31 days of Reducing Trash and Waste

From Thanksgiving to New Year’s Day, household waste increases by more than 25%. Added food waste, shopping bags, packaging, wrapping paper, bows and ribbons all adds up to an additional 1 million tons a week to our landfills. (Source: EPA)

We can all do something about this tremendous influx of trash and I will be posting ideas for 31 days on how to reduce trash and waste:

Day 31, Set new goals to help the environment for the new year. Suggestions: Be more vigilant about recycling, start a compost bin, recycle all shampoo and cosmetic plastic, use less chemicals, and make a commitment to get outside and appreciate our beautiful earth.recycle

Day 30, Recycle, recycle, recycle Instead of throwing everything in the landfill trash recycle all plastic including plastic wrap and bags.  Many communities recycle wrapping paper without glitter.  Compost your food waste, and re-gift(give to someone who would enjoy) any gift you will not use. Take your electronics to Best Buy for recycling.

Day 29, Never purchase or use Styrofoam.  Styrofoam breaks down in tiny pieces and much of it ends up in our waterways lasting for hundreds of years.  Complain to businesses that still use Styrofoam food take-out container or cups, and bring your own container.

Never use Styrofoam
Never use Styrofoam

Day 28, More on reusable wrappings.  This is a great list from earth911.com  http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/reusable-gift-wrap-ideas/?mc_cid=41d9271137&mc_eid=9f2a2b2b71

Gifts in reusable shopping bags
Gifts in reusable shopping bags

Day 27, Use gift wrapping that can be reused or recycled.

My husband's gift wrapping
My husband’s gift wrapping

Day 26, Reduce the amount of paper towels you use.  Use real towels and always

Made from recycled materials
Made from recycled materials

purchase paper towels from recycled materials.

Day 25, last minute, easy gift ideas from the Minnesota Pollution Control:

Lessons. A lot of people would like to try new things, but won’t spend the money on themselves. A gift certificate might be just the item for someone who would like to begin a new hobby or polish the skills they have already learned. Perhaps you have can even teach them one of your special talents, like how to cook a family recipe.

Time and energy.  Friends or relatives may value help with snow shoveling, vacuuming, or organizing as a gift. Try our downloadable gift certificates as a way to present your gift.

Reused items. Many gifts can be purchased second-hand. Look at Hennepin County’s Choose to Reuse directory and ReUse Minnesota for a list of shops. To help you find the perfect present,  choose a shop that specializes in one type of reuse, like kids stuff or sports gear.

Hand made or up-cycled items. This is a spin on the reused idea, but includes artsy, unique and personal touches. You can tackle your own projects or look to local shops.

  • Find shops that sell collectibles, vintage wear, or antiques
  • Gift hand-knit or home-sewn items
  • Create a book of family recipes

Day 24, More on bulk shopping and no plastic bags.  Purchasing exactly the

Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste
Bulk purchasing exactly the amount needed for zerowaste

amount of the ingredients for a holiday dish.  These paper sacks can be recycled or composted! #zerowaste shopping

Day 23, Creative and clever ways to wrap your gifts: http://www.treehugger.com/slideshows/green-home/10-stylish-sustainable-ways-wrap-gifts/#slide-top

Day 22, How can you reduce plastic produce bags? Plastic produce bags are just as polluting as plastic shopping bags.  To keep your produce fresh store it in a crisper in your refrigerator.

Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags
Use reusable cotton sacks or paper bags

Day 21, More on plastic bags:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HrEXjQAobz0&feature=youtu.be&a  Ban the bag

Day 20, How can you reduce the amount of plastic bags you use? Instead of using baggies, why don’t you try to use waxed paper bags? These can be composted.wpid-wp-1418614582040.jpeg

Day 19, great ideas from http://www.earth911.com  on reducing waste for the holidays:


Day 18, Reduce stress by not using your car one or more days this week.  Choose to walk, car pool or use public transport to get to work, school or meetings.

