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Just Use Less!

 
pollinator
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This thread is asking for practical ideas in which we can all "use less" and still be comfortable and content.
What exactly does "use less" mean? Use less can mean many things, such as:
1. Using less of an item by using it sparingly.
2. Use less resources by reusing items indefinitely, bottles and cans come to mind.
3. Purchasing items that have extremely long lifespans (durable goods).
4. Purchasing used items that have lasted for generations, think antiques such as tools and furniture.
5. Acquire skills to use durable goods and antique items, thereby creating your own homestead accoutrements.
6. Consider the manufacturing process, energy upkeep, lifespan and disposal impact of any acquisition.
Think about the cumulative environmental impact of everyone on Earth wanting more and more.
Think about how using less is not about being cheap, it is about enriching your life by putting the larger, whole at the top of the priority list.
Last but not least, to use less must be a choice, made by each individual, family and homestead.
If we don't take a step in the "Just Use Less" direction, we may not be able to reverse the current unhealthy State of affairs we find ourselves in.

So there you have it. Is  "Just Use Less" doable?  If so, what are your suggestions?
I've included a photograph of a very durable and energy efficient log splitter.
a-very-durable-and-energy-efficient-log-splitter.jpg
a very durable and energy efficient log splitter
a very durable and energy efficient log splitter
 
pollinator
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I'm a fan of the new "buy nothing" groups that are popping up on Facebook.  The downside: I think that there are a bunch of "takers" on the group.  However, I frequently dumpster dive, and I sometimes find odd things that just need a home.  If I don't want to go to the hassle of trying to sell them for a couple of bucks (mostly for my time investment), I can find community members who want the things.  I've also made new friends in the community this way.  
 
master steward
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I agree with the "Just use less" when it comes to health and beauty products and home care products.

Of course, I also advocate using natural stuff like vinegar and baking soda aka bicarbonate of sodium for the garden and kitchen.
 
steward
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I realize that in tough times, not everyone can afford to buy quality, but we try to do research before buying new things, and much of our furniture was second hand.

The things that were bought new, were bought for long term sturdiness, simplicity so they wouldn't "go out of style" and with an eye for "can it be fixed easily".  For example, my dining room table is over 30 years old and the seats have been recovered once by me. I chose chairs that could be recovered easily. I admit that the chairs could use refinishing at this point, but they're not to the point of urgency and fixing my equally old dolly which I use several times a week to move garbage cans of mulch around, is higher on the priority list!
 
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Myself, I think rating packaging on the amount of time it is in use would be a great start in using less.

Here is an example. When I stop at my local coffee shop and get a coffee, morning sandwich and donut, they put my donut in a separate bag, and my sandwich in another. So I take the donut out of its bag and consume by the time I get a mile down the road. So that bag is only in use for about 30 seconds; the time it takes to put the donut into a bag (I watch them through the window), hand it to me, I take off, and am pulling the donut out of the bag as I am. Literally that whole bag it is in use for 30 seconds. That seems wasteful to me, but the sandwich bag isn't much better. Maybe five minutes from start of service, to end of use.

Now I no longer do that; I eat at work instead, but my point is, what if we rated garbage by the amount of time it was in use? I think we would see how really wasteful we are as a society. We are not just assigning it as waste, we are assigning it a value based on time in use.

Some packaging would thus have more assigned value; like a box of goods shipped from China; that is packaging that was in use for a while. Understandable. A package from Amazon; less so, but still some time in use. But some items, like excess napkins from a fast-food restaurant may never be put into use at all, they are just included because a worker thought you needed all them.

With the collapse of the recyling market, we got to do something. This is just crazy now...
 
Rich Rayburn
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I like Steve's previous post about critically shopping, packaging material!

Other criteria for critically shopping packaging, might be:
Look for natural, minimally processed packaging,
Glass, metal, wood, cloth, paper.

Look especially for glass packaging, it can be reused at home indefinitely. Glass is chemically inert, and a traditional, true recyclable.

ALWAYS bring your own shopping bags, preferably organic cotton, not to just the grocery store, but any store.

