Recycle, Reuse, and Refuse Update

My recycle, reuse, and refuse adventures have been a learning experience. Here are a few pros and cons I’ve experienced so far.

Pros

1. Less at curbside! My family is down to only two 13 gallon bags of trash a week to set out at the curb for garbage pick up. This is a great improvement, since we used to average one 13 gallon bag a day. I’ve even stopped buying trash bags for a few weeks and only used plastic grocery sacks I had around the house. Though it seems frugal, I find it to be a better investment to buy an inexpensive trash liner at 7 cents a 13 gal bag and get a 3 cent credit at the store for bringing my own grocery totes.

2. Saving money! When I choose to purchase a reusable item, the next time I need it I don’t have to spend money to replace a disposable one. For example, I’m using washable muslin filters instead of paper coffee filters, old t-shirts scraps instead of paper towel, and washable to-go-containers for lunches instead of zipper plastic bags.

3. Free storage containers! Once the glass, plastic or cardboard box is empty, I clean them and use them to store craft supplies, office organizing, and freezer or pantry food storage. I’m choosing to purchase items in packaging that can be reused at least once. For example, all you need are a pair of scissors, an ice pic, and clean empty milk jugs. These can be transformed into a funnel, a package closer, an arts and crafts bin, and a planter. I’m sure much more could be added to this list.

Cons

1. Inconvenient. I have to drive my recycling to a drop off center about 5 miles away from my home. And only a few things are accepted at this site. If I want to recycle glass, electronics, other plastics, steel, batteries, light bulbs, etc. I have to travel 20 or more miles to a part of town that is usually on the wrong side of the tracks. No one would dare head there after dark; therefore, this makes recycling even more intimidating.

2. Time consuming. There are extra steps when cleaning, cooking or serving with reusable items. Yep, a disposable single serving item saves time when you are in a hurry, open, consume, and toss. But those things we toss away will end up somewhere.

3. Initially more expensive! It usually costs more to buy biodegradable alternatives compared to the plastic versions. For example, biodegradable garbage liners cost 4 times more than a plastic store brand version. Recycled paper products also cost more. I’m sure I can find deals online, but the green products in my local area are expensive.

I’m still tweaking my green lifestyle daily and I’ve got one last update to share. I’ve been line drying my clothes for the past month and my electric bill has lowered by 20%. It’s great to save money but it has added more work to my day. I routinely go outside around dusk to bring in the clothes and to my delight I’ve witnessed many amazing sunsets and moon risings.

My temporarily green journey is heightening my awareness of nature and organic processes that have previously gone unnoticed.

Thanks for following me along in this journey!

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