7 Weeks of Less - WASTE

I'm in the middle of a 7 week experiment inspired by the book 7 - An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker. I'm calling my journey 7 Weeks of Less.  I'm 4 weeks in.  Read on to see how it's going - and join me if you'd like!

  1. FOOD
  2. STUFF
  4. WASTE
  6. MEDIA

The Rules:

Reduce, Reuse and Recycle.  This week I will find ways to be green and more environmentally aware.  I like to do these things and regularly practice a lot of "greener" things, but know I can improve and make better choices such as:

  1. Drive less (ie. exercise at home instead of the rec if I don't have any other errands to run, combine errands to one outing)
  2. Use fewer napkins, paper towels, and other one-time-use conveniences like zip lock bags, plastic bags, etc.
  3. Recycle more. Find a place to recycle glass especially and be more diligent about getting papers, cardboard, plastic & aluminum to the recycling bin instead of the trash
  4. Think of second (or third or fourth) uses for items before they become trash
  5. Fix things that might otherwise be thrown away.
  6. Save energy and resources by turning off electronics, lights, the water, etc. when not in use. 
  7. Take out the trash & recycling, roll it to the street & back, etc.  Normally this is something I leave for Ben to do..I'll take responsibility for it this week as a physical and visual reminder of the waste we produce.

The Wrap-Up:

Okay, so this week was mostly a giant failure.  Yes, I tried to recycle more things, and be aware of the trash I threw away.  And I was in charge of bringing the trash and recycling to the street and taking it out to the trash bins. 

But overall, I was preoccupied with plans for Ayla's birthday party (and enjoying several days sans kids since they went to Auburn for a few days with grandparents). 

So, I often forgot to bring by reuseable bags into stores (though I did shop at Sam's this week, which meant I had to use my own bags) and drove several extra hours because we were dropping off and picking up the kids from their trip. 

Plus, Ayla's birthday party was on Saturday which produced all KINDS of trash (and recycleable cardboard), and it was pretty painful to watch perfectly good food and drinks be tossed in the trash by a bunch of 6 year olds.

And I won't lie...this 7 Weeks of Less experiment is getting old and kind of boring to me.  How on EARTH did Jen Hatmaker (and her family) survive 7 full months of this?


So, since I was such a slacker this week...I didn't journal. At all.  Instead I'd like to offer a few "green" solutions and ways to save energy and be more efficient.  Some of which I do, some I don't (but probably should).

  1. Recycle aluminum cans, paper, plastic & cardboard (picked up weekly at the curb...doesn't get any easier than that).
  2. When you make a trip out in the car, look for efficient ways to take care of several errands in one trip, rather than making several trips out a day. 
  3. Use reuseable divided containers for packing lunches instead of zip lock bags, paper bags, and plastic utensils.
  4. Use refillable water bottles instead of buying juice boxes or bottled water.
  5. Keep a bunch of reusable bags in the car to use when you go shopping (at ANY kind of store!) 
  6. Shop at Aldi or Sams where they don't offer plastic or paper bags at all! (or charge for them).
  7. Instead of buying individually packaged containers of snacks, buy big bags and refill a reuseable container.
  8. Say things once.  Don't waste your words.
  9. Instead of using paper towels (or napkins for that matter), keep a drawer full of bar rags (we buy ours at Sams) for wiping off counters, drying your hands, cleaning the house, etc. Then just wash them with bleach.
  10. Recycle glass and plastic bags at the Target recycling center.
  11. Reuse plastic bags as trash liners.
  12. Buy used.  Used cars, used clothes, used furniture, used toys.  No need to buy new when the gently used is just as good, cheaper and less wasteful.
  13. Start an herb garden. 
  14. Save misprinted papers, fliers and old worksheets for scratch paper.
  15. Turn off the lights and open the blinds during the day for natural light.
  16. Use fans instead of blasting the air conditioning (but keep the AC on to some level...let's be reasonable...we live in Alabama).
  17. Save energy by keeping a "goes up" or "goes down" bucket next to the stairs.  Then take the stuff up on your next trip up.  Why can't my kids get on board with this???
  18. Any "green" tips you want to add?

Next week is Shopping week.  I don't even think I can do it.  I can't even fathom how...God help me figure out some way to benefit during that week and make it applicable.

4 comments so far:

Positively Alene said:

Totally agree with the old and boring. I need to conquer WASTE week. I suppose to have my "rules" up Friday. Still don't. Something help me. I could careless about waste. This is bad I know. May God has a lesson for me after all.

Jennifer said:

I have been trying to eliminate paper plate usage for a while now. I never buy them anymore. I don't know why my husband cares that he has to use a regular dish instead of a paper plate since I am the one who does 99% of the dishes, but he always ends up buying some within a week of us running out. Sometimes, you only can do what you can do, and not worry about the rest of world (or 6 year olds).

Andrea M said:

Oh, I hear you! I finally had to come to terms with that what works for Jen may not necessarily work for me. I've stopped worrying about trying to do this thing the way she did it, and do it in a way that makes sense for my brain and season of life (it's pretty hard to fast from food or only wear seven items of clothing when you have a three month old!).

So what I've been doing each week instead is for sure looking for areas to improve, but then also looking at my heart. When I start trying to listen to what God is trying to tell me through my mountains of excess, it all makes sense. And really, I think that's the heart of what she was doing, too. On the surface it appears to be about stuff, but I'm learning that it is really about instead of us being consumed with consuming, we need to be consumed with serving. Hang in there.

Alison said:

Kids birthday parties are the worst for waste!!! It has long been my goal to somehow address this issue, and we are making progress. Our family has been working on reducing waste over time and we pick one thing to focus on per month to make it a habit.

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