As hard as it is, avoid plastic packaging at all cost, if possible.  Most of us probably know that plastic has a high production cost in oil drilling and chemical manufacturing, high toxicity when in use, as plastics continue to leach chemicals into whatever product the package contains (we transfer from plastic to glass immediately), and a high environmental impact when disposed of, wheather burned or put in a landfill.
Even with recycling all plastics eventually end up finding an incinerator or landfill.

The more people that vote with their wallet the more likely it is that industry will begin to change direction.
zero-waste-packaging-and-storage.jpg
zero waste packaging and storage
zero waste packaging and storage
 
Steve Zoma
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I have  a lot heart burn about glass however. While it is forever recyclable without degradation, it comes at a huge price. To get the elevated temps needed to break it down and remold it, takes a huge amount of energy. Maybe in 20 years where we don’t know what to do with all the renewable energy out there it can be put to good use and get glass rendered down, but for now it takes natural gas to lite the burners and as bad bc as paper, wood and plastic is, it’s actually better than glass energy consumption wise.

But I am biased, when I worked in the refuse energy semi-recycling waste, glass was a tough commodity. Called grit, it obliterated our equipment it was so abrasive. But why would it not, it’s sand after all.
 
Rich Rayburn
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Sorry for your heartburn Steve, however glass is still the safest medium for food containers, and if you reuse glass packaging you don't have to worry about recycling it (notice all the reused jars in the picture I posted), also if glass is disposed of it remains inert whereas plastic will contaminate the environment no matter how you dispose of it.

Efficiency isn't just about energy consumption, it's also about factoring in environmental degradation as the true cost of a product.
 
pollinator
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We've moved all our cleaning, laundry, soap product to a place that refills. They use standardized mason jars or paper wrappings. You put a deposit on the jars clean and either return or refill them. The products are awesome, sourced as locally as possible, costs are very comparable to better products and no waste. Love it! There is no money savings but there is also an empty recycling bin.
 
Rich Rayburn
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Dave,
Can you share the name and location of this company? I'm sure others would like to take advantage of this opportunity.
 
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Whenever possible I try to repurpose things, and I truly enjoy browsing through my local thrift stores. I like to see all of the items there that are being bought up by others (and myself) rather than heading off to a landfill or other similar situation. I am sure I can always do more, but using less, to me, starts with not buying textiles and household items or furniture new when possible - not to mention some of the finds are a ton of fun!
 
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I think it would be great if there was an incentive program where anything taken out of the waste stream and repurposed would receive points.
Every item could receive a point and certain points for weight (for heavy items). But it's best to not put more waste into the stream.
I have this vision of being in contests where people wash dishes and compete to see who used the least water and still came up with clean dishes.
I reuse plastic bags from carrots, bread and other staples instead of using plastic wrap and make sandwich bags that use velcro to close. Haven't used a clothes dryer in years, much prefer hanging clothes on the rack and I buy everything second hand. It's probably better too that all the chemicals have been washed out of second-hand clothes. That's one good thing about being broke - it really gets those creative juices going to figure out how to repurpose everything.
 
pollinator
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My wife and I have gotten to where our garbage is very minimal.  A small bag every week.  My recycle bags only have a few plastic containers we don't reuse, (maple syrup containers) and cat food cans.  I only go to the recycle center a couple times a year.
All of the glass containers are reused and larger plastic containers, (I have an M&M addiction) are reused in many ways.
My daughter and 2 grandkids live with us, (I have a complete apartment with walkout basement for them) and they manage 2 trash cans a week.  One of my sons and his family built an off grid cabin on our property and fill one trash can a week minimum.
I am working with them on cutting down, but it is a life style change and they are slowly coming around.
 
gardener
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If you haven’t done this yet, go through your own trash to see what you are throwing away.  Take the time to think about how those items came in to your possession, and consider how to do it differently next time.

In addition to quality of food, I love using my home canned food because I bypass trash !

When I sold cheese, it was in a canning jar.  When I sold milk, when I sold honey… all of it was in canning jars.

And that’s one of the great things about buying at yard sales and thrift stores, no packaging!

