Saturday, May 29, 2010

Recycling and the Victory Garden

We want to do our part. As Americans in a recession, as a family watching our health, and as human beings trying to take care of our planet. So we've taken some steps. Not HUGE steps, but lots and lots of little ones.

You may think it takes a huge step to make a difference, you may think that making a change for your family's health and the Earth's well-being would be an inconvenience at best. But I'm here to tell you that you can make a difference, no matter how small your living space and how limited your funds. Because we've done just that. Here's a list of small changes we've made as a family to improve not only our own health, but the health of our planet.

  • Reduce. Pay attention to the products you're buying. Do you really need a multipack of individually packaged applesauce, or could you buy a large jar and portion it out at home into reusable containers? Also, can the package be recycled? I've stopped buying juice boxes in favor of Kool-Aid Cool Bursts because the juice boxes contain both plastics and cardboard that can't be separated and are impossible to recycle.

  • Reuse. Thrift stores aren't just about low prices. If more people purchased second-hand items, there would be less STUFF churning out of factories every day, using up resources and polluting our planet. One person's trash is another person's treasure...ever heard that saying? I pretty much live by it. :)

  • Buy only cleaning products that are phosphate FREE. You'd be surprised at how many aren't. Take the time to look.

  • Plant a garden. You don't need much space, and you'll have your own organic produce! Right outside your back door! The internet is also a plethora of information on organic gardening and container gardens for apartment-dwellers.

  • Our garden before planting was just a trashy weed-filled section in our back yard.

    After a few hours' work, we have 6 Roma tomatoes, 6 green peppers and 3 green beans. I also plan to have a container garden of peas in the next week or two.

  • Keep your small appliances unplugged and lights off when not in use. I'll bet your mom and dad told you this when you were growing up, and you know why? Because it saves energy! Not watching the TV? Turn it off. Not currently charging your cell phone? Unplug your charger. Easy peasy.

  • Use canvas bags every time you shop. I keep several of these in my van at all times. I use them at the thrift store, at the grocery, at Target, at yard sales. Everywhere, no matter how small the purchase. Or I don't use a bag at all.

  • Pick at least one day of the week to have a meatless dinner. This is not only cost effective, but helps limit the fats and nasty animal byproducts in your diet. Choose to make pasta and a salad, or a bean and vegetable soup. Lots of great vegetarian recipes can be found online!

  • Recycle everything. We're a 6-person family living in a 3-bedroom apartment. If we can find the time and space to recycle, then you can too! I use canvas shopping bags to "sort" my recycling. Cardboard goes in one. Paper, newspapers and magazines in another. Glass, plastic and tin cans in a third. When one is full, I take it out and put it in the back of my van. At the end of the week, when I go out to get groceries, I stop at the recycling bins across from the store and drop everything off.

  • So there you have it. Just a few small ways we're trying to make a difference. In what ways does your family make a difference? What changes do you plan to make in the future?


    Dolores said...

    I agree, we are also 6 living in a 3 bedroom apt. and everyone here knows they better recycle cause if not Elisa Reminds us.

    rachel whetzel said...

    :) I love that you posted a picture of your garden!! I have been imagining it looking just about like that!! :)

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