Striped cute reusable cloth napkins for dinner parties, picnics, events #zerowaste #ecofriendly

Eco-friendly home update: Cloth napkins

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Why buy and use cloth napkins in your home or during an event?

If you’re taking small steps to reduce your waste and make your home more eco-friendly, or you just want to take the trash out less often, this post is for you. An easy, inexpensive and painless step is to start using cloth napkins!

WHY USE CLOTH NAPKINS?

Your guests will think you’re being fancy and stylish, but you will know you’re being frugal and a friend to the environment. And, let’s face it, cloth napkins are way more effective at cleaning up spills than their flimsy paper counterparts.

Cloth napkins can be found in so many colors, styles and price points, you can certainly find something that fits with your lifestyle. Get them monogrammed if you want, choose napkins that are simple and timeless, or get them in a fun pattern*.

Another wonderful effect: Give a guest a paper napkin and they might go through several during one visit. But rarely do people need more than one cloth napkin. It’s magic.

I keep a cloth napkin with me in my purse, too. I use it instead of paper napkins at restaurants, as a placement during picnics and as an impromptu container for leftover sandwich halfs or bagels my daughter inevitably doesn’t finish.

Cloth napkins are easy to maintain, too. Just throw them in your hamper and run them with your clothes in your next wash.

HOW TO BUY CLOTH NAPKINS: 

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Here’s the Key to Reducing Your Household or Office Waste

I don’t want to keep things from you, friend. I don’t want you to think that reducing your waste is some pie-in-the-sky ridiculous thing that only people with tons of time on their hands would ever attempt. Anyone – that means you – is capable of cutting down on the trash you produce in your home, office or out there in the world where you … Continue reading Here’s the Key to Reducing Your Household or Office Waste

Are you afraid of being a careful consumer?

I’m not ashamed to say that before I took on a more minimalist lifestyle, I had a fear that having fewer, better things would get boring. I love testing out new products, discovering little shops, trying new things. Could I ever tame my consumerist beast? At one point in my life, I really did think it was easier to just buy a new shirt or new socks … Continue reading Are you afraid of being a careful consumer?

Book List: What to Read if You’re Interested in Zero Waste, Plastic Free Living

I wouldn’t exactly consider myself a zero waste lifestyle expert, even though I’m serving as a kind of example since I publish posts on this blog and share about my life pretty freely on social media. I’m just setting up systems for my family and figuring out the best way to reduce my waste. Of course I’m happy to share my experiences, tips and advice … Continue reading Book List: What to Read if You’re Interested in Zero Waste, Plastic Free Living

Shopping in bulk, zero waste at Costco

Zero Waste at Costco?

I’m going to give away the ending: we cancelled our Costco membership earlier this year. Or, rather, we didn’t renew. My husband and I were big Costco fans – true company loyalists. And now, it just doesn’t fit with how we’re living our life. When you say “shop in bulk” many people think of stores like Costco, Sam’s Club and BJs. And it’s true, you are … Continue reading Zero Waste at Costco?

Two months of living zero waste

Two months down! I’m feeling like we’re really in a good place … to tweak everything. We’ve spent the past few months figuring out the basics, and now we can hone and really put systems (and products/attitudes/schedules) in place to keep this little zero waste family grooving for the longer term.

We weren’t exactly flying by the seat of our pants in January and February, but kind of. (Side note: we’re parents to a toddler so basically every day is just “winging it and hoping it works!”) We go to the supermarket more often than we probably could, and we also tend to bring more bags/containers than we need. Better to be overprepared, for sure, but I don’t like it to feel cumbersome.

First, a note on the trash jar. Yes, I’ve jumped right onto the jar bandwagon made popular by Bea Johnson and Lauren Singer. It’s a standard way of showcasing this lifestyle and I’m happy to be “typical” in this regard. Really happy. The landfill waste we produced in February fits in a f-ing jar. Wha?! I’m so psyched.

Of course, no joke on March 1 my husband got a package in the mail just positively filled with plastic trash… but that’s for next month’s post (and jar) to deal with.

Without further ado, here’s our trash JAR from February!

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Family takes on zero waste challenge for the year ... here's their first month's trash!

One month of living zero waste

First, check out my post one week in to the zero waste challenge. 

Back to the one month checkup… Overall, we’re in a good groove now. We’re still learning, still tweaking, still finding packageless sources for our favorite foods and other items, but we’re in a habit now. It feels normal. We’ve got a routine. It happened fast in some ways. But slow in others.

Slowly over the month we’ve identified the stores where we can (and like to) buy certain items. And where we can’t buy certain things. We’ve figured out a good system for storage and only have a few things on our wishlist – including more glass containers that we can use for freezer meals.

…And something big enough to fit a whole chicken. 😉

Less waste, less garbage, less plastic, less trash, no disposable or single-use items … But no less joy, happiness, delicious food, or time with family and friends.

It’s true that the “set-up” takes some time. Even in the last week of January we found a new local, humane-raised meat source. And we hope to continue to uncover local sources for some of the things we’re currently having a hard time finding packageless, like butter (we’re still using Kerrygold), yogurt and bacon.

And now, because I’m sure you are curious, here’s what our trash can looks like after 31 days.

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When we voluntarily undertake a difficult challenge

I recently came across this article by Miss Minimalist called “The Joy of One” So if you’re not living out of a backpack, why go to such extremes? Why own just One of an item, when you have plenty of room for two, or three, or ten? For the same reasons you might train for a marathon or go on a meditation retreat. When we … Continue reading When we voluntarily undertake a difficult challenge

My family has been living “zero waste” for a week and…

After living this “zero waste” lifestyle for a whole week (though I was sick for 5/7 of it, ugh) … here’s what’s up: Reusable containers to hold bulk ingredients makes mise en place (schmancy culinary term for setting out all your sh*t before you cook it) look really nice. It’s nice to look at and it just makes you feel nice. Some things are more … Continue reading My family has been living “zero waste” for a week and…