It’s been my experience that over time, the more I pay attention, the less trash becomes my responsibility to dispose of.

If you don’t already have a set, consider getting a bamboo cutlery set that you have with you wherever you go, no need to use the disposables.  Even the compostables required raw materials and energy to produce….

I think eventually, we will need the refuse industry to switch from lower (per pound or barrel) prices for those who throw away most.

I know of one community that has “pay as you throw” refuse pricing.  Kind of like a flat rate tax… the more you throw away, the more you pay.

It’s an idea to start preparing the way for.
 
pollinator
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A few humble things I've done to "just use less":
- Set a rule: Each trip in the vehicle (F150, a full size pickup) must visit a minimum of three chores/shopping destinations.
- installed a quarter-turn shutoff valve at the shower head. Lets me easily save water (rather than having to turn off and then "dial in" the faucet temp every time).
- Reduced my spend on Amazon by 70% since I discovered Offerup. Buy it used, tax-free, and anonymously (ya know, just in case you're working on your zero point energy device and need to keep a low profile), and help another human out, whom you actually meet. Waaay more human-scale.
- Timing doing laundry on sunny days (so I can avoid using electric clothes dryer and instead use clothesline).
 
pollinator
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Today I found out (again) that buying something cheap is only costing more money.
I was in the supermarket close-by (Aldi). I needed only one small thing. But I went through the whole store and saw all shiny new kitchen things they had (only this week!). For about 2 euros I had a small device (packed in a nice cardboard box) to cut vegetables in small strips or spiral. At least that was written on the box, with some photos to show the sliced vegetables.

At home I unpacked it. It looked very plasticky ... To use it I had to open it, I needed my nails to do so and it didn't go easy. When it was open I did not know where exactly I had to put the vegetable in and what to do next. There was no manual and the photo wasn't clear. Then I took the half celeriac I had in the fridge. I cut a part of it to try the little device. No matter how I tried, the small metal blades inside the plastic did not cut the celeriac. Maybe it works with cucumber ... but I want to use it for celeriac and carrot!

So this thing (about 5 cm wide and 10 cm high) will be in a closet, never to be used ... or even in the garbage. I can not bring it back to the store, because I used it :-(
 
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My cat produces more garbage than I do. No joke. My non-recycling is 99% kitty litter and my plastic and metal recycling is mostly cat food cans (and in winter, frozen vegetable plastic bags).

* He doesn't seem to "go" outside and pees 5x a day
* I have a closed cesspit and can't dump kitty litter there due to toxoplasmosis risk to my land, and probably unpumpability by the city sh!t-wagon.
* Dry food (which might come in paper bags) is bad for cats, and despite that he just appeared from the "wild" I think he's a hopeless hunter, but he's still only a "teenager" maybe he will improve. Someday I'll keep poultry and rabbits and then he can eat those instead!
 
pollinator
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Kristy, our cats don't recycle either. We were able to switch to a more natural cat litter. Luckily we have enough property that dog and used kitty litter can be tossed over the hill. Eventually I'll set up a composting area for their offerings.

We reuse feed bags for trash bags. With chickens, dogs, cats and goats we go through a lot of hay/straw. That's composted or used as sheet mulching. The bags, I buy the biggest bags I can, as they make the best trash bags.

Got daughter a stainless steel lunch kit. To avoid plastic bags. We reuse jars and glass as much as we can. I would like to reduce our trash still. For two people, it seems to be almost two bags a week. Growing food is fun, BUT baking is a mystery to me. Perhaps if I baked I could reduce the plastic our bread foods are in.

Great topic!
 
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I no longer allow disposable petroleum based foam items into our home.  All our mattresses, pillows, and sofa cushions have zippered or tied closures so we can refurbish them.  All furniture fillings must be able to be composted and turns out our garden loves them!  Nice to know they are 100% organic and can be mixed into our compost after their useful life is over.

Our dog recently passed away from old age (sniff) and it was somehow comforting to me that I could empty the hemp hulls from his favorite dog bed as the base layer for his grave.  

