Saturday, September 01, 2007

REDUCE, REUSE, RECYCLE

I started recycling about two and a half years ago. At the time, we were filling up about two hurby curbys a week in trash...just with the three of us! That seems like a lot of trash for one little family. Then, I started recycling. I began with magazines, glass, metal, and plastics. That reduced our trash by 1/2, to one hurby curby a week. Better. In the last few months, I began recycling other paper (junk mail, used copy paper, etc.) and cardboard, as well as other plastics that I was previously throwing away. I have had several discussions with the man that runs our closest recycling center and he has given me a few lessons in what the numbers on the bottoms of the plastics mean, what can and can't be recycled, etc. which as been very helpful.

Then, as you know, I began composting. And bringing my own bags to the grocery store. I have been taking it slow, adding in a new element at a time, so I don't burn out. It took a while for me to get over my fear of what people would think of me bringing my own bags to the store. So, it has been somewhat slow going for me, but over the last 2 1/2 years since I began recycling, I have seen a reduction in our family's trash outgo by 75%, even though our family size has almost doubled. We are now a family of five (three children four and under with two in diapers) and usually fill up one hurby curby about every two weeks.

I am now considering switching from disposable diapers and wipes to cloth. I have read various arguments about this...that it isn't really more environmentally friendly to use cloth because of having to wash and dry them and the amount of energy that takes. But I wonder, if I am air drying them on a clothesline, how it could be worse than using disposables? We go through a ton of diapers. Honestly, I am a little grossed out by cloth diapers. And it is a pretty big investment in the beginning, which I am not willing to make unless I am really dedicated to the cause. So I am going to start slow, like I have with the other aspects of reducing our family's waste. I am going to make my own flannel wipes and spray and try using those for a while and see how I like it, how easy it is to get them clean, etc.
I raided my mom's flannel pile and found all kinds of cute flannels in different colors and patterns. Having happy wipes will make it easier. Won't a little stack of pink, blue, yellow, floral, stripes, etc. wipes look sweet on my bathroom counter, with a spray bottle of lavendar and olive oil baby spray next to it? Hopefully the astethetic quality, as well as further reducing our trash, will be the impetutus I need to continue. I will let you know how it works out!

3 comments:

  1. We can recycle glass at those recycling centers? I am so lazy - I recycled everything when we lived very close to the drop off - I guess we live close to one now I am just never driving towards it.

    With the diaper thing you are getting much braver than I have ever considered being. I would only attempt cloth diapers if I could use a service to clean them...of course, then you would have to figure in the exhaust from the truck and who knows what they use to clean them so it's probably not a benefit then. I remember my mom cleaning cloth training pants and that has been enough for me, all those years ago, to never want to venture there.

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  2. You are a brave, brave woman. I'm curious to hear the tales that will come from this experience!! GOOD LUCK!!

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  3. christy hulsey12:02 PM

    I am SO proud of you. You are every woman that I want to be!

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