Sep 25, 2017

Reduce Your Plastic: Part 4 - Holidays, Garden, General Tips


My friend Rosie at Green and Rosie Life posted 100 ways to reduce plastic and how she was doing with it. I thought I would do the same. These tips are the next 25 or so of her list and cover a variety of topics. Don't forget to check out the first post in this series that covers food, drink and shopping, the second which covers going out and about, babies and children, cleaning and personal care items, or the third about clothing, household, work and pets.   

Leave a comment about how many you are doing! Most of the following links are to other posts I have written, but some links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a commission that helps to keep the blog running. Thanks for supporting Skip The Bag!


Gift Givings and Holidays Christmas, Easter, birthdays etc


76.  Give service gifts such as a free baby sitting night, evening at the theatre, a meal out, sponsor a child or support a wildlife/environmental charity 


I think experience gifts are the best sort of gifts! Don't forget to check out my post on zero waste gift ideas

77.  Wrap gifts without sellotape - use raffia or string and get creative.


This is one area I'd like to get better about. There is even paper tape, which could be a great alternative. 


78.  Make decorations from natural materials


I do this particularly for Halloween and fall! It's so easy to have some branches and/or leaves.



79.  Make plastic free gifts such as preserves and handmade clothes/accessories


Homemade gifts are always nice. Check out my Pinterest collection of Zero Waste Gift Ideas for more inspiration.

80.  Send e-cards


I'm not in the habit of this. I think that this is a great option for certain people or events however. 

81.  At parties ask guests to bring their own cutlery and crockery rather than supplying plastic throw away ones


When we have a party it's usually a potluck of such or just appetizers. I try to get appetizers that you can just eat by hand so we don't have to use silverware at all. With meals that's a little more difficult. I've never had anyone bring their own silverware or anything, but that's because we have WAY more than we needed for a family of two!

82.  Make your own chocolate gifts at Easter to avoid all that plastic


What a great idea! I'd love to make my own treats for Easter. 

83.  Avoid buying online where products are often sent with lots of plastic wrapping


Ugh, I struggle with this. Online shopping is convenient and I'm able to get items that I can't get locally. However, I hate all the plastic wrapping that can come with it. 


84.  Grow your own flowers/pot plants as gifts 


This is a great idea. We would give plants as gifts in lieu of cut flowers for holidays such as Mother's Day.




In the garden


85.  Use terracotta or biodegradable plant pots


We mostly plant in the ground so we have very few pots. However I should buy terracotta pots to replace our two large herb pots. For seedlings I reuse the plastic ones we bought, or use plastic containers. 


86.  Re-purpose plastic fruit/veg trays as seed trays 


Yep! I do this.


87.  Re-purpose yoghurt pots as seedling pots


Absolutely! You can see a photo here of the ones I was using (link)


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88.  Use plastic bottles to help direct water to the roots tomato plants etc - details here: water-wise tomatoes 


We use a standard sprinkler. I'm sure it wastes some water, but with a timer it's easy breezy.

89.  Use polystyrene as crocks in your plant pots 


Again, we don't use pots much, and I don't use crocks. I don't know that I'd use polystyrene anyway. 


89.  Make your own labels from plastic bottles or buy those made from natural materials


We don't really label things in the garden, even for seedlings...which has led to some interesting discoveries! But someone recommended using old window blinds. A single blind can lead to many labels. 


Pin for Later!


In Summary


For the foreseeable future plastic is going to be part of our everyday lives but we can take steps to reduce how much we use which can be summarized thus:


90.  Get into the habit of seeing where plastic exists is the first step to reducing how much of it you have in your life

I would recommend doing a trash audit to find out what is contributing to your trash and waste. 


91.  Think before you buy and switch to non plastic alternatives where possible - silicone is a safer option 


If you are looking for some places to get started here is a list of 5 easy ways to use less plastic and 5 simple plastic-free swaps for the bathroom


92.  Re-use the plastic you do have as much as you can


Yes, reusing is important, but so are things like precycling. Which I didn't even know about prior to starting this journey. 


93.  Upcycle plastic into new things


I'm always on the look out for great ways to upcycle products. I've made some upcycles, but nothing specifically from plastic that I've written about on the blog. Some I have written about are DIY washer necklaces, Rolodex Calendar, and Christmas Card Wreath


94.  Ask yourself "Do I really need to buy this plastic product?"


You should always ask yourself this whether it is plastic or not! Of course, I tend toward minimalism. 