Years of raising kids makes more garbage but we now have many systems for managing it all.  Separating your garbage into different bins helps.  Any non compostable food items goes in the freezer garbage, yep that's a real thing we have, a small container in the freezer = no garbage smells!

I am looking forward to making a bio digester and using our human waste to compost all our other household waste.















 
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We are rural homesteaders. It happens that our local recycling facility has a contract to supply plastic--any kind, doesn't have to be sorted--so I can recycle plastic unless it's mixed with another material. We throw out probably one garbage bag a month--meaning the bags WalMart gives you, with two milk cartons stuffed with garbage, typically. But occasionally we put a whole full-size garbage bag in the pickup bin. One item is used feed bags that I have used to collect leaves or bring home goat manure, once they fall apart--by then they're too dirty to recycle even if pure plastic. Another is pieces of the "rubber" mats made locally (actually engineered foam, whatever that is), which I use around the perimeters of my gardens to keep down weeds, also use for aisles in the gardens with permanent beds. My young dog likes to tear these up. He also tears up the stuffed toys we give him--I may eventually throw what's left into the pit where I throw diseased vegetation--I throw those mats down there too sometimes. Currently our recycling center takes glass. Good point about how much energy that takes. Yes, reuse is great but eventually you have all the glass containers you can use. I no longer make wine and my husband stopped making beer, so that's most of what gets thrown into recycling, along with broken glass vessels.
 
pollinator
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I've been thinking about the packaging re-use issue for a while, I like the idea, I like glass milk bottles, mason jars, and other bottles and jars... I reuse them quite a lot. Not always for their original/intended purpose, like screws and nails, etc... I like the variety, shape, (honey, salsa, sauce) size, branding (think Coca-Cola, Tabasco,...) and how it makes it easy to identify the contents by silhouette. No, not that brown goo, the other brown goo, in the other mason jar! Molasses? Maple syrup? Honey? Hoisin?
Personal choices are what we have control over, right? We aren't likely to have an effect on Coca-Cola's bottling methods, by buying the glass bottled Coke, shipped up from Mexico... But, they aren't ever going to go back to refillable glass bottles, the glass bottle industry needs single-use bottles to make more profits. Coca-Cola makes more profits using plastic and aluminum, cheaper unit cost, cheaper shipping costs, more product fits on a truck, no haul-back of used bottles... Frito-Lay is unlikely to switch to mason jars for salsa and queso dips... but maybe a small quantity supplier of new lids could make these useful/accessible for home canning?
It would take a big commitment for retailers, say grocery chains, to take on accepting used/reusable packaging and getting it back to manufacturers. It might even take an intermediate "reconditioning" business operation to aggregate, sort, clean, prepare for refilling.
 
Thomas Dean
pollinator
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Sena Kassim wrote:Kristy, our cats don't recycle either. We were able to switch to a more natural cat litter. Luckily we have enough property that dog and used kitty litter can be tossed over the hill. Eventually I'll set up a composting area for their offerings.

We reuse feed bags for trash bags. With chickens, dogs, cats and goats we go through a lot of hay/straw. That's composted or used as sheet mulching. The bags, I buy the biggest bags I can, as they make the best trash bags.

Great topic!



Composting Pet Poop:  Be careful of disease risk!  We have a designated compost bin for our dog waste.  4 pallets and some t-posts to hold in place.  Lots of leaves with the dog waste.  We have no intention of using the compost in the foreseeable future.  We imagine using it underground beneath trees when we plant them, but for now, let it rot.  We have sled-dogs.  There are 8 dogs on the property, and we don't have trash service.  We used to put the waste in the fence-lines around the field... but IF there are parasites in the waste, we were just putting parasite eggs all over the property for all the wild animals (and our own future animals) to be exposed to.  Now it's all in one spot in a secluded spot behind the barn.  We don't have to see, smell, or deal with it.  I know there are wood-based kitty litter products.  Perhaps look into those and composting?  

