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FAQ Friday: What About All The Waste?

Being crafty is fun, but it sure can generate a lot of trash and waste. With the world being in the state that it is, I am trying to reduce and reuse as much as I can.




I end up with a lot of scraps of paper, bits of wire and string, yarn, and just random bits. But I want to leave a better world for my terrible children, so I am striving to reduce my garbage footprint. Recycling is nice, but the best way to make a difference these days is to reduce and reuse. Those two little bits of the R-Triangle don't get the attention they deserve. I know when I was a kid, the emphasis was on recycling. It was this neat new concept, and plastics really weren't part of our daily lives like they are today. Our first "recycling bin" was a five gallon bucket from the City. All we had was tin/aluminum cans and newspaper. Nowadays, everything is packed and wrapped and shipping in a dazzling array of plastics. 

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What I do to reduce my waste at home:
  • Reusable straws. I know, I know. The turtles! But this isn't why I am trying to switch my family over to reusable straws. My kids love straws. Love them. But being kids, they also have a tendency to forget their beverages all over the house and instead of turning around and looking where they left them looking for them they just get a new drink...and straw. Plus, in our area you don't get a straw unless you ask for one...and then sometimes it is a paper straw which is just weird. I bought a set of silicone travel straws and I am really enjoying them.
  • Reusing take out containers. One of my favorite fast-food places (Teriyaki Madness) packages their food in reusable plastic containers. They are top-rack dishwasher safe, microwavable, and hold a ton of food. They're still plastic, but they aren't single use. The longer I keep something out of a landfill, the better.
  • Using glass "tupperware". I have been trying to switch my family over from plastic, disposable food storage to glass. For leftovers, it is working wonderfully. Occasionally, the older kid takes them to school and we have only had one broken this year. I call that a win.
  • Fabric shopping bags. Monterey County has banned free plastic bags (even the biodegradable ones because they're dumb) so we have transitioned over to fabric bags. My favorites are from Trader Joe's, but we have a ton. 
  • Fabric napkins. This seems like a gimme, but you would be surprised how much waste you can cut out when you switch to fabric napkins. They also absorb more and withstand more mess, which is super handy with kids around. They're also pretty affordable and easy to make if you're the DIY type.
What I do to reduce my Crafty Taco waste:
  • I buy longer pins, so I can reuse the excess. Head/eye pins are in pretty much everything. I buy one size, and when I only need a little bit I save the rest. Those extra lengths can often be turned into new eye pins. I figure that I am saving myself a whole package of pins (and the packaging those pins came in) every 100 or so bead/charm sets. 
  • I save scrap paper! I don't have a label printer, so all the shipping labels get printed small on regular sized printer paper...which leaves more than half a page unused! We keep those for scratch paper (for homework, grocery lists, school notes, etc) and for drawing paper. Unsurprisingly, my house is pretty arty and we go through a lot of paper. Every square of leftover paper finds a new life, somewhere. And I have plans for the future so that my regular paper waste is near zero.
  • I reuse bubble wraps. If you've ordered from me before, you may notice that your item is bubble wrapped inside the bubble mailer (yo dawg...) I know it is a little overkill, but a lot of my stuff is one of a kind and can't be easily replicated. But the bubble wrap you get is often on its second or third road trip by the time it gets to you! The best way to deal with plastics is to use them as long as they are serviceable. 
  • I reuse tissue paper. I am that mom. I save tissue paper, and reuse it as much as I can. I smooth it out and fold it neatly. Not only is that stuff expensive, but it is also generally a single-use product. 
  • I try to use paper over plastic whenever possible. Sometimes it is a bit spendier, but it is worth it.
What do you do to reduce your waste? I found a neat little list from NatGeo with some ways people can reduce their plastic use, have you tried any of them?

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