It all started with refillable water bottles. Several years ago, the kids and I made a commitment to try to reduce our waste. We started with refillable water bottles. One summer, I bought each a really fun, colorful container and we got into the habit of filling them up before we left the house. By the end of the summer, this virtually eliminated our purchase and use of plastic water bottles. It’s such a habit now, that many times I don’t even have to remind them to get one ready before we head out for the day. Even my husband, who really enjoyed the convenience of grabbing a bottle from the fridge, has started to fill and go.
Our commitment extended to all of the regular friendly environment changes. We started using CFL bulbs, recycling more, bringing our reuseable bags to the store and more.
Last year, it was time to tackle plastic baggies. We seemed to be going through a ton of them and the biggest culprit was school lunches. So, we made a commitment to reduce and maybe even eliminate using them.
First, I made sure each kiddo had a set of reusable containers that could fit in their lunch box (with a strict lecture about bringing them home at the end of the day). Then, we put some guidelines in place. They had to “declare their lunchbox” or deliver it to the kitchen counter after school, so things could be washed in time for school the next day. Failure to declare meant that they had to each school lunch the next day…yuck! Finally, diligence, we had to stick to it, even when things got tricky, if we were in a rush or feeling lazy, we would find a way to not use baggies.
After about the first week, we started to develop the habit of declaring lunch boxes, washing and reusing the containers, and not using baggies. Every so often there was a small challenge, fitting one more small item, the right container didn’t get washed, etc. But, we worked through all of them. We even went “old-school”, wrapping a cookie in wax paper, just to make sure it fit.
The result is that I can’t remember the last time I bought plastic baggies. It’s also severely reduced our plastic bag use in other ares. If we are bringing snacks to the pool or ballpark it goes into a reusable container. If I’m marinating something for dinner, it goes into a reusable container. If I’m freezing a big batch of spaghetti sauce, it goes into a reusable container. It’s made me really think about whether or not I need to use a baggie or if there is something else that will do the job.
Little changes can make big differences. Make the change, see the difference, then move on to the next one. Now that we have lunches figured out, no tradesies, no bagsies, it’s time for us to find another opportunity to change for the better.
Enjoy the journey, Suzanne.
(This blog was originally posted on lotushouseofyoga.wordpress.com.)