Re-using feed bags: We re-use our as trash bags as well... in the barn, not the house... but we don't generate enough trash to fill all of the bags we generate!  Luckily our local mill will quietly let us re-use our bags when we get grain ground (it's against posted policy, I think there is some legal issues related to biosecurity that are involved).  I also bag composted cow/chicken/goat manure into the used feed bags when I sell composted fertilizer.  I have a 5 gal bucket with no bottom that I put into the bag, it hold the bag open when I am shoveling compost into it.  I'm always looking for ways to buy less feed in bags.  After I use up all the old corn in our grain bins (10+ years old, LOL), I hope to patch up an old gravity wagon and buy corn right out of the combine from the farmer who leases land from my father-in-law, maybe do the same thing with small grains - barley, oats, wheat.  And I currently get food waste from several sources as livestock food (and that actually comes with SO MUCH more trash than my family generates otherwise... but I'm pulling so much material out of the waste stream that I consider that a win)
 
David Baillie
pollinator
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Rich Rayburn wrote:Dave,
Can you share the name and location of this company? I'm sure others would like to take advantage of this opportunity.


gladly!
We live in southern ontario and the company is based in Kingston and Harlowe Ontario. They are callled Harlowe Green https://harlowegreen.com/pages/about-us
They really walk the walk.
 
Anne Miller
master steward
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denise ward wrote:Haven't used a clothes dryer in years, much prefer hanging clothes



I use my dryer for storage.

After hanging the clothes outside so the sun can give them that clean fresh smell ...

I fold my sheets as I take them off the line and put them in the dryer for storage.

The dryer is closer to the bedroom so it makes storing them there very handy.

Another handy tip:  I take the clothes off the line in order of where they are stored;  All bathroom items go into the laundry basket first, then items that are kept in the bedroom and lastly the laundry room items.
 
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I make cat litter by running newsprint through a paper shredder. A spoonful of baking soda seems to take care of the odor.
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I just don’t let the current cats indoors.

They have terrible manners!  They used to come INDOORS to do their business, and going BESIDE the box if it suited them.

Before that, I always had indoor outdoor cats, and no cat box, and never an accident, or misbehavior, for decades!

I have become quite used to not having cats inside.  I can leave food out, leave the butter out, without worries.

No litter to dispose of either😊
 
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I am employed at a small town, once landfill, now transfer station. Over the years I have fought the system and governing entities. So much wasted good items. I was finally permitted to salvage usable items to the public. Now as a transfer station it all goes into containers to be shipped to a central landfill. We are working to make a separate department where the customers can be directed to with reusable items that are separated. Green waste is separated, mulched and being used for a community garden at a separate but attached property. Most landfills can be permitted through you local Permitting agency.(s) Help yourselves by helping landfills become more accountable. Attend the local governing meetings and push to stop reusable goods from becoming waste.
 
