By Dale J. Harrington
The ubiquitous dilemma of “how to and what to” place in recycling, composting and trash disposal containers continues to baffle most of us. I’ve been methodically researching such matters in hopes of finding “the correct” answers to this decision-making process. I hope you will benefit from my research as I share some of my findings.
Use cloth bags or netting bags, instead of plastic, when grocery shopping. This reduces the amount of waste you bring into your house. You can wash the bags and use them over and over.
Buy food that has less packaging. Purchase bulk instead of pre-packaged items. Many pre-packaged vegetables are available in vegetable bins. Selecting items from the bins, allows you to control the quantity and thereby reduce waste. Most plastic wrapping on the pre-packaged items ends up in landfills. Even if the tray the vegetables are in is recyclable, by using your cloth or netting bags, you reduce recycling.
Don’t use bottled drinks unless you have to. Mix your drinks into your juice container to save on recycling plastic or glass.
Buy milk in plastic containers since they can be recycled. Milk in cardboard containers cannot be recycled because they have a film on them (prevents leaking), which means they are not recyclable.
My wife was excited when I shared the following sustainable practices for everyday use.
All-Purpose Cleaning Solution:
Consider making your own household cleaners and detergents (as provided on the Family Trip blog): All-Purpose Cleaning Solution
1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 1/2 cup distilled water drops preferred essential oil ** Toilet Cleaning Solution
• Sprinkle baking soda in toilet
– Spray distilled white vinegar on top
• Allow to sit for a few minutes before scrubbing. With your toilets, prevention is key. Once you get nasty mildew build up, it gets a lot tougher to clean. So clean quickly, yet often.
Homemade Dryer Sheets
Fabric scraps – cut into approximately 4-by-4 squares 1/2 cup distilled white vinegar 10 drops preferred essential oil ** 2 tbsp water (tap is fine) Place everything in a resealable container, allow fabric to soak through, add 2 scraps to wet clothes in the dryer before starting the cycle.
You will have to add more liquid to the scraps after some time – the length of which depends on how often you do laundry. Just feel free to add the same ratios of liquid to the jar and fabric scraps.
Hardwood Floor Cleaning Solution
1 gallon of water (can use distilled, tap is fine) 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar 3 drops pH neutral dish detergent (recommended: Dawn Pure Essentials) 1/2 cup rubbing alcohol 2-3 drops preferred essential oil ** ** Essential oil: Concentrated Hydrophobic Liquid: An essential is a natural oil typically obtained by distillation and having the characteristic fragrance of the plant or other source from which it is extracted.
Here are a few other tips:
• Take anything that can be reused, such as clothing, to a secondhand store. There are numerous secondhand stores in Walnut Creek.
• Put recyclable items into recycling bins. Do not contaminate them by putting landfill or compost items there.
– Place compostable items into compost bins.
• Dispose used batteries into battery container up at MOD.
– Take fluorescent light tubes to Ace Hardware.
• Do not buy products in aerosol cans. The aerosol contaminates the environment.
As much as anything, stay tuned, share with others what’s working for you. Know we are doing the best we can to inform you about recycling, composting and trash disposal.
We depend on Republic Services, Recycle Smart, and other services to take care of what we don’t want/need. They depend on their buyers, who often face new challenges for this task. Bottom line: be flexible and know our purchasing decisions truly make a difference.
Courtesy of Rossmoor News, Oct. 16, 2019. Email Dale J. Harrington at firstname.lastname@example.org