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Reduce with Jen

November 4, 2010

Last month, my friend Jen started a challenge. 


My favorite part about Jen’s year long environmentally friendly challenge, is that she adds a new component each month.  Trying to change 12 things at once can be overwhelming, and gradually making changes through out the year takes a little bit of the pressure off.  It assures that I will be less likely to give up early.  It helps me to run the course. 

This month, Jen asked us to join her in reducing plastic waste. She and her boyfriend, Chris, have pledged to change a handful of ways they use plastic in their lives. (you can see their list, and their reasonings, here).  I’ve made an effort to join them in a few ways, and adding one of my own as well.

1. Jen and Chris keep their reusable bags in the car, so they are never without them at the store.  Because I walk to the market in my neighborhood, I keep my bags near where my shopping list hangs, in effort to not forget them.  I also keep one of the foldable bags in my purse/laptop bag.  Don’t forget that you can use these bags at other retailers besides grocery stores. 

2. Using a reusable coffee/tea mug is another challenge goal.  I put one of my travel mugs in my computer bag and one in my purse so that I can get my to-go coffee without wasting a cup.  It’s important to stay on top of putting the mugs back in their bags once they are washed, so I’m not left without them at the coffee shop one day.  

3. A ban on plastic water bottles is also added to the list.  I keep a water bottle at work, and refill it several times a day rather than buy a bottle from the vending machine.

4. Reuse plastic containers is something I’ve already been doing.  I’m even guilty of taking empty containers from the recycling bin at work (after a good washing, of course!) I refill plastic containers as I would with tupperware or ziplock bags.  Don’t forget to think outside of the kitchen – I’ve been putting yogurt containers to use during my Homemade Christmas preporations – seperating buttons, stickers, and scraps of paper.

5. Jen discussed eliminating plastic waste while eating out, and I realized that I create SO MUCH trash when I eat at work.  I eat breakfast, lunch, and a snack almost everyday at the office, and although I did have one multipurpose bowl and a few mugs in my cabinet for cooking oats, making salads, and drinking coffee and tea, there have been several days where I have thrown away two or three, and even four, paper plates; not to mention plastic forks, knives, and spoons.  This week, I brought a real plate and set of silverware from my apartment to keep at the office and resue every day. 

Would you be willing to join Jen on her challenge? Head to her blog to learn more!

I want to hear from you: What ways do you try to eliminate waste in your life?  Is living green a priority for you?  Do you believe that every little bit helps? What other ways could reduce plastic waste in our day to day living?

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9 Comments leave one →
  1. November 4, 2010 2:06 pm

    this is so awesome… at my old clinic, we’d take turns going on coffee runs for everyone, and some people wouldn’t buy for you if you didn’t have a reusable cup !!

    😀

  2. November 4, 2010 2:14 pm

    My office has real plates and silverware, but they’re usually disgusting (the dishwasher is old and leaves crud on them) so I use paper. But I do keep the same cup throughout the day and bring my food in reusable containers.

  3. Corey - The Runner's Cookie permalink
    November 4, 2010 2:18 pm

    Great tips! I leave a set of metal fork/knife/spoon at work to wash and reuse so I don’t need to remember to pack it. I leave a reusable water bottle on my desk at work to remind me to fill it up everyday and drink water throughout the day.
    When I order food out, I tell them I don’t need the extra wrapping/bags or the plastic silverware that they usually give you when you order.

  4. Liz @ Blog is the New Black permalink
    November 4, 2010 4:51 pm

    I do similar things- I keep real stuff at work for coffee, eating, etc., and I am the QUEEN of tupperware. We also recycle EVERYTHING! 🙂

  5. November 4, 2010 4:57 pm

    We make every effort to buy paper and glass instead of plastic. I make my own laundry detergent and keep it inside an old coffee can so I don’t cart home bottles of laundry detergent. We still have plastic sandwich containers, but as their condition deteriorates (since they’re pretty old) we’ve been recycling them and buying glass pyrex instead. It’s a little heavier but I’ve never broken any of them.

    We have a water filter on our faucet so we never need to buy any bottles.

    We also have so many different sorts of bags for farmers market shopping and regular grocery shopping (when we do that).

    We also have all-cotton mesh bags to hold produce when we go shopping instead of having to use the plastic bags supermarkets freely offer.

    Other tips – use wax paper and aluminum foil to wrap items instead of ziplock bags. There are natural waxed papers that don’t have the synthetic additives like most common ones do.

    Also, refill plastic soap bottles (dishwashing and hand) from bulk to cut down as well.

    And yes, as you can tell, I love this stuff! 🙂

    • November 4, 2010 6:50 pm

      I love how invested you are in this lifestyle! It’s such a part of who you are and I def. have used your blog as resource for making better choices! xo

  6. November 4, 2010 6:36 pm

    Since I saw Jen’s post I have made sure my grocery bags are in the van at all times. Or I only buy stuff I can carry without a bag…even at Target.

    I have several water bottles that I fill throughout the day.

    I bring real silverware when I take food with me.

    I try to use ball canning jars for transporting stuff more and more instead of tupperware.

    I reuse the plastic bags we have in the house for things like bathroom trash and doggie poo instead of just throwing them away.

  7. November 5, 2010 8:32 am

    Hurray!!!! I’m glad you’re on board Heather!

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