Saturday, October 4, 2014

Paper or Plastic? {7 for 31}

This month I'm writing a new post each day about my own version of Jen Hatmaker's 7 experiment. For more posts and an introduction, head hereToday's 7 topic is waste.

Many of the promoted waste-eliminating and environment-stewarding practices are impractical for an apartment dweller. We can't garden or compost, hang our laundry, or re-insulate our home to make it more energy efficient. Our complex doesn't have a recycling option - everything goes into a giant trash compactor. It was a quest trying to find a city recycling facility, and taking items requires loading up my car with recyclables and a baby and driving over there --- a lot more time, effort, and gas expended than just dumping things into a green box on the curb.

Not wanting to use that as an excuse for ignoring the trash aspect of waste, I've chosen to focus on upcycling, instead (which is a lot more fun, anyway). I wanted to go deeper than just lining our bathroom trashcans with plastic grocery bags...

We usually reheat leftovers in the toaster oven instead of the microwave - the extra time it takes is perfect for emptying the dishwasher, wiping down the counters, picking up toys, etc., and (in my opinion) it tastes better. However, that often requires foil to keep things from falling through, and while we do buy recycled foil it's a little difficult for us to then re-recycle it. But the gluten-free piecrust I use for quiche comes in a beautiful aluminum pie tin, so I've been flattening them to use as liners for the toaster oven. They're sturdier than foil and have the added bonus of being washable (and it can still be recycled later, once it gets all black and crunchy because I reheated something cheesy).

I love brown paper bags. I used them instead of boxes when we moved, which was wonderful - but we have quite a stash under the kitchen sink, and aren't planning on moving soon. So besides reusing them as market bags this month, I also cut one up and used it as to wrap a package to mail instead of buying a bubble envelope. Since that didn't use the entire bag, I made 4 sheets of stationery and a matching envelope out of the remaining three sides.

Those are a few ideas I've had - check out Thursday's post to share your upcycling suggestions and to be entered in a giveaway!

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