Day 17, Strive for quality. Purchase items you know will last and you will reuse, reuse and reuse.  Don’t purchase cheap items that will soon end up in the landfill.  Sorry, NO to #uglysweaters

Day 16, Get in the habit of using reusable table napkins. Make your own from remnant pieces if cloth,  or purchase some from reuse stores. Use your imagination, wash cloths or bandanas also make good napkins. They don’t need to match.wpid-wp-1418350361805.jpeg

Day 15, Commit to a no waste holiday season. Join one million women


Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Join the No Waste Holiday Season
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.
Some co-ops have fabulous selections of soaps and lotions for bottle refills.

Day 14, Refill your glass bottles.  My local grocery store has an option to refill bottles

Refilling a bottle of olive oil.
Refilling a bottle of olive oil.

Day 13, Precycle, precycle precycle. Many of my ideas to reduce waste are about precycling. Today’s “less waste” idea is to avoid packaged items that will generate lots of landfill waste. Before you purchase items become aware of the amount of waste it will generate. Purchase items that have the smallest amount of packaging, and packaging that can be recycled. 

Day 12, Give your things new life. Donate clothing, coats or housewares you haven’t used in the last few years to a local non-profit that is capable of getting it to people in need such as a local crisis center, to Goodwill or another reuse store. http://www.volunteerguide.org/minutes/service-projects/clothesshoes

Day 11, Say “NO” to straws. Billions of plastic straws are in landfills and will never decompose.

How can we stop getting straws? Simply inform your waiter or waitress that you don’t need one, and make sure to specify this when ordering at a drive-thru. Can’t fathom giving up the convenience of straws? Purchase a reusable stainless steel or glass drinking straw. Restaurants are less likely to bring you a plastic one if they see that you’ve brought your own straw.  From:  http://www.mnn.com

Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid
Avoid plastic, fill your glass or metal bottles with liquid

Day 10, Bring a reusable water bottle to work, school, and for all your adventures.

Day 9, Always bring your reusable shopping bags, and avoid plastic bags. Choose

Shop with your reusab;e bags
Shop with your reusable bags

paper if you forget your own bags.

Day 8, Cyber Monday.  Purchase green products and items made in the U.S.A. Also, support businesses that provide healthy working conditions and pay a living-wage.

Shop local, shop green
Shop local, shop green




Day 7, Use your leftovers.  Make your turkey leftovers into wraps enchiladas or make turkey soup: Brown an onion, add chopped carrots, celery or whatever vegetables you have fresh, frozen or canned. Add salt and lots of chopped turkey.  Cook in vegetable broth, season with rosemary, add some rice or noodles and enjoy… Better than a Thanksgiving dinner!  Freeze any remaining left overs to pull out on a busy night you need a quick dinner!

Day 6, Keep your community vibrant and walkable.  Support your local businesses and walk to them. #smallbusinesssaturday wpid-wp-1417263708700.jpeg

Day 5, Count your blessings, and avoid retailers.

If you’re looking to avoid impulse buying this year, take time not only to celebrate with your friends and family, but also to count your blessings. You may find that the easiest way to thwart retailers’ enticements as you peruse the shopping aisle isn’t to try to resist what you want; it’s to be thankful for what you have.


Day 4, Be thankful, freeze leftovers and disperse food to your guests.

“The amount of turkey wasted over Thanksgiving—about 204 million pounds—is enough to provide 46 four-ounce servings of turkey for every American household that is food insecure. Forty-six per household! Instead, it lands in our garbage can, as do all the resources it took to grow and nurture those birds: enough water to supply New York City for 100 days and the greenhouse gas equivalent to 800,000 car trips from San Francisco to New York.

