Now I will be the first to say, I'm no tree-hugging, global warming, save the planet activist. BUT, I do agree wholeheartedly with good stewardship and recycling and re-purposing.
I think I have mentioned before that we have been really trying to reduce our waste that goes out to the curb on trash day. We don't always do great, but I feel that every bit helps. So I am going to share some practical ways that we mommies can re-use stuff.
Now of course the easiest way to reduce waste is to recycle. But, if you live in Jacksonville you know that we have a very limited amount of stuff we can recycle. If you are not aware of what can and cannot be recycled in your city, find out. Just because you put it in the bin, doesn't mean it will be recycled. Only things that they state can be recycled will be recycled. Make sure you double check.
REUSE, REUSE, REUSE! We use things everyday that add to the trash count. For example, we can't recycle all the yogurt cups and various containers that our foods come in. So I clean them and use them for all kinds of things.
Food prep containers
Herb pots - I mod podge them with some fabric so they are pretty :)
Donate to the children's department of your public library (if they do crafts, our's has a bin just for such donations)
Donate to your community art center
My personal favorite is using them when I buy large containers of applesauce or yogurt. For some reason the kids don't like it if it's not in a "cup". I trick them by just putting it in one of my handy applesauce or yogurt containers...hehe.
We cannot recycle thin paperboard like cereal boxes. BOO! These add TONS of bulk to your trash.
Now fortunately we can recycle our detergent bottles. BUT before you toss them in your blue bin, clean your bathtub! There is always a bit of detergent left in the bottom so I run the tub and get all of the detergent out by running the water in it. Let it sit in the tub for a bit. It's a nice way to use fewer chemicals when cleaning the tub. I give it a good scrub (which is super easy after the soak) and let the water out. Don't fill it up to the top, just to the lovely "ring" (if you have one...)
So just to be annoying...we can't recycle the CAPS! Toss them in the tub for the kids to play with....
We have a garden, which is SUPER GREEN and a great way to get fresh, organic produce. You can even make a container garden if you live in an apartment. We don't use any chemicals for anything and this is sooo fun to do with your kids. Lenny loves to water the garden....
If you garden, you should really compost as well. There is so much food waste we throw out that could be put to good use in our gardens or even just in the backyard if you don't have a garden. Your flowers and bushes will love it! There are TONS of articles on the web about composting at home, just Google it!
Something else I have been trying to work on is cleaning green. Companies like Seventh Generation have made it quite affordable to clean safely for the environment and your kids. They have GREAT coupons and Publix and Winn Dixie have some really good sales too. I have a huge stash of rags and dish towels so I don't have to buy sponges and paper towels (I'm too cheap for those new eco sponges that are made of bottle caps but those are awesome). Buy a wet mop with reuseable pads and one that you can make your own solution for. I have this one.
The best part is that all of these things set a great example for your children on how to use products responsibly and be a good steward of the things the Lord has given us. I love new ideas, so make sure to post them!