Something I've struggled with lately is the amount of perfectly good stuff my family throws away. I'm not talking donatable or saleable items, just things our culture has gotten accustomed to throwing out. Still, I was bothered. I guess it's the repressed flower-child in me or something, but I was disturbed. Over the past few months, I've came up with some ways to reduce our waste in our house. In reducing the waste, we've also cut back on expenses. Of course, these are not all original ideas, but they have worked well for us.
**I've switched from paper napkins to fabric napkins. Aside from making meals feel a little more fancy, once you get past the initial cost, you're only paying for the soap and water to wash them. Look for napkins on clearance--I've found some at Target recently for very cheap. If you can sew, you can cut your cost more by making your own at home. You can find directions here.
**Instead of paper towels, I use microfiber cloths for cleaning and dishes. Note: I do still keep paper towels for messes I wouldn't want to use my fabric on since we have pets and kids, but I use them maybe two times a month. I don't like large cloths when I do dishes etc, so I cut the microfiber towels I buy in quarters. This will give you four for the price of one. They don't fall apart when cutting due to the tight weave. Again, after initial purhase just soap and water baby!
**We love whole chickens! I usually roast them in the crockpot or buy roasted one's at the store instead of takeout. Instead of throwing out the bones, I put them into a bowl in the freezer. Once the bowl fills up, I bowl the contents in water to make homemade chicken broth.
**Rather than throw out apple, pear, zucchini, etc. peels, I chop them up fine and use them in a zucchini bread recipe (I'll share my favorite later!). The results are very yummy and healthy!
**Leftover veggies are great for soup and stew. Just store the leftovers in the freezer until you have enough.
**Leftover fruit is great for smoothies or helping to cool down hot cereal. My oldest son absolutely loves frozen fruit in his oatmeal!
**I gave up on Pull-ups at bedtime. I let my youngest go. After about a week of waking up wet in the night, he got to where if he wakes up at night, he just gets up and goes to the bathroom. Yes, I did some extra washing that week, but we are done with Pull-ups!
**We quit using individual bottles of water. We do still buy some out on occasion, but I buy gallon size bottles at the store. These are much cheaper! Some stores offer refill service for even less. Instead of the individual bottles, we use the gallons to fill reuasble water bottles.
How about you? How does your family save money by reducing waste?