Reducing Our Impact

I don’t usually make resolutions for the new year. More often than not, positive change happens on its own, with a nudge or two on my behalf (but not for the sake of a “fresh” start).

Years ago, Tim and I started using canvas bags for groceries, library books, special projects, and picnic goodies. From there, we stopped buying paper towels, napkins, and kleenex, opting for cloth napkins and umm… hankies (hankies might sound icky, but they aren’t so bad, I promise!). We bought recycled garbage bags because we had no way to compost in our small apartment (and no yard to make a compost heap). We even tried using the biodegradable garbage bags, but by the time the bag was full, it had already started breaking apart (suggestions?). We stopped buying plastic wrap and ziplock-type baggies, opting to rinse and reuse any packaging our food came in (cereal box inserts, zipper-top sugar pouches, bread bags, and produce bags). See? Happy changes for us and the Earth (smooch, smooch!)!

Our greatest dilemma was the plastic produce bags at grocery stores. We would bring bags from home that we had saved and use them time and time again. It eventually got to the point where we didn’t have any more, and using new ones made us feel guilty. I was browsing Etsy awhile back and came across a woman who makes her own bulk food/produce bags out of ripstop nylon. So, the sewing machine came out of our closet and Tim set to work creating a few bags similar to the ones I had seen. And you know what?! They are totally awesome! We used them for the first time today. They weigh the same as a plastic bag, and they can be reused again and again and again (rinsed out and easily dried too!). We only have three right now, but a bike ride up to the fabric store this weekend will result in many more. The best part is that we can make all sorts of sizes and colors! This is a huge step forward in reducing our impact, and also in silently showing others by example. I am hoping to sew up a few too; my hands are less steady, but it all works out in the end!

bags-and-beans1

See how cute those beans look nestled in their homemade bulk bag?

Along with switching to reusable nylon produce bags, we are focused on phasing out plastics as much as possible. My pantry (I mean cupboards) is full of plastic tupperware holding bulk beans, grains, sugars, and legumes. It would be great to replace them all with glass jars that line up neatly in rows with pretty labels and such. It’s my goal to start/finish this project in the next few months.

Maybe hidden in all these jumbled words, our resolution is to waste less? I’m not sure, but I know that we can all do our part to reduce our impact on the Earth.

I heard that pudding helps reduce our impact:

chocolate-peppermint-pudding

Chocolate Peppermint Pudding - a test recipe (and a tasty one at that)