We Have Reached the Half Way Mark!

Day 183 – Half the year is over and my family has made a lot of changes for the better. However, we still have another half to go, to learn and share ways to help protect our planet. Some changes have stuck, while others didn’t make the cut. I thought I would share what is working and what has not.

Our Top Ten Most Loved Changes

  1. Composting – On Day 2, Day 118 and Day 149, I have written about how awesome composting is and how using Waste Not Compost has changed our lives. For anyone wanting to make a difference, this is my #1 suggestion. Since, starting back in December 2020, my family of six has diverted 258 pounds of food waste from the landfill. Instead that food has created nutrient rich soil. Anyone that can add $10 to their weekly budget, should be composting!
  2. Recycling through the North Park Recycling Center – On Day 4, I wrote about how my family stopped putting our recyclables in the blue bin. After finding out how dismal our recycling percentage is in the city, I decided to send our recyclables to the North Park Village Recycling Center. We go once a month and sometimes I can stretch it out to two months. If you can avoid putting your recyclables in the blue bin and can find a reliable recycler, I encourage you to go that route.
  3. Using a Zero Waste Box – On Day 77, I wrote about how we invested in a TerraCycle Zero Waste Box. It has actually been three boxes. I first purchased a candy wrapper and snack bag box, thinking that would cover a lot of non-recyclable waste we were producing. I then moved into the kitchen box, which accepted many other things, like plastic packaging, paper Packaging, cleaning accessories, coffee and tea accessories, party supplies and dining disposables, interior home furnishings, prescription drug packaging, fabrics and clothing. I have finally came to the realization that the All-in-one box is the way to go. Just a few of the items accepted in the All-in-one box: art supplies, books & magazines, E-waste, eye wear, home cleaning accessories, fabrics, and clothing, office supplies, pet products (non-food), plastic cards, shipping materials, storage media, plastic and paper packaging, kitchen gear, filters (air/water), coffee capsules and coffee bags, party supplies and dining disposables. With the help of zero waste boxes, we have gone from two bags of garbage a week to one bag of garbage every three weeks.
  4. Reusable produce bags and storage bags – On Day 13 and Day 34, I wrote about how we switched to reusable produce bags and storage bags. This has been a game changer. The amount of plastic produce bags and Ziploc Storage bags (of all sizes) that we have avoided is substantial. This change is a no brainer and very easy to do!
  5. Blueland Products – On Day 21, I wrote about switching our cleaning products to Blueland and their line of plastic free products. We have know had a chance to use every product, but the glass cleaner and dish soap (still working on our original supply). We love every product, especially the foaming hand soap and dishwasher tablets. It feels so good to avoid purchasing all those cleaning products in plastic bottles. It’s also awesome that all the Blueland tablets arrive in compostable packaging.
  6. Who Gives a Crap – On Day 26, I wrote about switching to Who Gives a Crap toilet paper. This has been a real feel good purchase. Not only are we saving trees by using toilet paper made from recycled paper, but the company donates funds to build toilets in countries without such facilities. Love this company!
  7. Cloth Napkins – On Day 38, I wrote about how we have cut back on our paper towel use. A big thanks goes to my sister-in-law for making us cloth napkins that we use everyday, for every meal. Because of these pretty pieces of cloth, we have drastically cut back on our paper towel use.
  8. Plastic free laundry detergent – On Day 51, I wrote about ditching the liquid laundry detergent in the plastic bottle and going with Meliora’s powered detergent in a reusable canister. I have been using the detergent for months and have been very happy with it. I love that cleaning my laundry has become plastic free.
  9. Reducing the purchase of food in plastic containers – This one hasn’t been easy, but by cutting some products out of our lives and switching to glass or aluminum packaging, we have reduced our plastic waste. We no longer purchase spreadable butter and have avoided purchasing fruit in plastic packaging (strawberries and blueberries), just to name a few changes we have made. We will continue to work on this one.
  10. The switch to plastic free toiletries – We have made the switch to bar soap in plastic free packaging, bamboo toothbrushes and plastic free deodorant. We recycle our toothpaste tubes and shampoo bottles though TerraCycle.

What didn’t work out

  1. Reusable shaver – On Day 71, I wrote about how I switched to a reusable shaver. Unfortunately, I have found that I am not a very skilled shaver. I had numerous cuts, but the last one was a doozy. I decided that for now, I needed to go back to a safer option. I am using a Gillette razor with replaceable blades and recycling those blades through TerraCycle.
  2. Misfits Market – On Day 36, I wrote about how we started a biweekly (every two weeks) subscription to Misfits Markets. We received shipments for numerous months. A couple weeks ago we decided to suspend our prescription. We had three orders with items missing and replaced with products we did not want. I was also not a fan of the packaging. Even though it was all recyclable, there was a lot. We are making a point to visit farms markets this summer to enjoy locally grown produce.

As you can see, almost all the changes we have made are working and we don’t mind doing them. They are all easy and not too difficult to implement. What changes are you ready to make?

Tomorrow, celebrating International Plastic Bag Free Day.

Paper Towels: Lessening the need

Day 38 – The first step in minimizing our need for paper towels was to purchase some microfiber cleaning cloths. I liked the idea that they were effective when dealing with dusty surfaces. We have been using them for over six months and have been happy with there versatility in cleaning countless dirty situations. Now, the downside. I have learned that the microfiber cloth (and synthetic material in general) releases microplastics into the water. There are numerous ways to clean these cloths without releasing microplastics. I discussed numerous option in my post on microplastics (Day 33). If I had to do it all over again, I would stick to 100% cotton cloths (that you could make yourself from 100% cotton t-shirts). Not only will they not release harmful microplastics in the water, but they can be composted once they have worn out.

The second thing we started to do was use the awesome cloth napkins my sister-in-law made for a Christmas gift. We love using them and there is a nice supply. So I’m not constantly washing them. It has made dinnertime feel a little extra fancy.

Thankfully, any paper towels we do use are put into the compost bin. So, not one towel is placed into the garbage. However, there was one more change I wanted to make.

The Costco Kirkland paper towel was the towel of choice. However, after learning how their toilet paper was produced, I can only imagine that there paper towels are produced in the same manner. So, I was on the hunt for a more friendly brand.

There are numerous brands out there, but here are a few:

Who Gives a Crap – Each absorbent roll is made using a blend of bamboo and sugarcane. Our 2 ply sheets can handle spills and messes from countertops to cubicles to wiping that dusty corner of that room you never go in.

Green Forest – Green Forest paper towels are strong and absorbent for your clean-up needs. Like all of there products, they are made from 100% recycled paper, and a minimum of 90% of that is┬ápost-consumer recycled content.

Seventh Generation – Seventh generation white paper towels are made of 100 percent recycled paper (minimum 50 percent post-consumer recycled content). Paper towels are strong and absorbent featuring right size half sheets, customizable for little or big messes. No added chlorine, dyes, inks or fragrances.

We still have quite a few rolls of our Kirkland paper towels to get through (not using them as fast). However, once we finish, I will most likely start using the Seventh Generation towels. They are the least expensive per sheet and another one of those companies doing good in the world.

  1. They are a B-Corporation.
  2. Their products are biobased – derived from plants and other renewable agricultural, marine, and forestry materials.
  3. Many of their packaging is made from 100% PCR (post consumer recycled) material. For those that are not, they are working toward 100%.
  4. They are also taking action on many topics relating to climate change and renewable energy, just to name a few.

So, when it comes to paper towels, we are reducing, using recycled and composting.

Tomorrow, an update on those holiday lights I collected.