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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Nobody can single-handedly make an impact on climate change, but many individuals making small changes can have a big impact over time. As a bonus, many small changes are not only green, but frugal.

I hope we can grow a thread here sharing lots of changes, large and small, that could help Earth, so add your own ideas for reducing, reusing, and recycling below. We're all in this together, and it will take all of us to make meaningful changes.

To start us off, this blog post has some interesting suggestions for making small environmentally friendly changes, many of which don't look difficult or annoying at all.
 

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I have been trying to find ways to reduce our use of plastics, not just bags, but all kinds. For years we've done a couple of easy and obvious things many others do, using cloth bags for shopping, and using reusable water bottles instead of buying bottled water. It's not possible to avoid plastics completely, but I'm trying to reduce adding them to the waste stream when I can, since most plastics are not recycled.

I read an interesting tip recently, reducing plastic use by producing home crafted condiments and seasoning mixes. All of those frequently come in plastic containers, which then get thrown away by the millions. Since I have been on a binge of making my own condiments, seasonings, and other mixes lately, this tip is an easy one for me to incorporate into my daily life. I plan to work even harder at finding more recipes to replace those we currently buy in plastics.
 

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A lot of frugal things are naturally better for the environment, thrift stores, mending and repairing, buying less stuff.

But then I also run into the $$$ version of being good for the environment which seems to be all about buying environmentally friendly versions of products that cost two or three times the regular version.

I have run into the bread trick before. But every time I think, why not just make toast?

My husband toasts perfectly good fresh bread. I feel like saying, but toast is for stale bread!😆

When I was young my mom had this thing she did with stale bread. You spread peanut butter on the bread and then poor milk on it. I ate it a lot growing up. But no one else seems to have heard of it. I am not sure if it was just something my mom came up with or what.
 

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It can be a dilemma. I would like to go all in on an electric truck, but EVs are not currently workable for where we live. Even on a smaller scale, some things don't make good financial sense. Why buy a good quality shopping bag when stores provide free plastic bags? OTOH, lessening reliance on the fossil fuels the 'free' bags and other plastics are made from should eventually reduce the impacts of multibillion dollar natural disasters that we all pay for indirectly, while leaving a livable planet for following generations. Not everything can be measured by the cost in dollars.

In re the bread tip, I wondered why they didn't just microwave it a few seconds for the same effect.

Food waste is a whole other issue. I like the tip to fully submerge certain veggies in water. I will definitely be trying that with celery. We have a hard time using that up before it goes bad.
 

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They left out a step on the bread trick. Wrap it in foil before you put it in the oven.

The difference between that and microwaving is that the wrapped bread will absorb the water and soften as it warms up, while microwaved bread releases the last bit of moisture from the center and then gets even harder when it cools.

Now, is turning the oven on for 10-20 minutes worth it to save a stale piece of bread? Maybe a loaf, but not a slice or two. This trick dates back to the days when big cast iron stoves always had a small fire kept going in them and were always warm. You put your wet bread back into the loaf pan instead of using foil.
 
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For anyone who likes the convenience of liquid soaps but has never made their own (from bar soap), give it a try. It's very easy and I have enough bars on hand (inherited or gifts) that I am probably set for life.
I also save candle wax and candle containers and melt/pour new candles as needed. All you need to buy is some wick.
I don't have much problem using up onions or potatoes from larger bags but it is important that they are stored separated. I keep onions near the floor and potatoes on a high shelf in the dark pantry.
 

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I battle the plastics as well...hard choices between the cheap food (generally in a plastic bag like dry beans) or the bulk food where I can skip the packaging and use paper or reuse a bag, but it is more spendy. Trying to figure out the metric on that.

I do have reusable bags, many glass jars that I reuse and reuse and reuse, and I use my rice/bean/sprout water to water plants or chickens even though I have a well...the aquafer isn't infinite and it keeps me mindful. Right now an electric vehicle won't work for me but I keep hoping and looking.
I do most of the things on that list and some I've gone further...no shampoo or deodorant other than baking soda (in cardboard packages or from the bulk bin into my own jar)...but there is always more.
 

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I sometimes wonder why advice is given on saving bread so often compared to more expensive foods.

Like what to do when you over cook meat and it gets too dry. If you use it to make soup or simmer it in a sauce, does it get undry.
 

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Continuing to cook meat in a liquid does not help it absorb moisture, but some cuts will continue to break down. It's pretty much dead at that point, but bbq sauce or steak sauce, or gravy can help when you eat it.

Another thing you can do is grind it up very finely and mix it into raw ground meat for burgers, meatloaf, or meatballs. It won't absorb moisture there either, but it becomes unnoticeable among the fat and juices of the new meat.
 

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I sometimes wonder why advice is given on saving bread so often compared to more expensive foods.
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When we had bakery outlet store we routinely bought "critter bread".. Packages that were damaged or out of date.. Our small livestock loved, loved the stuff... One time about 3 years ago now in a heaping pickup load of bread products we found many loaves of in date whole wheat bread.. We laid it out to dry overnight, then ground it in the food processor to make homemade bread crumbs... We stored it in 2 liter canning jars with a lid vacuum sealed on top and a loose ring incase the vacuum did not keep.. So... We still have about 35 jars of bread crumbs left now that gets used in all kinds of recipes...
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Like what to do when you over cook meat and it gets too dry. If you use it to make soup or simmer it in a sauce, does it get undry.
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Well done beef can be ground and used in a cold sandwich spread with chopped onion, mayo, pickle relish and the like.. This works well with Canada goose breast meat, mixed with a bit of roast bear, ground and spiced... I like a few drops of hot sauce on the bread... There are many options..
 

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"Help the Planet".... We also try to be packaging aware... Depending on the product, we will buy in bulk and repackage to store in our basement cold room.... Again, repackaging the item or secure storage for the product in the original package...

We have an extensive recycling system here that makes it easy to use.. Besides, many item packages are pay back at turn in.... We make $8-10 per big garbage bag of paid recycle items.. This money goes directly into our drive through coffee, bakery treat fund...
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
Packaging is a problem everywhere. It's usually impossible to avoid. We don't have bulk stores anywhere nearby. So much stuff comes with unneccessary packaging, I think a lot of changes need to come from manufacturers. Consumers need to lobby for that in large numbers but it's hard to make big corporations care.
 

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Packaging is a problem everywhere. It's usually impossible to avoid.
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I suspect a lot, or at least some of packaging has evolved to be "lawyer proof" in the terms of tamper proof until in the hands of the final user.. And theft proofing products by virtue of package size, construction, and quantity of product in the package....
 
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