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I'm Going Crunchy and You Can Too.

It all started with cloth diapering. I realized that my disposable diaper usage was on the high side since I have two in diapers and I found out that one diaper stays in the dump for 500 yrs. I have contributed a lot to that problem over the last 3 yrs (sorry Earth).

Next, I thought, well, if I can cloth diaper, why can't I cloth wipe? Sure I could. So I stopped buying wipes and cut all my old receiving blankets into large squares. Whenever I need a wipe, I just go to the sink and rinse one of them in warm water and when I'm done I toss them in my cloth diaper dirty bin- so easy. And I save like an extra $40 a month.

Well, then, as you can imagine, I thought to myself... we don't need to use all these paper towels all the time! And they are sooooo expensive. Let's use cloths instead. So I stopped buying paper towels. Another $40 a month saved. And the cloths work so much better! They clean better, dry better... all better!

I haven't crossed into replacing toilet paper... yet. I don't know if my family would be on board. I'm not scurred though. I would try it. I mean, cloth diapering/cloth toilet paper - same difference. I have a toilet sprayer if we need it. Just saying. I did, however, decide to try Mama cloth pads. Two of the worst offenders for landfills are diapers and feminine products. I have to say, I'm really happy I did! It's much more comfortable and again, cloth diapering/Mama cloth - same difference.

You might be thinking "ok, I can deal with the paper towel thing, but definitely not cloth toilet paper." I feel you. Baby steps, my friends, baby steps. One easy one that I should have embraced long ago is ditching the plastic water bottles and using... wait for it... a glass. (Gasps!) Yes, a glass is a receptacle that holds liquids, like water, and doesn't go into a landfill! Win-win. My excuse for years was "I don't trust the tap water", but now that I'm medicated and not paranoid all the time anymore, I don't think about weird stuff like that 24/7. Go figure! But seriously (and I was actually serious already), some cities have done taste tests against popular bottled water and won! So, get with the program everyone!

Another thing that I am working towards is paying attention to the products I buy at the store. Can the packaging be recycled? Is there a non-packaged version? Is the formula biodegradable? Is the product sourced responsibly? Can I buy it locally? Is it covered in pesticides? Not only are pesticides bad for you, they are bad for the drinking water. One more reason to buy organic whenever you can support those farmers.

I took a walk to a neighbors house the other day that I usually would have driven over to. And I thought, what a novel idea! I didn't use my minivan's precious life up. And I got a tiny bit of exercise. I think overall it's about a change of mind more than anything else. It's about thinking creatively about how to use the resources you have and minimize waste. Did you know that there is a whole movement going on called the Zero Waste Movement? You should give it a Google. It's crazy. One lady wrote that her family of four produced only one quart sized jar of waste in a year. A QUART SIZED JAR OF WASTE...IN A YEAR. Now, that doesn't include recycling, composting and reusing things... but that literally blows my mind.

Other ideas that I have not yet embraced but will... shopping for clothes second hand - or- only buying things I know I will wear. Replacing plastic toothbrushes with wooden ones (furthermore, replacing anything plastic with a biodegradable version). Setting a shower timer to keep showers efficient. Reuse water to water plants. Open the blinds to let light in instead of turning on a light.... ok so there are hundreds of ideas that make a whole lot of sense. I have been making a board on Pinterest.

I hope you can take inventory of your home and habits and make a decision to reduce your contribution to landfills. Every choice counts! What are your best ideas for sustainable living?

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