This Thanksgiving, I invite you to truly be thankful for the feast before you and to take control of your plate and portions. Stop for a moment and reflect on everything it takes to bring that brilliant feast to your table—the grains that were grown to feed your turkey, the bog that nurtured your cranberries, the land that allowed your pumpkin to spread its big leaves all over, and the hands that worked tirelessly to grow our food. Then fill your plate with just what you can actually eat, and dig in!  Dana Gunder, Natural Resources Defense Council 

Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree
Pecan loaf, vegetarian alternative to turkey. #noGMOs, #glutenfree

Day 3, Purchase food items in the bulk aisle. Buying bulk can save on packaging, and eliminates food waste because you can get only the amount you need. Co-ops will let you wpid-wp-1416973820585.jpegbring your own containers to refill, and bulk buying saves you money. Purchasing bulk items is my favorite way to shop!

Day 2, Serve municipal water in real glasses.  A new wasteful trend has developed. wpid-wp-1416886418719.jpegOften the only water served at parties is water in small plastic bottles.  A great way to cut waste and save money is to drink water from public water systems.  Run it through a Brita or other water filter and you have water as good or better than bottled water.  Water filters can be recycled at Terracycle.com

Day 1, Always use real plates, cups, glasses and silverware.  If you lack enough

Use real dishes
Use real dishes

for your party or dinner, borrow from a friend or relative.  The quality of your party improves 100% even if everything doesn’t match. It will still make your event special.

Plan a non-GMO Thanksgiving

Thanksgiving is a time for celebrating around the dinner table with family and friends. This time of year it is easy to continue on with the same old holiday routines. It is time to make a change. You may not realize the most common Thanksgiving foods contain genetically engineered ingredients!

The good news is that it is easy to get the GMOs out of Thanksgiving by purchasing foods that are certified non-GMO or organic. You can find many non-GMO and organic options at your local co-op or farmers market, at Whole Foods, and increasingly, at mainstream grocery stores. Using ingredients that are organic and non-GMO will also create tastier foods to share with your loved ones. So, whether you are hosting a Thanksgiving meal, or bringing a dish to share, make sure to leave the GMOs out!

The following chart will help you identify the GMOs in popular holiday foods, and non-GMO alternatives. This is only a partial list. Remember, if you buy foods that have corn, soy, or sugar in the ingredient list, and they are not certified non-GMO or organic, then you could be eating genetically engineered ingredients. In particular, keep a look out for foods from companies that oppose Oregon Ballet Measure 95 and Colorado Ballet Initiative 105, such as Coca Cola, General Mills, Kraft, Nestle, Pepsi, Bumble Bee, and Land O’ Lakes.

To celebrate the upcoming holiday and provide some meal inspiration with a few ways to mix up some favorite dishes check back each week for a new GMO-free recipe.

Here are some common Thanksgiving foods that may contain GMOs, and non-GMO and Organic alternatives.

Caution: Likely contains GMOs! Unless it is certified non-GMO or Organic, products often contain GMOs Look for non-GMO and organic certified products.
Soups (e.g., Campbell’s Tomato Soup) Organic soups (Amy’s, Pacific, and many other brands available)
Cooking Oils –including corn and canola in particular (e.g., Wesson Canola Oil) Organic Cooking Oil (Nutiva, Dr. Bronner, Whole Foods Organic, and many other brands available)
Canned Yams (e.g., Bruce’s Yams) Use fresh organic yams
Chocolate (e.g., Hershey Milk Chocolate) Organic chocolate (Equal Exchange, Theo, and many other brands available, many are Fair Trade as well)
Crackers (e.g., Pepperidge Farm Crackers) Organic crackers (Crunchmaster, Nature’s Path, and many other brands available), or toast organic bread and cut into squares.
Dressing (e.g., Kraft Classic Ranch Dressing) Organic dressings, or make your own dressing using organic oils, vinegar, mustard, mayonnaise, etc.
Rice mixes (e.g., Rice a Roni chicken flavored rice) Organic rice (Lundberg, and many other brands available).  If you are in a rush, use organic couscous.
Cranberry Sauces (e.g., Ocean Spray Cranberry Sauce) Buy organic cranberries and use organic and fair trade sugar (e.g., Wholesome Sweeteners) to sweeten.  Or purchase organic jellied cranberry (Tree of Life, Grown Right and several other brands available) if you are in a hurry.
Stuffing (e.g., Kraft’s  Stove Top Stuffing , Cornbread) Make your own stuffing with organic bread.  Or purchase organic stuffing mix (Pamela’s Bread and several other brands available)

