That’s one small step for man…

…but, perhaps, one giant leap for the environment?

Over the past few months, I have become more and more interested in being more self-sufficient and environmentally-friendly.  I’m not talking about going completely off the grid or anything (although that would actually be pretty cool).  I just mean doing small things in my every day life to use fewer things and generate less waste.  The things I have been doing so far are very minor and may not have a huge impact, but I think that every little thing we do adds up to both help the environment and save money.  Here are a few of the little things I have been doing and I am hoping that, over time, this list will continue to grow.

1.  Reuse food containers.  I have been saving peanut butter jars, pasta sauce jars, and yogurt containers.  The jars make great storage containers for nuts and beans and the yogurt containers work great for planting herbs.

Hipster food storage!

2.  Save coffee grounds.  I have been using coffee grounds on my plants as a nitrogen source.  Also, you can use coffee grounds and scraps of food for composting.

3.  Carry only re-useable water bottles and food containers.  Less expensive and less waste.

About 5% of our reusable Ziploc containers.

4.  Waste less food.  I have gotten a lot better about finding uses for small amounts of food that I formerly would have thrown out.  I eat leftovers whether I want to or not.  I choose meals that are based on what food items are starting to get old.  I add remaining tidbits of vegetables to sauces and soups.

5.  I use less shampoo and other toiletries/cosmetics.  Less products means less packaging over time and, therefore, less trash.  You would also be surprised at how much money you can save over time.

6.  I started using reusable sponges instead of Lysol wipes.  The Lysol wipes are incredibly convenient but sponges can be washed and reused for months.

7.  Reuse grocery bags.  We use these as trash can liners in the bathroom and to carry our lunch to work.  Eventually I would like to have all reusable grocery bags to take with me when I go shopping, but I only have 3 or 4 now and I seem to forget to take them with me every time I go to the grocery store.  Some stores will give you a few cents off of your purchase price per bag that you bring yourself.  Also, many places will accept plastic bag donations (animal shelters, libraries, etc.).

8.  I try to only run the dishwasher or washing machine when there is a full load.  Saves on soap and water.

I hope to continue becoming more environmentally-friendly and self-sufficient.  One day I hope to have a huge garden but, for now, I just have my small container garden (some in yogurt containers!).

What steps do you take to be more environmentally-friendly?

Happy eating!

-c

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