Okay, I already knew that but it's worse when you're actually paying attention to how fast the bin fills up.

Here's a few of my ideas on ways we can reduce our trash:

1. Buy a cow. Milk cartons appear to be a very large part of our rubbish!!!

2. Get rid of the business - the amount of mail we get is ridiculous. According to our local post office, farmers get more mail than any of the business houses in town.

3. Pull the kids out of school - have you seen the amount of STUFF the kids bring home from school these days????? Aaaarhhhhh!!!!

4. Better yet - sell the kids!!! That would save on huge amounts of trash and cash. LOL.

5. Stop eating - food packaging makes up a HUGE portion of our rubbish. That would yield quite well in terms of saving cash as well. :-)

Okay, I'm not really serious about these ideas (especially the selling the kids one - I do adore my children and would be lost without them). So I guess if I can't solve our rubbish problem in those ways, I'll have to come up with some more realistic plans.

1. Cooking from scratch helps. The cream of mushroom soup I made is saving 10 cans from the rubbish as they've been frozen in reusable containers. 1 tick for me. :-) Making bread at home helps as I can store it in reusable containers and cut back on plastic bread bags. Same with home made baking (although we do use glad wrap to wrap portions for the kids lunch boxes).

2. Keep an eye out for packaging (like cereal boxes) that I can use parts of in my crafting.

3. Grow more in our garden. Babysteps, babysteps but I will get there. I'm also trying to learn how to use more of fruits and vegetables. I've been cutting up celery and broccoli stalks and freezing for when I make soup. Today I've started collecting pumpkin seeds and when I have enough I'll attempt to roast them and retrieve the pepita from the middle (we'll see - that'll be somewhat experimental). I'm really hoping we can grow lots and lots of tomatoes come summer time as tinned tomatoes is another product I seem to go through quite a lot of.

4. Buy a shredder. Shredded paper composts down fairly quickly. I was also reading the other day that you can shred your own quilling paper - another crafty use for our rubbish.

5. Work out ways to cut down on packaging with personal care products. We seem to be fairly well with cleaning products. Using old face washers and hand towels for cleaning cloths and using concentrated products, vinegar and sometimes water. I have been using vinegar for conditioner so that has cut down on some packaging. Recently I bought some nice handmade soaps from and they're replacing my liquid body wash (last longer than a bottle with only a tiny bit of plastic wrapping). At the moment I'm experimenting with washing my hair with them too so we'll see how that goes - would cut down on shampoo packaging.

6. I have discovered (thanks to a hint from forum) a website that sells green tea leaves for about half the price it costs me to buy them made up as teabags from the supermarket. We have very limited range of shops nearby so online sources can be quite handy. I have just bought myself a new box though so it'll take a while before I need more but when I do I'm going to try the straight leaves (using a pot I already have). That'll cut down on quite a bit of packaging there too (and works out about half the cost!). If anyone is interested the website is They do require a $50 minimum order though. If anyone knows of any other online sources for these kinds of things bought in bulk (with less packaging) please let me know.


Anonymous said...

Agree heaps with you about the amount of rubbish! Where does it all come from? Re: tea bags, we always have pot tea for supper but also use tea leaves regularly for breakfast etc and the tea tastes so much better!! If you want certain teas, it would be cheaper for me to buy it locally here (in the big smoke of Adelaide) LOL and post it to you....just a thought!
LS - U know who!

Kin said...

We just got our new compost bin today (yay!) and it says we can compost tea bags - so that's certainly helping :)

We had a family 3 course meal tonight, and I can normally fill a bin with rubbish in cooking a big meal, but it was only half full tonight, so hopefully that means our composting is acutally helping cut our rubbish.

Oh and I love the shredder idea - must work on that too. As a uni student, well. Paper - ugh!

lightening said...

Thanks LS - will let you know. Perhaps I'll talk to you via email about price comparisons. Can't remember off hand what this website was charging, just know it was about half the price of buying bags.

Kin - I'm just lazy with composting the tea bags. Because most of our compostable waste goes to the chooks I get too lazy to go to the compost bin with a banana skin and a tea bag. LOL. Sad I know. I emptied the vacuum cleaner into the compost today though (first time I've done that - just read it as an idea recently) and took the last 2 days tea bags and banana peels with me. Silly thing is the compost is right next to the chooks but DH usually does the chooks and it's too complicated for him to do both. You know what it's like. LOL.