pollinator
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Using less, generally speaking, may soon be a matter of life and death, especially in matters of excessive packaging, so I totally agree with you Steve [Zoma].
and Anne [Miller}, you are very correct to think twice about using cosmetics: Not only are they created using unknown processes and materials, they can also be tested on animals, which is horrible. Most contain PFOS, PFAS, PFOAS or a combination of them.
I made a Power Point presentation 2 days ago about PFAS. I had heard they were called "forever chemicals" because they are bio-accumulators, in other words, once they get in your body, it is nearly impossible to remove. [You can pee, poop, sweat and bleed small amounts but the bulk stays with you]. By the way, water-treatment plants cannot totally get rid of them, so city folks get their share in municipal water too. At home, you may use a carbon filter or a reverse osmosis system, but if there is too much stuff in your water, it can get overwhelmed. [and what do you do with the spent filter, which is now toxic too...?
The disposal of these products is even more problematic as landfills get full but cannot get "treated" to eliminate them. A number of our farmers think they are doing the right thing by not using fertilizers and reducing manures. Instead, they use "sludge" on their fields. But that sludge, has all that people are getting rid of, which means they test high for these forever chemicals. The food that is grown in these fields gets contaminated, as well as the animals and folks eating these products. These products came in existence in the 40s, which explains that about 95-98% of all people now have some in their blood.
The more I sought out information, the more queasy and sick in the pit of my stomach I felt, as these forever chemicals are many [over 12,000 and more emerging every week]. Going back to Steve's packages, while we all agree that plastics are threatening our homes streams and oceans, at least we can SEE them and choose to use less or even none. But the packaging of the fast food industry is even more nefarious, and because it is ubiquitous, it is nearly impossible to guard against the harm they pose. Some are worse than others, but as a group, they pose terrible cancer risks [thyroid, kidneys, reproductive systems...] and the list goes on.
https://dceg.cancer.gov/research/what-we-study/pfas
These forever chemicals are everywhere: Dental flossing thread, many cosmetics, shaving cream and razors that "glide smoothly over your skin", any package that repels water and grease is coated with them, Scotch- guarded carpets, Teflon coated pans [anything "non-stick", essentially]. Tide, the famous laundry detergent even had some in it. Now, they have removed it, which is proof to me that it can be done.
The EPA has put out an "acceptable" level of these chemicals [in drinkable water], which was 78 ppt [Parts Per Trillion]. Last year, they revised that to 0.02 parts per trillions for PFOS and 0.004 parts per trillion for PFOAS! this tells you that they found out we are swimming in these biohazards and they are ringing the alarm!
They are extremely hard to break down because they contain Carbon [C] and Fluorine with some O and H. Fluorine is hungry for electrons and Carbon is willing to provide them, which makes this union [of Carbon and Fluorine] nearly impossible to break apart. Don't try to burn/ incinerate or the stuff gets airborne for you to breathe it in.
Worse, in the last 5 years, about 40 studies have been conducted on the umbilical cords of some 30,000 newborns, from which it results that 100%, meaning all of our newborns now come out of the womb "pre-polluted".
https://www.ewg.org/news-insights/news/childrens-exposure-pfas-chemicals-begins-womb
I urge you to get informed bout these chemicals, [and permies are better than most folks abut this], but even our usual distrust of these newfangled products may not be enough to save us.
 
Rich Rayburn
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C'ecile,
That was a great explanation of the forever chemical problem plaguing the planet.
For those unfamiliar with the problem and not wanting to do a lot of research, there is a great movie out there to watch called DARK WATERS . The movie stars Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway. The movie is based on the true story of a lawsuit against DuPont chemical co. The movie will probably leave you awestruck, our family was, my youngest son has been buying copies of the movie and giving them away to people. A must-see movie, as they like to say.
You can get them online pretty cheap and well worth it.
16770982654711822189874431056436.jpg
[Thumbnail for 16770982654711822189874431056436.jpg]
 
Anne Miller
master steward
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I have not had the opportunity to watch that movie.

You do bring up a good point and now might be a good time to start getting plants that clean the air:

https://permies.com/t/76743/Plants-air-freshener

And to start growing mushrooms.

This thread is a really good one for someone getting started:

https://permies.com/t/174814/Step-Step-Instructions-Growing-Wine

https://permies.com/t/86495/kitchen/medicinal-mushrooms-cultivate
 
Austin Durant
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Location: San Diego, California | Zone 10a Drylands (11" precip.)
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I thought of a few more moves in the art of "frugal-fu" I practice:
- Baking: always bake at least 2 loaves of bread (2 at a time fit in the oven) to maximize power usage. (I often barter or sell the extra loaves) 🥖🥖
- leave oven door open after baking (take advantage of residual heat). It's not that cold where I live (it never freezes), but we have had a cooler than average winter and I don't have central heat, so sometimes it's nice. Bonus: your house smells like fresh baked bread!
- Tools: borrow tools from neighbor/landlord. She has an unofficial community tool shed, for when I have an oddball task but don't want to buy the tool. Mitre saw, sawzall, router, tree trimming pole, belt sander are all examples of things I've borrowed. I don't have my own shop or tool shed, so this is extra handy!
- Toilet: The old "if it's yellow, let it mellow" adage is "golden", whenever I don't get the chance to pee outside (it's the middle of the night, or it's too rainy or too cold). I will wait at least 3x before flushing liquids, or when goin #2.💩
- Cooking pasta: did you know you can add the pasta to cold water, then turn on the heat? I find it shaves about 5 minutes off the total cooking time (vs letting water boil first before adding the pasta).
2-loaves.png
2 loaves, side by side in clay bakers
2 loaves, side by side in clay bakers
 
