Amy and Adam in Dallas, Oregon decided to go completely waste-free for a year. This summer they began a pledge to produce zero garbage for a year as an example of how small changes in our behavior can create large scale change if many of us act. They estimate they’ll keep one and a half tons out of the landfill this year. Multiply that by whole communities and the numbers add up quickly.
Here are a few of the things they’re doing to eliminate their garbage:
- Avoid non-recyclable items
- Recycle everything possible
- Reusable bags for shopping
- Start compost bin in backyard
- Use only recyclable batteries
- Grow their own produce
- Make items such as bread, cheese, butter, granola and soap
- Shop locally at the butcher, dairy and direct from farmers
- Donate reusable items to thrift stores
A few things are trickier to recycle such as medical waste, cat litter and toothpaste tubes which they address. Originally spotted the couple’s story on TerraPass.com and you can check out Amy and Adam’s blog Green Garbage Project and watch their progress. They also have a valuable Tips and Tricks section.
Recycling is good, but getting a bit of cash makes it even better. From the usual cans and bottles to computers, cell phones and printer cartridges there’s money lying around your house for items you’re not using.
Here’s a list of items you can turn in for cash along with places to recycle your electronic gadgets from EcoSalon.com.
Re-purposing items can create something special while saving both money and space in the landfill. Suitcases become end tables, light fixtures out of canisters – let your imagination run wild with your drill and hot glue gun.
This piece on the Simply Stated blog has a few photos to start you thinking about new uses for old items in a fabulous way. Link
How often do you need a tile cutter, a ladder or hedge clippers? If your answer is ‘not very often’ then you could use a tool lending library, and so could a lot of your neighbors.
This is a community project that the Phinney Neighborhood Association in North Seattle has operated for years. Low cost rentals for tools by the week ($10/wk. for a tile cutter) means I don’t have to buy one (and store it and maintain it) and the money stays in the neighborhood rather than in the pocket of a big box store.
I think every neighborhood needs a tool lending library. I’m filing this under community projects.
I’ll just put it right out there – I don’t cook very often. Once in a while the mood moves me, but usually not so much. The slow cooker I got at a neighborhood yard sale is my new best friend. Soup, stew stroganoff, chili, BBQ and even bread can be cooked in a slow cooker. It’s like magic!
Almost every thrift store has slow cookers regularly, but even buying new they’re a great deal. You can load them up with ingredients in the morning, turn it on, and by dinner time you’ve got a great home-cooked meal saving both money and time.
SlowandSimple.com is one of many sites that have hundreds of slow cooker recipes. Yum! Link
Housing is almost everyone’s biggest monthly expense. What if you could eliminate that? Erin Burt has an article on Kiplinger.com that outlines five ways to live without rent, from house-sitting to being a roomate that barters chores for rent. You may find a way to save a big chunk of change on your monthly expenses – and you could even end up living in a much nicer place than you could regularly afford. What’s not to like about that kind of upgrade?
The article has a resource list and suggestions for finding that perfect gig. Link