Happy Earth Day! And what a beautiful day it is here in Old Town, Maine. The littlest nieces and the brother-in-law are outside today, and the eldest niece is reading in the living room. I am busily writing and promoting so that I may go home and and work on some planning activities for spring, summer and autumn. Busy, busy.
While on my walk, I stopped in at Mobil and refilled my existing fountain drink cup so that I was not being as wasteful as when I get a new one. It is a cheap plastic cup that I will reuse that has been used twice already and will be used once more before retiring it to the writing desk. Once here, it is a receptacle that collects trash from my work area until filled. Then it is disposed of. Ideally, I would obviously have a permanent refillable cup. Maybe this is something that I will work on this year. At least it is getting more than one use, and a fountain drink – with the desired ice – is cheaper than a bottle of Pepsi when I decide I want one.
There are many ways in which the frugal cook might choose to celebrate Earth Day. Here are a few ideas for your consideration:
- Purchase reusable bags for grocery shopping. If these types of bags are not within your budgeted spending amount, then ask for them to be given as gifts. Besides the reusable Hannaford bags that I use (that cost only a few dollars each), I have also purchased reusable dollar store bags for a buck each. When at yard sales, I pick up tote bags that can be slung over my shoulder for a quarter. People have also given me bags. It is possible to make these bags using a variety of materials such as old pillow cases and towels. Stores do not care if you are using bags with their logos, as long as you are purchasing things from them.
- Try making your own produce bags. I plan to do this at some point, but will not have enough time today. Now that I purchase more fresh produce, I seem to collect those plastic produce bags like crazy. I use them as bags for used cat litter when I am scooping the boxes, but I desire not to have to collect them at all. Of course, the homemade bags will have to be lightweight, as much of the produce is measured in terms of pounds. Reusable produce bags may also be purchased, if you are not a particularly crafty person.
- Look for items with less packaging. Bulk purchases may seem like the way to go due to cost, but they may provide extra packaging that will only end up in a landfill. Not good. Today, consider the items that you purchase with regularity. Is there a way to purchase any of these items without unnecessary packaging? If not, perhaps a letter to the manufacturer expressing your concerns is in order.
While In the Kitchen…
- Cook from scratch whenever possible. By doing this, you will be able to purchase items with less packaging. Cakes, breads and muffins, and soups and stews will all benefit from fresher ingredients with less preservatives. As will your body.
- Use cookware and other items that are meant to last. Cheap cookware ends up in a landfill more quickly, as do cheap plastic measuring utensils. Use items that were made to last, from a material that does not have known toxins. In the long run, you will save much money and be less wasteful.
- Bake more than one item at a time to save money and energy.
When In the Garden…
- Use some of those empty milk and juice jugs, rather than dispose of all of them. Save them in the shed when not in use. In the garden, these make wonderful mini greenhouses that will aid you in extending your growing season. Cut the bottoms off and leave the cover off. The jugs with screw on lids make good watering jugs because you can poke holes in the cover, and you can make a scoop out of them for use in the garden as well.
- Start a compost, after constructing your own bin.
- Plan a vegetable garden, and start it if the time is right in your area. This will save you much money on fresh produce during the harvest season, and canning the produce would mean healthier eating throughout the winter.
- Plan an herb garden, and start it if the time is right in your area. This alone will save you much money on your shopping bill if you cook or craft with herbs. You will also be able to make your own teas.
- Reuse water from cooking eggs, pasta and vegetables to water plants.
- Collect rain water in buckets or rain barrels for watering the garden. This will save money only if you pay for water. It will save on use of this precious resource either way.
- Disney store giving a free REusable shopping bag for Earth day (athriftymom.com)
- Earth Day…Get the Kids Involved! (dsgnmomonline.wordpress.com)