First, a recap of our One Small Change for January: "For the month of January (and hopefully beyond) I will not purchase coffee in disposable cups."
I am pleased to report that I did not purchase coffee in disposable cups for the entire month of January and have shifted my thinking about this wasteful practice so much that I think it's going to stick. Mind you, I have bought coffee, but always in a travel mug. If the mug wasn't with me when I was going by a coffeeshop with an urge for a mocha, I didn't get the mocha. If I had any inkling that that urge may hit later in the day when getting ready to go out in the morning, I brought my mug with me. It was that simple. And it is that simple!
January One Small Change: Score!
Now on to February's One Small Change. January's ban on paper coffee cups really got me thinking about what we casually throw out and call "garbage" every day. I envisioned this post to be a complete analysis of our daily/weekly/monthly garbage with an outline for finding new ways to scale back on the trash. But, this is called "One SMALL Change" so I'm going to start smaller instead.
For the month of February (and hopefully beyond), my family has agreed to cool it on the disposable luxuries that we so casually toss daily in our society. This includes, but is not limited to, paper napkins, plastic utensils, take-out containers, stir-sticks, straws and of course, paper coffee cups.
Need a drink at that cute little cafe that offers ice cold water from their chilled dispenser next to a stack of plastic cups?
Ask for a glass or bring your water bottle.
Always grabbing extra napkins because the kids are so messy?
Bring along cloth napkins, rags, or extra cloth diapers for wiping and clean-up. (We're already carrying a diaper backpack around everywhere we go, so what's an extra cloth or two shoved in?)
Eating on the run a lot but tired of plastic utensils?
Be sure to have your new To-go Ware RePEaT Utensil Set tucked in your bag or purse too!
Seriously folks, this seems like a no-brainer to me and it may be just because we're always carrying around that diaper backpack, so it's not a big deal to toss something as lightweight as this utensil set inside (or clip to the back, since it comes with a cool cararbiner). But honestly, isn't everyone always carrying a bag or something these days? As Hip Mountain Mama says, "Most people have their reusable travel mugs and shopping bags, so adding a set of bamboo travel utensils is the next step in your toolkit for life on the go."
I just ordered a pack of 5 sets of these utensil kits, but only need 4 for my family. Therefore, a giveaway is attached to this month's One Small Change and the winner will receive one To-go Ware RePEaT Utensil set! Just leave a comment on this post with your one small change that you are making to reduce your carbon footprint (or link back to your blog). The winner (selected randomly from the entries) will be announced on ♥Valentine's Day♥, so spread the word about this sweetheart of a contest.
This month's One Small Change is still making me examine everything we buy to find ways to weed out the unnecessary waste wherever possible. We're already using the smallest size garbage bin that our city offers (22 gallons/40lbs vs. 94 gallons/200 lbs), so that puts a limit on us right there. I read once that the Amish have one small bag of garbage each month. Not sure if I'm remembering that right. But whatever the specifics, I'm sure it's a small fraction of our waste, even though we use cloth diapers instead of disposables, handknit washrags instead of disposable sponges, haven't bought plastic food storage bags since last spring when we discovered snackTAXIS, and have used the same toothbrushes for almost 10 years (don't worry, we just exchange the heads!). I'd love to get our total waste down even further.
And of course, before I throw anything away, I spend a little too much time wondering if it can be recycled, reused or composted first. (Too bad our compost bin out back is frozen shut now.) I was thrilled today to discover that a glass salsa jar that was headed for the recycling bin turned out to be a Mason jar that fits canning lids so I can save it for the next canning season. Green Mountain Gringo salsa for the win!
What's your One Small Change for this month? Don't forget to comment and enter the contest!