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Amy Mather
In our house we are as waste minded as possible, this is actually purely coincidental. A few years ago I got irritated with our local garbage service constantly raising their rates so we got the okay from our landlord and started hauling our own garbage to the dump, on average we go once every other month with two full garbage cans (this is for a family of 6, with one still in diapers!) I know this is more than some, but much less than most. We also recycle like crazy! The incentive of: Recyclables are free to drop off at the dump, is a huge motivator, that and now our average garbage bill is about $17, that's for 2 months of garbage! Besides this we now own a home on a small amount of acreage so we have a compost pile.
We buy all of our beef from a local grower, I know exactly where my children's food is coming from! This may seem like the more costly route since it is obviously higher quality than in the grocery stores, but its not, on average we pay a little over $3 lb for everything, that's $3 for ground burger and $3 for Filet Mignon! What makes it costly, well, we buy in bulk so for our house that's a whole cow at once, so yes, I drop about a grand on beef, but that's just once a year, I have bought beef in a grocery store just once in the last 6 years and it was so foul tasting that it ruined my spaghetti, and I bought the supposedly good stuff! Also, the meat we do not buy we grow, it is a good amount of work, but in our household it's all hands on deck all the time. Also, it does not take a genius to grow meat, you really just have to remember to feed them, we grow chickens for eggs and for meat as well as pork (I've never had such delicious meat as home grown, it actually really makes me wonder what on earth has been done to the food in the grocery stores) We also grow turkeys occasionally.
Every year we also plant a large vegetable garden for our families' own consumption, the harvest from which can be frozen and/or canned, I do both, as well as give a ton away.
The article also talked about patching clothes and learning from our grandparents, this is something I learned as a kid, I suppose our lifestyle now is a reflection or our not so prosperous upbringing. As a kid my mom grew blackberries in our yard and our area is flush with local berry growers, every one I know there first summer job was on a berry farm. I've never bought jam or jelly before, that's something that you take a day to make at the end of summer, literally just one days work will give you enough jelly to give 4 growing boys PB&J sandwiches for an entire school year! Not to mention, jars and rings are reusable, I've also never bought any of those, talk about waste reduction right there!
As a kid my mom also taught me how to sew, no, I'm not some crazy awesome seamstress like she is, but I do have enough skill to sew patches on knees and fix blown out seams, which takes almost no skill at all. And, if all else fails, just cut the jeans off and make them into shorts, you can then reuse the scraps as patches!
One last thing that I can think of worth mentioning, although I know there's so much more, my entire area is quite green-minded and a couple of years ago our closest "big" city put a ban on plastic shopping bags, they still offer them, but in order to deter you from wanting them the stores charge you per bag and every store has reusable bags available for purchase, and they're really cheap. I myself have upwards of a dozen reusable bags that are in my car at all times (and I reuse old plastic grocery bags as well.)

Honestly, I may be more ambitious than some, well, maybe many, but in today's economy nothing is getting any cheaper and my efforts at reducing the overall cost of my family has had a domino effect of being less wasteful and being far more green, both consequences to my actions that I am more than willing to accept.
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les compostes...
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Jill Krol

I shred all paper that isn't shiny and then use it in my guinea pig cage. Then it goes in the compost pile for the worms to eat. I prefer toilet paper with the cardboard rolls - it just seems more sanitary to me, but those empty rolls are kept for many uses. Gave a bunch to a gal creating a Harry Potter themed Halloween party, gave a bunch to a school art program, another class was creating a marble run with them, and I use them sliced open around the bases of new plant starts in the garden. At the holidays, I packed little gifts in them and wrapped them to disguise what the gifts were! Metal objects are given to friend who creates works of art with them. We definitely reuse, re-gift, recycle! I was the weird one using canvas shopping bags long before it was popular. Instead of throwing out that old sofa, refurbish the cushions and reupholster it. When my old sofa was going to be too big for the new space, I had it cut in half and put the "cut off arm" back on the end of the shorter couch. It's now a chair and a half size.


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