95.  Write to manufacturers to say you are boycotting their plastic based products or packaging 


I haven't really done this. I have tagged a company on twitter before, but this really is an important step. If companies don't know people are unhappy with their products they don't know to make the changes. 


96.  If you must buy plastic then look for second hand rather than new


I love buying "pre-loved" items. That's one of my tips for an environmentally friendly closet




97.  Work towards eliminating single use plastic in your life


Absolutely! 5 easy ways to use less plastic will help cover a lot! How do we compare?

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98.  If you have to buy a plastic item (not something in plastic packaging) make it the best quality possible to ensure it lasts as long as possible

This is a great thing to keep in mind! 


99. If you follow the 4 Rs you will help reduce your plastic use - reduce, re-use, repair and recycle (the first 3 being the most important) 


I've actually found 7 R's of Zero Waste! They all have their time and place, but refusing and reducing are important aspects.


100.   Finally and perhaps most important of all we need a fifth R - Raising awareness.  When people are aware of a problem they are much better placed to find a solution so please, share this post and let's help everyone to reduce their plastic habit!


I guess there really should be 8 R's! Raising awareness is why I started Skip The Bag in the first place. 

I've enjoyed seeing how far I've come with reducing waste and plastic and taken notes of some areas I still can improve upon. Don't forget to check out Part 1: Food, Drink and Shopping; Part 2: Cleaning, Babies, and Personal Care; and Part 3: Clothes, Work, Home and Pets







Aug 28, 2017

Reduce Your Waste: Part 3- Clothes, Around the House, At Work, Pets

Reduce Your Plastic, Clothes, around the house, at work, and pets

My friend Rosie at Green and Rosie Life posted 100 ways to reduce plastic and how she was doing with it. I thought I would do the same. These tips are the next 25 or so of her list and cover a variety of topics. Don't forget to check out the first post in this series that covers food, drink and shopping or the second which covers going out and about, babies and children, cleaning and personal care items.  

Leave a comment about how many you are doing! Most links are to other posts I have written. Some links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a commission that helps to keep the blog running. Thanks for supporting Skip The Bag!



Clothes


53.  Avoid clothes and shoes made from synthetic materials

Absolutely. That is one of the 10 tips for an environmentally friendly closet!

54.  Make your own clothes using old materiel when you can or upcycling old clothes to new 

I haven't made my own clothes or upcycled them yet, but they are so cute! People are really creative and clever.

55.  Buy second hand clothes that have minimal plastic packaging

I love buying clothes from thrift stores or consignment stores. It's another one of the 10 tips for an environmentally friendly closet.




Around the house


56.  Use glass, metal or wooden storage containers

Yes, I love my Pyrex and Anchor containers. I don't have metal or wooden ones yet, but these look intriguing!


57.  Use wooden or metal cooking utensils 

A large number of our cooking utensils are metal. We got them from a restaurant supply store, but you can get spatulas or spoons from just about anywhere. Metal is great for cast iron! Read how to clean and care for cast iron


58.  Do you really need to bag it before you bin it?

This could be in reference to a number of bags in the trash can. For example, do you need to throw it in a bag before putting it into your trash can? I think of people who bag up a chicken carcass prior to putting it in the trash. Maybe you don't need to do that. Or maybe it's referring to a trash liner at all. We don't use a trash bag for our recycling. In fact, our trash cans have a removable liner that we can just take out and wash it if it gets dirty. We still use a bag for our trash, but since we compost most of our food scraps and recycle a large part of our trash. Other people use newspaper liners, but we still have a bunch of plastic trash bags we use up. 

59.  If it's broken can you mend it? 

Yep, thankfully Hubby is really handy. 

60.  Say no to junk mail

This is still on my to-do list. It drives me crazy, thankfully most of it is recyclable. 

61.  Download music and films instead of buying CDs and DVDs

We use Amazon Prime (try it free for 30 days), Netflix or Red Box for most of our movies. I tend to listen to the radio or podcasts over buying CDs. (Do you have a favorite podcast?)

