Stemming from 7 by Jen Hatmaker (and ALL the posts I’ve done about that and simplification), I have been in a (somewhat) constant state of refocusing, reorganizing, goal-setting, minimizing and heart-checking
What are God’s commands to me as His daughter, a wife, a mother, and a friend?
What are my priorities and what should they be?
Why do I do the things I do? Out of convenience? Because of laziness? Out of ignorance? Out of necessity?
These are obviously huge questions and to some degree they vary for each person, (though for the first one, God is pretty clear on the basics of those areas and how we are to be obedient in general – and for each of us, He has developed unique bents that we further must submit to Him in obedience), however, I want to deal with one small (or enormous) part of these questions (and coincidently, a chapter in 7).
I am increasingly aware of how much waste I create. (are you?!)
From throwing my grocery list in the trash bag in my car instead of throwing it in the recycling, to switching to cloth diapers 9 months ago – there is SO much we can each do to eliminate waste in our lives, homes, and habits
Switching to cloth diapers was for many, probably common, reasons. We desire to spend our money well and wisely, our kids have CRAZY sensitive skin and are prone to rashes and eczema, and it is better for our environment. What surprised me the most was the AMOUNT OF TRASH we no longer had! Now, our kids both wear diapers for afternoon naps and bed, but a couple of diapers per day vs a couple of dozen makes quite a difference. And even though it took me a couple years to figure it out (thank you for your patience, Brittany and Kim), it really was not that big of deal to switch! (Curious about trying this?! Ask me about it!)
The grocery list recycling bit – that can seem tedious and inconsequential, right?! I thought so too. Until I realize how many receipts, lists, junk mail, old colored pages/cards/torn up construction paper, etc. our house generates each week and I see that I can contribute to the reduction of trash and reuse of products through recycling!
Another kind of ‘waste’ reduction I’ve been paying attention to is JUNK MAIL AND EMAIL. Did you know you can sign up online to get rid of junk mail being sent to your house?! Unfortunately, I do not remember the exact website we used (but just google something and you’ll find one!), but about 2 years ago I signed up online to get rid of junk mail and within a few weeks our mail was decreased by over half! I will also open particular junk mail, find the contact info and call to be removed from their list. This saves a time waster for the Post Office and a tree-saver technique to help the environment overall (the time used to stop this junk mail will quickly be made up!). You can do the same thing with ALL THOSE MARKETING EMAILS that we’ve accidentely signed up for. At the bottom of each email will be an ‘unsubscribe’ option. Follow it and be amazed that your inbox will only be full of the meaningful messages you WANT to spend time reading 🙂
Now, the latest issue that has been plaguing me is public restroom paper towel waste. How many times do you see the trash can FULL of half or UNUSED paper towel in a public restroom? And how many of those restrooms have the air hand dryers, anyways?! Yes, it will double your time in drying your hands and returning to your loved one(s) waiting for you on the other side of the door. But how much time is that, really? Like an entire 60 more seconds? I think we can handle that!
So while this post seems like it’s my soapbox (and maybe it is – where’d that saying come from anyways?!), I really just want to get on with a good old fashioned CHALLENGE to use less paper towel in public restrooms and always choose the hand dryers if they’re available! Who’s with me?! (Late Night Bible Study Girls: here’s your shout-out to shake your hands 12 times before using the single paper towel that will then be needed to finish drying!!!!)
And what other simple ways have you learned to eliminate waste that you can share with us?!?!