Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to think like a real tree hugger.
It’s always been important to me to practice the first two Rs: Reduce and Reuse. They’re more important, in my mind, than recycling, and should always come first (and then recycling, of course).
I live in a household where my kids are so used to drawing on scrap paper that three funny things happened this week:
- My almost-five-year-old gift didn’t know what I meant when I said, “Scrap paper,” She said, “Oh, you mean just paper!”
- My 8-year-old asked, “So where do you buy paper, anyway? How does it come?”
- My kids often make special gifts and thank you pictures on the backs of notes from school and never think anything of it. Somehow I can’t instill in them that there is an appropriate time for new, purchased-from-the-store paper.
The challenge for you today is to figure out if there’s an area in your home that could benefit from a new paper habit, either to reduce or reuse that resource.
Some questions to ponder:
- When I write a note to self, is it on reused paper or new?
- Do I print out every recipe I’m interested in, or do I wait until I’ve tried it once and then print it only if it’s a keeper?
- Must I buy books and magazines to keep, or could I use the library more or try eBooks?
- Could I use less paper towels or even get rid of them altogether?
- Is junk mail ruling my mailbox?
- Do I print and file things that could remain as electronic records?
- Do I receive newspaper and magazine subscriptions that I don’t have time to read and/or could read on an e-reader?
always Reuse paper
Any school paper or junk mail that has a blank side goes in a stack near the printer, and that’s what I use for printing recipes, my weekly calendar, notes, and anything I’m going to scan and send. It’s also what my kids use for drawing paper.
Half sheets from school become notepaper for my multitudinous lists.
If you don’t have junk mail or school papers to reuse (lucky you!), consider if you have a friend who works in an office. Guaranteed, they have gads of “oops” printed paper that they could probably nab for you! My MIL has been supplying our drawing paper for a few years now.
use recipes on the computer or tablet
See my computer in the background? That’s an eBook from my affiliate partners – Real Food, Real Easy! – helping me make those grain-free quiches for a brunch the next day. It’s actually faster for me to find the recipes on the computer, and although I do print them out sometimes, I try not to go overboard. (I can’t wait to share with you my rocking eBook efficiency tips later tonight!!)
I don’t see myself as a big eBook reader, but I don’t own a Kindle or Nook. However, I DO use them very often, more and more all the time, for recipes and resources.
Of course, my own eBooks are a great resource, too!
- Healthy Snacks to Go
- The Everything Beans Book
- The Family Camping Handbook (with new primal and gluten-free menu plans)
- Smart Sweets
- Better Than a Box
Here’s a helpful post on storing eBooks via Kindle even if you don’t have one and another on how to read eBooks without an eReader.
Use the real thing
Rather than paper towel or tissues, we use rags, cloth napkins and hankies. Here’s a little more about how we keep it super frugal, too: Use the Real Thing.
Get off the catalog lists
You might remember that we lived with my in-laws for a few months between houses. I was pretty excited to change my address twice, because I thought the junk mail wouldn’t follow very well.
Here’s your laugh for the day: when I changed our address the second time, I accidentally changed it for everyone in the household, meaning my in-laws’ mail came to our house for a period of time until we got it sorted out.
Catalogs, however, change things in their system right away instead of forwarding.
Guess who is the queen of mail order shopping, and guess who is STILL getting her mother-in-law’s catalogs???
I am finally working through calling to cancel and using http://catalogchoice.org/ to get off lists. Try it and reduce your junk mail!
make pdf files
If you have to save an online receipt, make a PDF file and save it on your computer instead of printing. Added bonus: saves you money on ink, too, and you spend less time sorting papers. My nemesis.
Be sure to back up your home computer with a system like Mozy or CrashPlan (no affiliate relationship, just two programs we’ve used here). They’re inexpensive for the headache they’ll save you if you lose everything on your computer!
cancel extra subscriptions
If you don’t read it, you’re wasting your money and your paper. Cancel and be happy.