62.  Use matches not a disposable lighter

Hmm, I hadn't really thought about this. We don't really need to start a lot of fires. In general you think the sturdier item will be more environmentally friendly than the item you use once and throw away. However with lighters it's not really true. Matches are from the earth and will burn and join the earth, but the lighters take a ton of resources to make and you can't refill them. So a double loss. I'll be making sure we get matches from here on out! 

63.  When doing DIY and house renovations go for natural products - wooden door frames, cotton curtains etc 

Yes, you don't have to build a new house to take advantage of incorporating environmentally friendly products into your house. The cotton curtains seem like such a no-brainer, but I probably wouldn't have thought to check! I can't say I've purchased a whole lot of curtains in my life though.


64.  Use old sheets as dust covers not new plastic ones

I don't use dust covers. We do have a fabric tarp thing that we lay out when we do paint projects.


65.  Wash and reuse plastic freezer bags.

I do this some, but I'm not 100% consistent about it. I'm working to phase out freezer bags altogether.

Don't forget to pin for later!
Ideas to reduce your plastic from clothing, around the house, at work and with pets.


At work



66.  Take in your own mug for water and drinks from the machines. 

I bring my own water bottle to work. Don't forget to check out my article on ways to go green at work.


67.  Use all paper jiffy bags, not those with plastic inside 

I have a reusable lunch bag that I use and then I use my glass containers to bring food for lunch. Bringing my lunch to work was done of my green resolutions

68.  Buy envelopes without plastic windows.

I haven't bought envelopes in a while, but I'm pretty sure the ones I have don't have plastic windows.This is a simple way to use less plastic. This would have been a great addition to my ways to go green at work it's got tons of great tips for any workplace setting, but an office in particular! 

69.  Go for paperless billing to avoid plastic window envelopes 

Absolutely! I'd also add that this reduces on transportation pollution of bills and the price of stamps! Win, win, win.

70.  Buy a "real" pen that uses a refill

I know a lot of zero wasters have gone this route. I'm not quite there on my journey yet.

71.  Do not upgrade to a new phone etc.  You were quite happy with your old one when you first got it!

Thankfully neither Hubby or I are that into technology, we pretty much just replace things as they need it, which is still too often in my opinion! 



Pets


72.  Say no to plastic pet toys 

We have a few, but in general I go for stuffed animals or ropes (these look amazing!).

73.  Avoid plastic feed bowls 

We have metal bowls.


74.  Avoid pet food in plastic sachets 

We haven't found a bag free alternative for our pets or the chickens

75.  Make your own pet treats 

We've yet to be able to make rawhide or meal worms, so we still purchase these. I've heard you can grow meal worms though!


This week definitely had some ideas I hadn't really thought of such as using matches and making sure the envelopes I buy are all paper and don't have a plastic window. Don't forget to check out Part 1: Food, Drink and Shopping and Part 2: Cleaning, Babies, and Personal Care 







Aug 14, 2017

Reduce Your Plastic: Part 2- Going Out and About, Babies and Children, Cleaning and Personal Care Items

Reduce Your Plastic Part 2. Tips for while out and about, having babies and children, cleaning and personal care.

My friend Rosie at Green and Rosie Life posted 100 ways to reduce plastic and how she was doing with it. I thought I would do the same. These tips are the next 25 or so of her list and cover a variety of topics. Don't forget to check out the first post in this series that covers food, drink and shopping

Leave a comment about how many you are doing! Most links are to other posts I have written. Some links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a commission that helps to keep the blog running. Thanks for supporting Skip The Bag!

Out and About 


25.  Say no to plastic straws in food outlets

I love carrying my zero waste silverware kit! It helps me avoid straws and plastic utensils. There are a number of different kinds of straws that aren't made from plastic. You can get metal, bamboo, glass and even paper. Check out this article about National Drinking Straw Day to read more about these alternatives.

26.  Say no to plastic bags in all shops, not just supermarkets 

Absolutely! This blog isn't called Skip The Bag for no reason. I always carry a reusable bag in my purse and I've been able to refuse bags all over town even at hardware stores and clothing stores.

27. If you find somewhere that doesn't use plastic throw away cutlery, tell the world about it via your social media. 

I love this idea! I haven't done this yet, but I love the idea of praising restaurants that are doing their part (rather than shaming those who aren't).


