Thursday, December 8, 2011

What do you waste?

I am trying to be more mindful of waste in our house.  We switched over from paper towels to reusable cloth years ago (although my cloths are starting to wear out).  I try and unplug things (like the cell phone charger) when not in use, and the computer goes into sleep mode at night.

I turn off lights in rooms that are not in use (although this is still a struggle with the rest of the family).  Leftovers get eaten.  If I make a large amount of something (like a whole turkey), the extra gets frozen.

But I know we can do better.  Here are a few things that I have noticed lately:

1)  Coffee.  We tend to spill out at least a large cup worth on a daily basis.  G-man has a travel cup that he fills before work, and I walk around (and usually lose!) with my coffee in the morning before work (my travel mug broke).  But that last cup just never gets used.  So I have started making LESS coffee in the morning.  Over the course of a month, it would come out to 30 cups, or I am guessing about 4 days worth of coffee.  Over the year, that would be 48 days of coffee!!  That is almost 7 weeks worth of coffee!!

2)  Shampoo.  Have you ever really read the bottle?  Usually it tells you to wash and repeat.  Most of us don't.  We don't.  But I am also guessing we use at least twice the recommended amount.  I have been conscience of how much shampoo I use (no more than a quarter size squirt) and guess hair is still clean!!  I am curious to see how long the bottle will last.

3)  Water.  I have talked about Sassy's love of the long shower.  But I am also trying to be aware of how hard I am running the water when I do dishes (no dishwasher).  If I had a double sink, I would fill one side with soapy water, and the other with rinse water.  But since I don't have that, I need to rinse with running water.  It doesn't need to go full force.  I am trying to cut that useage back.

Those are just a few things.  How about you?  What are you wasteful with?


  1. I used to be extremely wasteful, but not so much anymore. We used to have a roommate who would take 3 to 4 hour long showers though (everyday) and this of course is extremely wasteful.

  2. I was surprised at how much healthier my hair was when I cut back on shampoo. Shampoo is really designed for washing your scalp, and despite the companies' claims it's pretty harsh on your hair. If you use only enough to get your scalp clean and only wash the length of your hair every week or more (I probably only wash the length of mine a couple times a month), you can save a lot of shampoo and improve your hair.

    We're really bad about wasting food. My fiance doesn't like to eat the same thing two days in a row, and after something's been in the fridge more than a day he gets nervous about eating it at all so leftovers are pretty much all on me. It's something I'm trying to get better about, though.

  3. I am notorious for making a cup of tea and then leaving it sitting somewhere til it is cold. I waste teabags a lot!! I also waste a bit of hydro by leaving my electric candles lit in my windows. The amount of hydro used would be miniscule so I don't really worry about the waste. The bulbs are only 3 watts for crying out loud.

    I often will wash a load of laundry and forget about it. That wastes water washing them again. Other than that though, I am pretty darn frugal :)

  4. I agree with Penny, I've been wanting to limit my shampoo usage, because I hear all the time that it's better for you to limit yourself. However, since I shampoo so much, my hair gets greasy super fast, so now it's just a cyclical effect.

  5. We really cannot waste food with chickens around as they will eat anything. But I can and do waste money by not planning ahead and then running to the grocery store on a whim. Of course the last few weeks I am lucky to get to a store at all.

  6. Produce seems to be one thing that gets wasted a bit too much. Tomatoes and strawberries, I can only buy in bulk at reasonable prices, and they take me too long to use up, so a few usually go bad before I get to them. As far as shampoo goes, I do have to wash my hair 2-3 times per wash (once every week). Only once was never an option. But I do dilute the shampoo once it gets 1/3 down with a bit of water to make it last. Same thing with soap!

  7. Right now we it seems like we are wasting tons of printer paper and ink. My kids print a paper and then catch a mistake and reprint. I also printed coupons this week that I didnt mean to and those ink cartridges are damn expensive!

  8. There are always ways to improve, slack, then improve again. It is very difficult to maintain a schedule of no waste. I don't beat myself up about it anymore, so times are just more wasteful than others. I focus more on trash, (environment impact) things than food things. I compost like crazy and then it goes to grow more food, so it does not bother me.

    Anything paper or plastic does bother me though, so I focus on those. I found and ran an environmental organization for 3 years, so I had to practice what I preached and it was tough - I am much more lax with myself now. Moderation, everything in moderation

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  10. I do the same while washing dishes! It surprised me when studies came out that said dishwashers use less water than hand washing. I'm not as fanatical about never owning a dishwasher now (though I still don't think we use enough dishes in a week to fill one up).

    I'm bad about body wash, actually. I got into the habit of only washing my hair every other day, and I'm careful not to use much shampoo. But I use so much body wash sometimes that the poof is still fully lathered when I'm done. I'm trying to be more mindful of this one! Great post!

  11. I started going with the resuable cloths in January and have only used about 5 rolls of papertowels all year. That has been great.

    I'm trying to avoid buying any new Christmas wrap this year and simply using what I have, even if its not my favorite. I have several resuable gift boxes that I use every year for some of the Princess's gifts. It always makes me feel good to not be throwing paper in the trash!

    I'm trying to make real strides in using up produce and milk. I always seem to overbuy.

  12. I am most wasteful with my time. I don't always utilize it well....shame on me!lol

  13. I use a lot of the ziplock bags for lunches and little stuff. My kid #2 never brings home containers or tupperware or even a lunchkit so it is a plastic bag filled with ziplocks of food :(
    My ocd husband also doesn't recycle paper, can't stand the "mess" so that is very wasteful! Soon our city starts mandatory recycling so I'm looking forward to it. A "Blue Bin" outside the house will keep the paper "mess" out of his way.

  14. Food goes to waste a lot in my house, it is something I feel really bad about.

  15. I waste produce sometimes because I get in the mood for a salad and then get out of the mood. We have lettuce dying in the fridge right now.

    My mom lives with us and she has never had to be frugal with anything, and her habits are hard for me sometimes as it runs up our water and electric bill. She's elderly and forgetful so she will turn the hot water on full blast and walk away.

    I will come downstairs to water running in her kitchen and she's in her bedroom watching t.v. Or she'll leave the water on the whole time while washing her face instead of turning it off once the washcloth is wet.

    But on the other hand, I will waste water by taking a bath. I don't put much water in there but I know that a shower would be more mindful of our natural resources. Yet I will see take my bubble bath sometimes, lol!