Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle in 2012

As Kermit says, “It’s not easy being green!” But as we all know, it is well worth the effort.

Although my family has come far in the last few years – cloth diapering, less plastic, and buying used – there are many things we can do to “up” our green in the new year. Here’s a few of our goals:


  • This year I plan to reduce our carbon footprint by buying much more of our produce, dairy, and meat locally. Up until now I’ve opted for the ease of purchasing these things at Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s, or New Season, but in the coming year I’m looking forward to supporting our farmer’s market more. We’ve also found a resource for farm-fresh eggs and will be purchasing a share of a grass-fed cow.
  • Over Thanksgiving I used up the last of our plastic saran wrap. I think I have kept this on hand because my mom always has it – interesting concept, right? I haven’t yet replaced it and we seem to be managing just fine without it. Yay! One less waste product going in our garbage can. Glass containers with sealing lids have become the perfect replacement.
  • I like a warm, toasty house as much as the next gal, but my goal is to keep our home at a crisp 65 degrees during the day in the winter and 75 degrees during the summer.


  • As I grocery shop I’ve been trying to purchase products with minimal packaging. This helps me to reduce and if I plan right, reuse. Products that are sold in glass jars have become my new best friend as I can wash and reuse the jar when the original contents are gone. Glass jars and some plastic tubs (like Nancy’s yogurt) are the perfect container for leftovers!
  • Paper products are out of control in our home – toilet paper, paper towels, and napkins are used in abundance and it needs to stop! I am planning to use some of my fabric stash to fashion some extra kitchen towels and cloth napkins. That way, they can be washed and re-used AND I can stop spending money on things we throw away. Plus, who knows, maybe by the end of the year I’ll feel brave enough to give family cloth a go. We already use cloth wipes, so we’re on the right track!


  • Upcycling has become one of my favorite activities as of late, and I plan to continue in the new year. Right now, I’m mostly upcycling with linens and clothes, and I have grand plans for a stained pillowcase to morph into an adorable t-shirt for my daughter.
  • Currently, we set out 1 garbage can and 1 recycling bin each week for city pick-up. My hope is to greatly reduce our amount of garbage. I feel it is a reasonable goal to get our garbage can down to twice/month pick-up.
  • I’m also toying with the idea of taking a Master Recycler class.This course gives you the tools to thoughtfully consume, volunteer at education booths, assist in development home and work waste reduction plans, and create educational resources for the community.

What steps are you taking to become more green in 2012? Share your ideas – I’d love to give them a try this year or next!

About The Author: Gretchen

ThatMamaG My NPN Posts

I am a WAHM mama of two from the Pacific Northwest. I began my career in corporate sales and marketing and am now a freelance writer exploring the joys of attachment parenting while trying to find a reason to wear something other than yoga pants on a daily basis :)

7 Responses to Reduce, Reuse, & Recycle in 2012

  1. Jenn @ Monkey Butt Junction  

    I could have written a lot of these things for 2012 as well – we are doing a lot of the same things. Great tip on the glass containers. I’m going to make an effort to do the same.

    I haven’t heard of the master recycler class but I am toying with the idea of a master composter class as we are definitely dedicating more effort to our compost this year. We’re also going to start raising chickens for eggs. My goal is to reduce our grocery bill by 20% during the summer as we get more food from our garden.

  2. Gretchen  

    Oooo, a master composter class – that sounds fun!

  3. Lauren  

    I didn’t realize there were so many interesting master classes! ๐Ÿ™‚

    We’ve made the step into family cloth, and it’s going fairly well so far. I’d love to cut our paper consumption more as the year continues.

    I also would love to curb our plastic wrap use โ€” we have glass containers, and I have some reusable stretchy lids to go on bowls and plates, but there’s the tricky bit of getting everyone in the family to use themโ€ฆ

    • Gretchen  

      I’m glad I’m not alone, Lauren! Getting everyone on board is easier said than done! We just had a “discussion” over why I stopped using dryer sheets. Apparently there is a static issue with my sweet hubby’s basketball shorts ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. katie  

    cloth napkins, cleaning rags and diapers have saved us a bundle.

  5. lace  

    I need to find a local source for eggs. We had one but they don’t have chickens anymore.

    We’ve started using cloth napkins but not at every meal. I need to get everyone using them more. I need to make some more.