28.  Say no to "cardboard" coffee cups - they are lined with polyethylene aka plastic.  Take your own mug instead. 

This is one I struggle with. Mostly because I so rarely get coffee that it's far harder for me to plan for a maybe once a month occurrence rather than a daily occurrence. Hubby, who drinks coffee daily, carries his own travel mug and he LOVES this one. I've thought about getting one for me, because he loves it so much, but haven't yet.

29.  Take your own wooden chop sticks to your local Chinese restaurant 

I don't think I would have thought about this! Many people have chopsticks included in their Zero Waste Silverware Kit. We have bamboo chopsticks for at home, but I don't regularly use them outside of the house so I haven't added it to my silverware kit. 

30.  Ask for a finger bowl and cloth instead of plastic wrapped wipes in restaurants 

I don't eat many places that have wrapped wipes, but this is a reusable solution to that I hadn't thought of before. 

31.  Don't buy plastic wrapped magazines 

I don't really buy magazines. I have a couple of subscriptions that were gifted to me, but that's about it. 

Don't forget to pin this list for later!

Reduce Your Plastic Part 2. Tips for while out and about, having babies and children, cleaning and personal care.


Babies and Children


32.  Switch from disposable nappies to washable cloth ones 

I will use cloth diapers with any infants I have!

33.  Ditch disposable wipes and use a washable cloth

I love this idea!

34.  Buy glass feeding bottles

Absolutely! Glass is better than plastic.

35.  Buy wooden toys

I love this idea! I'm always on the hunt for great wooden toys for the children in my life. 

36.  For pack lunches avoid plastic wrapped foods and offer sandwiches wrapped in foil or greaseproof paper, a piece of fruit, a home-made snack and a drink in a reusable bottle

Lunchables are a no-go in my house! We make our own sandwiches and put whole fruit for them. Although most schools provide lunch (and breakfast!) so we won't need to do this much.


37.  Pass on unwanted plastic toys to younger children/toy libraries/play groups, etc

It's so crazy to me how people want to just give children toys! Don't they know they already have a houseful?!

Cleaning


38.  Make your own cleaning products with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar ensuring these are bought in cardboard boxes and glass bottles

I buy them in cardboard and glass, but I'm not as consistent about using them as cleaning products as I could be.


39.  Use washing powder sold in cardboard boxes rather than washing liquid
 

I just bought some dish washing powder instead of the liquid in a plastic container. I'm excited that I have reduced a source of plastic in our house.

40.  Use soap nuts or washing balls instead of washing liquid 

I'm not here yet. I'd consider going back to powder, but I have an HE wash and it didn't work as well. Although this is a new washer so it may work better. 


41.  You don't need wipes - use a washable cloth

I do this, in fact I use dishcloths my grandmother kitted as my face cloth. 

42.  Use dishwasher tabs in biodegradable film 

This is probably the first one I disagree with. I don't think people should use dishwasher tabs at all. Ok, that's a little strong. I guess I should say: I think there are better alternatives to wash your dishes than dishwasher tabs, even if the film is biodegradable.

Personal Care


43.  Ditch disposable razors for a metal safety razor or go hirsute

I love my safety razor. Check out my articles all about safety razors and how to use a safety razor and not get cut. It's seriously easy to use and I wonder why I didn't switch over years ago.

44.  Use a bar of soap not liquid soap in a plastic bottle 

Yep, this is one of my 5 simple plastic-free swaps for the bathroom that I've done.

45.  Use shampoo bars 

I am loving my shampoo bars. If you are considering them check out the ones I use and my review of using a shampoo bar that includes tips of how to use them. 

46.  Stop using shower gels that contain micro beads - these are made from polyethylene i.e. plastic 

I never used a lot of these, but I have completely eliminated them. 

47.  Buy wooden handled tooth brushes 

Yes! Another simple swap and I have been loving my bamboo toothbrushes


48.  Buy a wooden handled hairbrush 

When I need a new hairbrush I'll buy this.


49.  Use washable menstrual products

I have a cup, but haven't really got to try it out yet.

50.  Make your own remedies for minor ailments e.g. elderberry port for sore throats stored in a glass bottle 

This isn't really my style. I work in health care, so I'm particular about what I use for ailments.

51.  Use a handkerchief not plastic wrapped tissues

I don't do this, but we rarely use tissues. We maybe to go through a box a year. 


52.  Give up smoking!

Thankfully I've never done this!

