Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

While taking out the trash the other day, I was quite surprised by the amount of recyclables that I was putting in the bin. While it’s great that I do try to recycle everything that I possibly can, it also struck me that perhaps I didn’t need many of these items at all.  For the items that I do “need”, I’m sure there are more environmentally alternatives for some of them.

So, what are some of the things that I am doing right? From a quick assessment here are  things I do:

  • Recycle as much as I can
  • I’ve been vegetarian for years
  • I drive very little (I live about a mile from my work and everything is really close)
  • I rarely buy “stuff” though oddly I’ve managed to accumulate a lot
  • I try to buy organic and all natural/earth friendly products though I really don’t always know what I’m doing and always have to watch the bottom line (Read:  cost)
  • Open windows during the cooler months and leave my AC up relatively high (over 82 when I’m not home – 78 or so when I am)
  • Attempt to eat at home as much as possible though I’m limited by my cooking capabilities
  • I stopped drinking bottled water around 4-5 years ago. The only water I buy is for hurricane preparation. (It’s a must as far as I can tell though I will maybe need to research that. I do know that after a hurricane our water is not drinkable.)

While not a lot, that’s at least a start and probably a bit more than most are doing. However, here are some things that I know I need to start doing immediately:

  • Eat less processed foods – While most of the food I eat is pretty healthy (I don’t eat a lot of junk) I do tend to eat too many processed foods. I’m actually ok with this to a degree, but I do need to find items with less packaging or packaged in easily recyclable packaging
  • Ride my bike a little more. I was riding to work in the cooler weather, but had an illness that prevented me from riding. I have to be careful, though because our streets are deadly and I need to stay safe.
  • Research and use all natural body products that are within my budget
  • Get rid of a lot of “stuff” that others could be using or recycled for something useful
  • Switch to all natural cleansers and household products within my budget
  • Replace my everyday items with more environmentally friendly products. (For instance, I need new dishes)
  • Find ways to make my apartment more green without upsetting my landlord or sinking money into what is most likely a temporary situation
  • Use less product, in general. A small squirt of conditioner or shampoo is all that’s needed.
  • Waste less food, too. I buy food and sometimes let it go bad.
  • Be more efficient in my shopping trips. I always forget something important at the store –  say toilet paper – and then have to make a special emergency trip to the store for it. This wastes gas, time, and money.

This is the tip of the iceberg. While I’m not quite ready to become some sort of radical that eschews all modern conveniences, I do think that I can make quite a few improvements.  While I would like a simpler lifestyle, I understand that I won’t be leaving the city soon nor is that what I really want. I’m not a big fan of DIY and have NO desire to live on a farm.

You’ll also notice a theme here. For this lifestyle to be sustainable for me, it also has to be affordable. I do not want my budget to automatically become bloated just because I’m buying all natural or earth-friendly products. This is going to be the most difficult part.  I will have to pick my battles here and do my research to find the best alternatives that still leave dough in my pocket.

What are some small things that you can think of that might help my quest?

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