Cécile Stelzer Johnson
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Rich Rayburn wrote:C'ecile,
That was a great explanation of the forever chemical problem plaguing the planet.
For those unfamiliar with the problem and not wanting to do a lot of research, there is a great movie out there to watch called DARK WATERS . The movie stars Mark Ruffalo and Anne Hathaway. The movie is based on the true story of a lawsuit against DuPont chemical co. The movie will probably leave you awestruck, our family was, my youngest son has been buying copies of the movie and giving them away to people. A must-see movie, as they like to say.
You can get them online pretty cheap and well worth it.




Thanks, Rich. I had heard about this movie but I have not seen it yet. It is on my bucket list!
 
Thekla McDaniels
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I have heard of putting the lasagna noodles in to the dish uncooked.  It might take a little experimenting, but my starting place would be adding no extra liquid, my sauce was runny.  If you make a dryer  sauce as opposed to runny, then some water added before baking might be the thing

Eons since I made lasagna, else I would do the experimenting myself.
 
gardener
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Location: Proebstel, Washington, USDA Zone 6B
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One of my forestry professors told a story of how people in Europe made manufacturers reduce their packaging. Maybe those of you who are in Europe could confirm?

Land in Europe is a bit more scarce than in America. So landfills are more rare and the cost to dump garbage in a landfill is quite a bit higher. Consumers looked at the things they bought, such as medications, and decided that there was just too much packaging that they had to pay to throw away. So they started a little protest. They would buy their items, and then strip off all the extra packaging and leave it in a little pile by the door of the store. They would take the bottle of aspirin out of the box, and then leave the box, the little information leaflet and the little cotton swab at the door. And that was just for a little bottle of aspirin. The retailers didn't like paying to dump that stuff, either. But since it was now their problem, they took it to the manufacturers. And the manufacturers took it to the regulators who were requiring them to have all that extra packaging and leaflet. And eventually the situation changed, and when you buy things in Europe it comes in far less packaging than when you buy it in America.
 
denise ward
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Location: Westborough, United States
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One day at a large supermarket, I was n the produce section and the produce manager was there. I was kinda sick and tired of seeing organic food wrapped in plastic or even cardboard. Things like peppers, eggplant, etc. They used to be sold loose, without packaging. So I spoke to the produce manager and told him that I won't buy organic if it's wrapped in something and we talked for a long while. He was sympathetic and said he would do something about it. Sure enough, the next time I went there - the organic produce was loose! I was pretty thrilled. He had done what he had vowed to do. Sometimes things work - maybe if we spoke up more. We should boycott produce like eggs that are packaged in Styrofoam. No excuse for the producers to be so ignorant. But it's nothing that boycotting won't fix!
 
Thomas Dean
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Austin Durant wrote:
- Cooking pasta: did you know you can add the pasta to cold water, then turn on the heat? I find it shaves about 5 minutes off the total cooking time (vs letting water boil first before adding the pasta).



We cook our pasta directly in tomato juice or pasta sauce.  We can our own tomatoes, and instead of cooking them down, we skim off the "juice" and can that for soup starters and to cook pasta in.  When we make pasta sauce, it often ends up runny... but cooking pasta in it soaks that up.  Less pans to wash to.
 
Thomas Dean
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Location: Michigan, USA
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denise ward wrote:Sure enough, the next time I went there - the organic produce was loose! I was pretty thrilled. He had done what he had vowed to do.



The skeptic in me wonders if he started simply unwrapping them before putting them out on display.  But I hope I'm wrong.
 
My favorite is a chocolate cupcake with white frosting and tiny ad sprinkles.
the permaculture bootcamp in winter (plus half-assed holidays)
https://permies.com/t/149839/permaculture-projects/permaculture-bootcamp-winter-assed-holidays
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