This week there was more of a grab bag of items, but I'm happy to see I've been doing most of these things. Especially since so much of it focused on personal care and swaps in the bathroom. Don't forget to check out these more advanced swaps!


Aug 7, 2017

Reduce Your Plastic: Part 1 - Food, Drink, Shopping




My friend Rosie at Green and Rosie Life posted 100 ways to reduce plastic and how she was doing with it. I thought I would do the same. I'm going to break it down so this week we are going to cover food, drink and shopping. There are a total of 24 tips in this section. Leave a comment about how many you are doing! Most links are to other posts I have written. Some links are affiliate links to Amazon. If you click the link and make a purchase I may receive a commission that helps to keep the blog running. Thanks for supporting Skip The Bag!


Food, Drink, and Shopping


1.  Buy food from bulk bins that use paper bags


This was one of my Green Resolutions. I was doing great during the 1st quarter update, but I haven't done a midpoint because I am failing at this one part. We have one store that has bulk food locally and it's unfortunately not the one that I go to often. I still want to go, but I think I'm in the contemplation stage and need to just do it!

2. Store loose food in glass jars - mason or kilner jars


I do this! Especially if it is a food I buy in bulk. I take the jars with me. You can read my bulk buying tips, which make it very easy.

3. Say no to fizzy drinks and water in plastic bottles


I rarely drink soda. I have started a small habit of drinking carbonated flavored water out of cans, which I'm trying to break. In fact I want Hubby to rig up our own carbonated water dispenser. I do try to avoid plastic bottles as much as possible especially for water! I have my own water bottle that I usually carry around. 

4.  Squeeze your own fruit juice


We aren't big juice drinkers. Honestly most of the time we use juice its for mixing in cocktails. I've taken to buying lemon and lime juice in glass jars (which are always organic and cost more!). Although we just planted lemon and lime tree so we will likely be doing this less often. Pineapple juice comes in a can. I try to buy plastic over tetrapaks as the plastic can be recycled. (Yes, tetrapaks can be recycled, but only in certain locations and none of them are by me, so in this instance plastic is the better choice.)

5.  Make your own coleslaw and other salads 


We could do better at this. Ideally we would grow our own lettuce and cabbage, but unfortunately we haven't had much luck. We have tried to make our own sauerkraut, and love making coleslaw from cabbage and poppyseed dressing, but generally at least one of the steps uses plastic. This last time I went to the store I wanted to get plastic free lettuce, but they did not have any if you can believe that! But our tomatoes are going gangbusters and our peppers are holding their own. So we have some of the components, bust not all of them. 


6.  Buy loose fruit/veg not those that are pre-packed in plastic bags or trays


I try! But honestly it is a challenge. I'm not sure why it became a norm to group a couple veggies together and place on Styrofoam and wrap with plastic wrap. Have we become so lazy that even picking out 3 or 4 squash is too much for us?

7.  You don't need to place a single fruit or veg you buy in a bag at all 


Absolutely! And you can use your own produce bags and use as many bags as you want!

8.  Avoid ready meals


We do pretty well preparing our own food, but there still are some conveniences. 


9.  Eat less take-aways


It seems like they always come in Styrofoam. We don't get much food to-go, we generally would dine st the restaurant. So for us leftovers is the spot where we could cut down on Styrofoam and plastic containers.


10.  Make your own ketchup/mayonnaise etc or buy these in glass bottles


We buy in glass and have made our own in the past. I think technically it was aioli, but either way it was yummy. We may have to try it more regularly.

11.  Stop chewing gum


 I chew gun about once a year or so. I can't remember the last pack I purchased. So this is such a rare imevent. However I didn't know it was made with plastic!

12.  Grow some of your own food


We love having our garden. We aren't really replacing a significant portion of our food supply yet, but we haven't had to buy tomatoes, bell peppers, or basil for a while! 


13.  Shop at farmers' markets and take your own non plastic bags 


I love our local farmers market. I've heard there is another one in the next city over, but I haven't made it over there yet. But they are great and you can use your own produce bags and reusable bags.

14. Use local shops (butcher, baker etc) who will allow you to take your own non plastic bags


I am on the hunt for places that has all of this. I went to a local butcher shop, but it had all of its meat in Styrofoam and wrapped in plastic. So that was a bust. I was able to find unwrapped bread at four winds so that was exciting, but I don't regularly shop there.

