Wednesday, June 26, 2013

7 Month 3 Wrap-Up

So, who's surprised that it took us 2 months again to get through another month of 7?  Trying to reduce waste in the month that included the cleaning out of my classroom, two baby showers, and an embarrassing amount of online shopping was rough.  We did manage to make some longer-lasting changes in a few different areas.

1.  Food Preparation:  We FINALLY started shopping produce from our local Farmer's Market, and it's been great.  We still buy some fruit, especially berries, at Safeway or Costco, because the prices are so much lower that we can't justify doing otherwise, but for everything else, including eggs, we have shifted to the Farmer's Market.  The produce bags I bought work great, and are usually enough to cover both the Farmer's Market and any other produce we may buy at Safeway, eliminating even more plastic bags!  We have also finally been able to harvest some of our garden, so other than spices, we now have cauliflower, tomatoes, and broccoli to use or puree.  Not to mention the box of giant zucchini someone left out at church.  Score!  We are also trying to buy baking supplies in bulk more to cut down on packaging, so we got these food storage bins for things like flour and sugar in the basement.

2.  Outdoor Sustainability: We also made a couple of bigger investments for our backyard, including a rain barrel and a compost bin.  So far, the rain barrel seems to be working for the one tiny rain that we've had, but we need to get a small hose for the nozzle so we don't have to keep disconnecting our main hose to use the water stored in here.  The compost bin has been AMAZING at reducing our trash, since we put almost all of our food scraps, cardboard, and yard waste into it.  I can't believe it's already at least half full!

3.  Cleaning Supplies:  I bought a pack of spray bottles and have been perusing homemade cleaning supplies on Pinterest, but I haven't actually tried making any yet.  I did, however, finally put the time and effort into making some un-paper towels using this tutorial, although I was much lazier and cheaper, so rather than doing 2-sided towels, I just cut down white terrycloth and zig-zagged the edges to keep it from fraying too badly.  So far, they are still a little stringy, but they seem to be getting better with each wash.  The jury is still out on the snaps--it might be less of a hassle to just stack them in a cute tray.  They were easy, if tedious, to apply, and I have a bunch left over that I can use for something else.  I also like having them all white, so I can lay them out to bleach in the sun if necessary.

4.  Laundry:  Well, our dryer broke two days before we hosted the baby shower, which was superfun, but it did prompt us to finally upgrade to a new energy-efficient washer and dryer (you can probably tell that this wasn't budget month!), so we also bought a clothesline for outside and drying rack for inside, along with some Charlie's Soap Powder.  I think we'll use these mostly for cloth diapers, but it's nice to take advantage of the summer sun to freshen things up and use less energy, since I hear we'll be doing a few extra loads of laundry soon.

5.  Baby:  Yes, I know you all think that I'm nuts, but we are still planning to cloth diaper.  We have about 18 cloth diapers for now (mostly BumGenius Freetime and 4.0, and a pack of Flip covers and inserts), which I'm hoping will be most of what we need once we get going.  We did buy a couple of packs of newborn and size 1 diapers along with some wipes for that first month or two, but once we get settled and she gets bigger, we plan to transition to cloth.  We also bought cloth wipes, and I found a recipe for a wipe solution that I'd like to try, because if you're willing to spray baby poop out of diapers (diaper sprayer), why not wipes too?

As for our no-trash week, we tried it.  We did ok, but not perfect.  We pretty much blew it on the first day when we each had a Skinny Cow for dessert and then looked at the wrappers sitting in our hands.  There were probably 5-6 incidents like that for the rest of the week, but we were able to recycle or compost almost all of the waste we produced, and our total trash for the week was definitely more Target-bag-sized (if that) than regular trash bag.

We are going to put a hold on 7 until we get settled in a bit more with the baby, but we are almost halfway there!


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