My Impact

Also known as My One-Step-at-a-Time Low-Waste Accomplishment List!

(I really suggest you start you own list. It’s great for motivation.)

  • Low-Waste Mishloach Manot.
    • Mishloach manot with virtually no non-recyclable or non-biodegradable items in them for both adults and kids.
    • Financial result: I spent much less on packaging then I have in previous years.
  • Greener cleaners.
    • Switching to more ecofriendly cleansers.
    • Financial result: Unknown. While some “green” cleaners are more expensive than their traditional equivalents, making cleaning solutions from common household staples saves cash.
  • Making sports drinks.
    • Making sports drinks for before and after fasts from powder instead of buying them in plastic bottles keeps 36 plastic bottles out of landfills.
    • Financial result: One $8.30 container of Gatorade mix makes enough to fill 36 of the 20-ounce sports bottles we usually buy. That same amount of bottled drinks would cost $33.30.
  • Reusing gift-wrapping items.
    • Save like-new wrapping items (baskets, bags, boxes, tissue, ribbon, bows) and reuse.
    • Financial result: Amount saved depends on the number of gift’s given.
  • Baking challah.
    • Transitioned from buying challah dough to making my own challah. We use at least four fewer plastic bags per week, plus we decreased our packaging by buying bulk flour.
    • Financial result: Scratch challah costs around $3 less per loaf than purchasing braided dough.
  • Zero-waste organization.
    • Organized multiple storage areas using shoe boxes, Rx bottles, and a party favor left over from a birthday party.
    • Financial result: $0 spent on multiple organization projects.
  • Eliminating paper goods.
    • We went from regular use of disposables on Shabbos and holidays to only using disposables on holidays.
    • Financial result: I save $20 to $30 each month, more in Nissan and Elul.
  • Growing tomatoes and herbs.
    • I had enough produce from my garden for salads, for snacking, and for drying to save later. We made dips and tea and spiced up recipes. This reduces both my plastic use (no more single-use dip container).
    • Financial result: The value of what I grew was well over the $20 I spend on plants and plant starts.
  • Switched to more natural products in the bathroom.
    • Result: Reusable containers for intensive moisturizer, deodorant, and tooth whitener. Toothpaste tube is free from BPA and phthalates.
    • Financial result: My toothpaste cost increased by about 30 cents per ounce, but my deodorant and intensive moisturizer dropped to just pennies.
  • Cutting out food waste #2.
    • Result: Making my own breadcrumbs mean challah doesn’t wind up in the trash. Since I resuse the container, no single-use container is created or wasted, keeping an average of one single-use container out of our trash each month. And by using an ingredient on hand (celery), I made use of the water, land, and other resources used to grow it.
    • Financial result: We were paying $4.49 for a can of Jason breadcrumbs. That expense has been eliminated. I had planned to make roasted peppers as a side dish. By using an ingredient on hand, I saved the money I would have spent buying five peppers.
  • Laundry with less.
    • Result: Reduced the amount of water and electricity we use with a High-Efficiency washer. Reduced plastic waste by transitioning to powder detergent. Reduced dryer use with wool laundry balls.
    • Financial result: I save money on each electric, gas, water and sewer bill, but I’m paying a little bit more than double the price per load for detergent.
  • Mindful shopping.
    • Result: I set dates for when I can set online orders. I have already reduced the number of Amazon orders and am on track to cut the number by 50. This means fewer cardboard boxes and less packaging, plus savings on carbon emissions.
    • Financial result: I save money because I usually remove at least one item per Amazon order.
  • Low-waste gardening.
    • Result: I eliminated plastic tomato and herb containers for the summer and fall. I am able to serve HaShem with more simcha.
    • Financial result: I will save money both on herbs and tomatoes.
  • Switching from shampoo and conditioner bottles to bars.
    • Result: Eliminated about two-thirds of our bathroom plastic use.
    • Financial result: The bars we settled on cost a little bit more than the shampoo we were buying, but seem to last a little longer, so no impact financially.
  • Goodbye to ziploc bags for freezing chicken!
    • Result: Not buying items that are made to be used once and then thrown away. I tell HaShem that I am making this change out of kavod for his creations, out of respecting what he brings into my life enough to make sure it’s something that lasts, and not something that is destined for the trashcan.
    • Financial result: Eventually, at some distant point in the future, the containers will pay for themselves. It won’t be anytime soon, since the set of eight cost me $28.99 and a box of 75 quart-size baggies is $2.88.
  • Cutting out food waste.
    • Low-waste result: According to Ben Simon, the cofounder of Imperfect Foods, “Food waste ends up wasting nearly a quarter of our water supply in the form of uneaten food or over $172 billion in wasted water. Each year, as a country we spend over $220 billion growing, transporting, and processing almost 70 million tons of food that ends up going to waste. . . . Growing food that goes to waste ends up using up 21% of our freshwater, 19% of our fertilizer, 18% of our cropland, and 21% of our landfill volume.”
    • Financial result: In progress. My goal is to cut my food budget by 15 percent or more.
  • Reusing jars and containers.
    • Low-waste result: New storage containers aren’t purchased and items stay out of recycling bins and landfills. Recent uses include vinegar bottle to salad dressing bottle, jars reused as reusable tissue containers, jars used for delivering food to friends.
    • Financial result: Unknown.
  • Reusing old clothing.
    • Low-waste result: Most items clothing can be rehomed, but stuff that is worn out is reused for shmattot, reusable “tissues” or other upcycling projects.
    • Financial result: Unknown.
  • Reusing and replacing plastic storage bags.
    • Low-waste result: My goal is to cut our use of single-use plastic bags by 75 percent this year. We were buying a bag of sandwich baggies, a box of quart baggies, and a box of gallon baggies every two to three months.
    • Financial result: In progress.
  • Avoiding foil pans and reusing jars.
    • Low-waste result: At a conservative estimate, I was using 350 foil pans in a year. I estimate I was buying about 30 deli containers a year to send food in. 
    • Financial result: Saving approximately $115 per year.

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