Enjoying this list? Don't forget to pin it for later!
Continue reading below.
Reduce Your Plastic. 24 Tips to reduce plastic while shopping for food and drinks and meal prep.


15.  Use a milk man


I'm not a huge milk drinker. I haven't found, or sought out a milk man. However I guess they do sell milk at the weekly farmer's market. So I suppose that could be considered a modern day milk man equivalent. I did find out that our local grocery store that sold milk in a glass container with a deposit.


16.  Buy an ice cream cone rather than  plastic wrapped ice cream


I am ashamed to say that I used to always get ice cream in a cup because it was fewer calories.  All those plastic spoons are haunting me. Now that I carry around my own silverware kit, I suppose I would eliminate the plastic spoon and only have to worry about the bowl. 

17.  Make your own yogurt


I have wanted to try this, but haven't. I also rarely eat yogurt so that is probably one reason why.

18.  Make your own snack bars, cakes and biscuits 


I don't eat a ton of snacks like this, so that's how I reduce the amount of waste created from these items. However I see that in the future that might change, so I should start making more of these.


19.  Avoid multi-packs with products wrapped in plastic film or cans with ring holders


I try! Unfortunately shopping at places like Sam's Club makes this difficult. 

20.  If you must buy something in plastic buy the biggest size possible which contains proportionally less plastic per kg/litre of product.


I generally try to do this when it makes sense and the item will not spoil before it can all be eaten.

21.  Buy wine with real corks, not plastic


Now this is a suggestion I can get behind! Let's all buy wine. If it has glass and cork, it's zero waste and natural. Besides there are tons of crafts you can do with the girls too.

22.  Buy refills which use less plastic packaging than new products 


I'm not entirely sure what this is referencing. Especially in terms of food. I can see show getting larger bottles to refill the small bottles of items like soap would save on plastic. But condiments are about the only food product I could see refilling and I'm not sure that would save on plastic waste. 

23.  Do not use coffee pods


Thankfully I don't like coffee so this isn't a huge draw. Although I know they have items like hot chocolate and tea too.

24.  Do not buy individually plastic wrapped tea bags


I'm also not a huge tea drinker, but my preference, of course, would be to avoid plastic in my tea bags. Loose tea is definitely the way to go. My sister in law got me an awesome mug for making loose tea that I love.

Phew! What a great list. I'm happy to say that I'm doing more of these than I'm not doing. 

Ready to start tackling the bathroom? Here are my 5 simple plastic free swaps for the bathroom.


5 Simple Plastic Free Swaps For The Bathroom

Jul 31, 2017

Going green in the office

How to Go Green At Work

One of the area that has been hardest for me to "green" is my workplace. I work in healthcare so there is a lot of inherent waste and plastic use to help keep patients healthy and alive. I've made peace with that. Its a little hard to reconcile freaking out over a straw versus trashing a liter of fluid because the medication expired, but there aren't great alternatives for IV fluids, but there are great plastic free alternatives to straws (which you can read about here).

Anyway, my job has transitioned to more of an office job so there are great tips for that, but hopefully there will be some tips for everyone.

So what have I done to green my office?

I don't have a trash can. 

Now this isn't to say I don't ever throw away things, but I just don't have a trash can in my office. Our custodians line the trash cans with plastic bags and then come in on a daily basis to change the liner. The would empty it even if it only had one thing in it. I work in an office that has one entryway and 4 offices. Each person has their own under desk trash AND the entryway has a huge thigh high trash can. I decided that I didn't need a trash can in my office. If I needed to throw something away I could walk the 5 steps to the entryway trash. The extra steps are good for me anyway.

I print double sided. 

I try to limit what I print as much as possible, but there are reports and documents we just need to have hard copies of. So, I try to print double sided. If it's something that's just for me to read, like an article, I'll print it double sided and two per page. 4 pages on one sheet!

I save single sided sheets. 

Any paper I run across through the course of a day that doesn't have patient information on it and is only printed on one side gets saved. Right now I have a huge stack that I can print on. For a while I was printing double sided when it was more than 2 pages long, but now I realize that is still using "fresh" paper, so I'm trying to use salvaged paper and print on the back. I would be better about this, but the printer I use isn't my own. It's in the entryway office so anyone can print to it. People who are printing formal reports may not like the fact their report now has someone else's information on the back of it! So, since I have to remember to swap it out before I hit print, sometimes I forget. When I do, though I save it so I can print on the back of it later. 

