wasting less

An Update on Wasting Less During Quarantine

A few months ago I wrote about my wanting to be more environmentally conscious. I’m still spending most of my days at home, but I wanted to give an update on how I’ve been wasting less.

Compost

When I first started composting, I used a simple kitchen bowl. Since it had no lid, I kept it in the fridge to prevent it from smelling and attracting bugs. While it didn’t necessarily smell bad, the mere sight of food rotting was off-putting. Not to mention, I didn’t like how much space it occupied in my fridge. It would either precariously balance on top of other food, or find an awkward place in the back of the fridge.

I wasn’t ready to take the plunge and buy the sub-pod composter I mentioned in my previous post, so I opted for a smaller one from Huckberry.

Here are some things I like about it:

  • It sits on my kitchen counter, so it doesn’t take away any fridge space
  • The bamboo handle makes it easy to transport and cleaner to dump into the green bin
  • The lid has odor-blocking carbon filters so not only can I not smell the food waste, but I don’t see it
  • The price is at $40 – much better on my wallet than the subpod!

Recycling

The biggest change in my recycling has been with my paper towels and dinner napkins. I’ll be honest, the reusable paper towels took some getting used to. I didn’t like them so much, that I questioned the need for paper towels in the kitchen altogether.

Benefits of Reusable Paper Towels:

  • They last days longer than normal paper towels
  • I can dry them out and reuse over the course of a week
  • I’m not using as many sheets of the paper towel, so in turn, I’m wasting less

Drawbacks of Reusable Paper Towels:

  • It’s a little gross to reuse after some instances e.g. cat hairballs
  • Not really great for small or quick cleanups when I only want to use half or even a quarter of the paper towel
  • There is no cute way of letting it hang and dry out for its next use

Are these drawbacks enough for me to not repurchase in the future? In all honesty, I’m still trying to decide that.

I’ve also stopped using paper napkins and use fabric ones instead. I found some cute sets for about $5 from HomeGoods, but PotteryBarn has some great options as well. Besides the new composter, I have found these dinner napkins to be incredibly helpful in wasting less paper. I use the same one all week long, then throw it in the wash at the end of the week.

Other Areas of Reducing Waste

Being an outdoorsy person, my lunches are often packed in plastic bags. I’m sad to say that rarely would I reuse those baggies. Chances are if there’s leftover pb&j smudged all over it, it’s going in the bin.

I bought this pink storage bowl and loved using it. I’ve taken it rock climbing with me, and to dinner for an outdoor movie date.

The part I still need to figure out is a better way of storing it in my climbing bag; at the moment I just stow it in my bag and hope that if I place my bag under a tree my food will stay fresh. This lunchpail is really cute, but I’m not looking to carry another bag with me.

I also have been using Stasher bags to hold all of my snacks and sandwiches. The thicker material of the bag prevents it from being punctured mid-hike, plus they’re easy to clean – just throw in the dishwasher and walk away!

Using beeswax to wrap food items has been another great way of wasting less saran wrap. At first, I was skeptical about how effective it actually was, but I’ve been using it to wrap my cheeses and it seems to be working just fine. Plus, it’s such a cute wrapper, I find myself smiling a little every time I open my fridge. If you’re crafty and looking to find a new hobby while the pandemic is still in effect, looks like you can make your own beeswax wrap.

I’ve requested all of my bills to be paperless, and am slowly unsubscribing myself from junk mail lists. Some ways of reducing less and making environmentally conscious decisions are quick to implement, others I’m figuring out as I go along.

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