Once you are getting the GMOs out of Thanksgiving, you can spread the word:

  1. If you are hosting a Thanksgiving meal, print out a menu of the foods you are serving and make sure to note that they are non-GMO and organic. Share the recipes with friends and family as well.
  2. Post a picture of your non-GMO feast on your Pinterest and Facebook pages. You can also share your feast on the Facebook.com/gmoinside page.
  3. If you donate foods to a shelter this holiday (which is a great thing to do), donate organic and non-GMO foods.
  4. If you already purchased holiday foods with GMOs inside, you can print out our handy labels, put them on the foods, and take a picture to post to social media, so you can warn family and friends. Share with the GMOinside community on our Facebook page as well.
  5. You can also check to see if foods with GMOs inside have a money back guarantee. If they do, go ahead and send them back to the manufacturer, and ask for your money back.

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America Recycles Day, November 15,

recycle On America Recycles Day, what new commitment can you make to recycle?

Find a place to recycle your trash!
Find a place to recycle your trash!

The U.S. is the #1 trash-producing country in the world at 1,609 pounds per person per year. This means that 5% of the world’s people generate 40% of the world’s waste.** Yes, we can do better!

So…..What are we waiting for?  Let’s get busy and recycle MORE!

Today focus on packaging.  Read all packaging and recycle what ever has a recycle triangle.

Recycling saves lots of energy: Products made from recycled material use less energy!  Sadly, valuable materials are ending up in our landfills every day.

Tips for increasing your recycling and working for zero waste in your home and business!

Recycle all plastic bottles, plastic tubs, metal and aluminum cans, glass and newspapers and most paper products.  Every community has different rules for this, but please don’t put these in the trash!  Find a recycling location near you at http://earth911.com/

Establish a place to collect recyclables. Keep a place for recycling in every room of your house or business. http://earth911.com/news/2012/12/11/binbisa-new-recycling-bin/ …AND recycle all junk mail

– Pre-cycle: Become aware of the packaging of the products you purchase.  Buy the products with the least packaging, and with packaging that is recyclable.  This has really improved the past few years.

Awareness – The more you recycle the more you become aware of new things that you can recycle!

Plastic Bags: All clean and dry plastic bags should be recycled.  If it stretches and is clean, recycle it.  Many grocery stores will take bags for recycling.  Ask stores to start collecting plastic bags for recycling if you don’t have someone local.   Some cities have banned the use of plastic bags!! We all can recycle them.  Studies indicate that 100,000 marine animals and 2 million birds die every year from ingesting or being caught up in plastic debris*

Through recycling and composting you should get your garbage down to one small bag a week!

Recycling is a process to change waste materials into new products to prevent waste of potentially useful materials, reduce the consumption of fresh raw materials, reduce energy usage, reduce air pollution (from incineration) and water pollution (from landfills) by reducing the need for “conventional” waste disposal, and lower greenhouse gas emissions as compared to plastic production. From Wikipedia

Eliminate the idea of waste:  http://www.terracycle.com/en-US/

** Recycling Revolution  http://www.recycling-revolution.com/recycling-facts.html



Three Simple Tips for Going Green


Buy less,  Consume Less and Recycle More! 