I cut papers up to turn into a notepad. 

I take little notes all throughout the day. Before I started this zero waste journey I would use post-it notes. I realized that most of the time I didn't need to "post" it anywhere so that sticky side was just an added cost. So remember all of that single sided printed paper I had? I turned it into a notepad. I would cut the papers in half lengthwise for a long list or quarter the paper for shorter lists. I would just keep them paper clipped in the corner and they were available to me when I needed handy notes. This worked great for a while, but I've since moved to another method that saves even more paper.

I use a dry erase board. 

I realized that most of my notes were things that I only needed for a few minutes or hours: A phone number while listening to messages, a quick to-do list that I would accomplish that day. So I decided to buy a dry erase board for notes like that. I purchased one that was a little bit smaller than an 8.5 x 11 piece of paper. It is awesome and in so glad it has been introduced to my work flow. The top half usually has my to do list or other projects while the bottom is open and can be used to scribble temporary notes. One of the advantages is that patient information can just be erased rather than go to the shred bin.

Want to remember these for later? Don't forget to Pin it!

More tips below.

Ways to be environmentally friendly at work and make your office more green. Tips to reduce paper waste, lunches and office potlucks.

I use paperclips. 

I feel paperclips have several advantages over staples (and one disadvantage). First paperclips are designed to be reusable. They will keep paperwork together and then when you no longer need it you can just take it off and keep it for your next project. Ever try to reuse a staple? Next, paperclips do not alter the page. I hate it when the information I need it stapled to the street in front of it. Or it's damaged so I can't read it due to the staple placement. The biggest negative is that paperclips can move or get displaced, so there is a small risk of your stack coming apart. Binder clips are a better option if this is a concern and binder clips come in all sorts of sizes and colors.

Recycle paper. 

The one area I'd like to improve is recycling. I was happy to hear that the paper that goes into the shred bin is recycled. I wasn't sure what the best course of action is with paper that didn't have patient information on it. I wasn't quite ready to be carting home reams of paper to recycle, but now that I know it is recycled I'm going to make sure all paper goes in there. Next, I'm going to talk to the purchaser of our paper products and see if we are buying paper made from recycled paper. That way I know we are doing the best we can. 

Enough with the paperwork, hopefully your job deals with with less paper then mine and there are still ways to be more environmentally friendly.

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Turn off your computer.

Someone tipped me to this several months ago and I've been doing it ever since. I just hit "shut down" as I was leaving for the night rather than "log off". Then in the morning I'd hit the power button and have to wait less than a minute longer for it to turn on. I started by just shutting it down for the weekend, but quickly realized that it was easy enough to just turn off every night. Unfortunately about 3 weeks ago they swapped out my laptop at work and I've been noticing that it is on when I come into work. I keep forgetting to be patient and investigate if it is an issue with the computer not shutting down all the way at night. I usually hit the shut down button, turn off the light, and race out of the office. I spoke with a guy at IT and he thought it might be that the IT department may be forcing it to wake up during the night for updates. But hopefully this tip will work for you. Let's pretend you are only at work for 40 hours (funny, I know), but that means there are 128 hours a week you aren't at work and your computer doesn't need to be on. If everyone would turn off their computer when they leave for the night it would save a ton of power.

Bring your lunch to work.

I try to bring mine at least half of the time. But unfortunately that still means I eat food from the cafeteria half the time. My cafeteria serve food in Styrofoam to go containers and plastic silverware. It drives me crazy and most of the reason why I made taking my lunch to work a green resolution.

Keep silverware at work.

Having silverware at work, (as silverware kit), allows me to avoid even more plastic cutlery . One time I had forgot my silverware kit in the office and I was being lazy and didn't want to walk back. I asked the cafeteria worker if they had any metal silverware and they did! So it never hurts to ask. 

Stock up the kitchen with reusables.

Does your job have a kitchen area? Stock plates, mugs and silverware for when there are birthdays and potlucks. It will reduce disposable items that are used. We also make sure that we have a scrub brush and dish soap available to wash.Get thrift store mugs to keep instead of buying coffee with disposable cups.

How do you keep green while at work?

Looking to make an impact in the bathroom? Have you tackled these 5 simple plastic free swaps?