Reduce, Reuse, Recycle... and Save Some Money Too!

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I love that my 3 year old wanted to have a garbage can AND a recycle bin at her 3rd birthday party!  My family doesn't reduce, reuse, and recycle as much as we could, but we do what we can.  My general rule is that if it saves us money, I'm all for it.  If it helps keep our environment just a little nicer, I'm all for it.  Why not take care of the Earth that God gave us?  And why not save money in the process?

Here are some things we do in each of these areas:

  • paper towel use (we limit our use and go weeks without them if we run out)
  • paper napkins (we made the switch to all cloth)
  • buy in bulk (saves on packaging and cost less)
  • make own cleaning solution, lip balm, lotion, and deodorant (saves money and packaging materials)
  • soaps, shampoos, conditioners (we have started using less, especially when washing hands and dishes)
  • toothpaste (we've also started using less of this and I plan on making my own soon)
  • plastic bags for produce in grocery stores (we don't use them on things like bananas, cucumbers, and other foods that are easily washed)
  • diapers (use cloth, we haven't used them in a LONG while, but did in the past and need to get back into it)
  • open the blinds instead of turning on the lights
  • keep it cooler in the house in the winter (dress warm inside and use blankets) and warmer in the summer (cool the house with fans and opened windows)
  • water usage (never leave it running while shaving, brushing teeth, etc.)
  • only use one cup per person per day (even when leaving the house)
  • carpool (we try to always drive together as a family, even if it means we all get to church 45 min. early because one of has to be there early)
  • glass containers (can be reused for any homemade spicescleaners, or homemade foods such as yogurt, soups, and sauces)
  • boxes (can be reused to ship or store things)
  • cardboard cylinders from toilet paper or paper towels (can be reused as "telescopes" for kids, most churches use these for VBS crafts as well)
  • printer paper
  • menstrual cup and cloth pads instead of disposable
  • foaming soap containers (we reuse ours to make our own hand soap)
  • plastic bags from stores (we give most of them to someone who uses them often, and use the ones we keep for various things)
  • tea bags (cut them open, empty out tea herbs, rinse out and let dry, tie things like leaves, seed pods, and cloves in them so that they don't get lost when you cook them in soups, stews, and other crock pot recipes-see pictures below)        

  • Our city collects (for free) all plastic numbers 1 and 2, paper, aluminum, cardboard, and glass.  We wash out most things before we recycle it so that it does not stink.  This lets us reuse our garbage bag over and over before changing it.  We have two bins in our kitchen - one for trash and one for recycling.

What ways do you reduce, reuse, recycle, and save money?

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