Shop Smart      http://www.doitgreen.org/  

Shop local, shop green
Shop local, shop green


Below is from Earth911.com and has some good ideas. http://www.earth911.com/living-well-being/how-to-go-green-without-going-crazy/


“1. Starting slow means sustainability. We have all experienced the rush of starting something armed with good intentions and enthusiasm, followed swiftly by crushing disappointment when we realize we have dropped the ball. Again.

As with anything in life, the process of creating Eco-friendly change has a far greater chance of sticking it out for the long-term if you take baby steps. Rather than making sweeping changes all at once, tackle one thing at a time – if you run out of window cleaner, replace it with vinegar and water.

When you have gotten the hang of cloth diapering and are getting more than three hours of sleep in a night, then tackle a backyard compost. Allow each change to settle in and become routine before you attempt a new one. This is less dramatic, yes, but far more sustainable.

2. Not being able to do everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do anything. So you can’t afford to buy organic, and using a clothesline simply isn’t going to happen in your fifteenth-floor apartment. Not being able to do everything doesn’t mean you shouldn’t attempt to enact change where you can.

There are hundreds of tiny ways you can create a greener life, from using public transportation to shopping secondhand. Many cost nothing at all, and take very little time. Shift your focus from what you’re not doing, to celebrating the positive change that works for you – and ditch the guilt!

3. It’s not what you buy, it’s what you DO. It truly doesn’t matter if you have the latest trendy green gadget, or if your closet is full of fair-trade, up-cycled, gluten-free clothing. It’s fantastic that these options are there if you need them but the simplest and most effective way to create a positive environmental impact is simply by reducing your consumption, period. Buy less.

The effect of this change is twofold: It reduces the amount of stuff that you have to pay for, store, maintain and dispose of, but it also shifts the focus of your efforts away from outward displays of Eco-trendiness, and frees up your time and money to enact real change instead.

An Eco-friendly life doesn’t have to be – and I would argue, shouldn’t be – expensive, time-consuming, or filled with guilt.

Remember these three tips: Start slow and start small, focus on what you can do, and remember that being green will always be infinitely more than the contents of your shopping cart.”  from Earth911.com

Buy LESS   http://getlesstoday.com/      Video

You Have a Voice, Please Vote!


If you don’t vote you are giving more power to the billionaires that pay for all the negative ads…Which is exactly what they want!! This is about all of us, not just a few.



“No other democratic nation makes voting as difficult as it is in the United States” Larry Jacobs University of Minnesota, Humphrey Institute

Most of would agree there is too much money being spent in this election.  The billionaires against billionaires is not in the best interest of any of us. They want to further THEIR agenda.  And..it is impossible to sort out any truth from all the lies. The integrity of democracy is in serious trouble.  More than ever your vote is needed. If you care about our earth, GMOs, violence against women and children, minimum-wage, healthcare,, or the control big corporations have on our country, you must vote!!  Your vote does matter, and the candidates are not all the same!

How can you vote and support our democratic way of life?

1. Do NOT make your election choices from campaign ads….Too many lies, negativity and verbal garbage!  I wouldn’t watch or listen to any of these silly ads.

1. Google your state’s Secretary of State to see a sample ballot ( for example, Minnesota Secretary of State). The ballot looks overwhelming at first, but if you take time to look at it, you will make sense of it.  Remember you don’t need to vote for every race, but inform yourself about what and for whom to vote

3. Find your polling place on the same Secretary of State Website.

4. Google candidates to find what issues they care about and how do they align with your values.  Most of the time you can figure what is important to them by skimming their website.
wpid-wp-1412011643040.jpeg4. Go vote on Tuesday, November 4, even if it is for just one candidate or one issue.

5. Support organizations like Public Citizen, or Common Cause which work to end Citizen’s United. http://www.citizen.org/  www/commoncause.org

*** Above cartoon by Sack in the Minneapolis Star Tribune

http://www.startribune.com/opinion/commentaries/281136042.html  Why the election gloom? An editorial by /Washington Post


#GetMoneyOut. http://ow.ly/D21sW  #ncsen