Crowd-sourced solutions we can all use

Posted 4/20/22

We reached out to our readers and asked what they have done to reduce, reuse or recycle. Here’s what they offered.

Conscious buying

I buy meat from local butchers instead of buying at …

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Crowd-sourced solutions we can all use


We reached out to our readers and asked what they have done to reduce, reuse or recycle. Here’s what they offered.

Conscious buying

I buy meat from local butchers instead of buying at the supermarket.

I buy locally instead of from box stores or Amazon whenever possible.

I avoid buying things in plastic containers when I have a choice.

I bring my own bags for groceries and produce to lower waste.

I use laundry sheets rather than liquid detergent or pods, which cut down on plastic.

I stopped buying bottled water. Instead I fill a 64-ounce plastic juice container and refill my two sturdy water bottles to take on road trips. It saves lots of money and cuts down on plastic usage.

I use a Brita filter to avoid buying water in plastic containers. If I purchase water it is in cans (LaCroix water) which can be recycled.

I purchased reusable silicone bags and gave them as Christmas presents.


I recycle all that I can by sharing my waste with others, reusing it, composting it or finding other creative uses for it.

I recycle Christmas cards into gift tags, new cards for mailing, collages.

I create cloth gift bags for gift giving within the family, so that I get them back to reuse again.

I make homemade soap products—including soap bars by shredding bits of soap, melting it and pouring it into a mold—coconut oil moisturizer and shampoo.

I re-use plastic wrap and aluminum foil when it is still clean.

I use cloth napkins.

We reuse our empty distilled water bottle, filling them halfway and placing them in a mudroom to use in the event of a power outage to flush toilets. The gallon bottles are used during summer to water plants. After that, they can be used in the bottom of flower pots for drainage, thus saving money on potting soil and making pots easier to move. Flowers only.


I drive a hybrid car to lower my carbon footprint, and am working my way up to all electric, hopefully.

I have installed a mini-split for heating and cooling the house.

I shop in thrift shops to lower my consumption of new things.

I run my dishwasher once a week.

I use shampoo and conditioner bars.  

When buying a new appliance, I shop for a new energy efficient unit.

I seek out products in glass jars or bottles with metal lids, vs. plastic.

I use a loofah and a bar of castile soap to wash dishes.

When soaping up in the shower, I turn off the water instead of standing in a constant stream.

When writing by hand, I use a pencil instead of a pen whenever possible. I even address envelopes in pencil!

I shop as much as I can at the Callicoon Pantry, bringing in my own jars to be filled.

I carry my own silverware and let the server know, “no plasticware” when ordering takeout.

I wash plasticware and reuse, keeping a few pieces in my car.

Creative solutions

Raising pigs: By far, the life change for us that helped reduce waste was raising pigs! Our wonderful porcine friends would gobble up any scrap of food we generated in the kitchen. Stale pretzels, crusts off bread, moldy leftovers, veggie scraps. While we try to compost anything we can, there was a lot of uneaten or spoiled food that would go to the landfill (our family has three young kids who are picky eaters). Having pigs was such a wonderful way to reduce that waste. Not to mention, they make fabulous rototillers and are so fun (and surprisingly easy) to take care of!

Business meets personal: During COVID isolation I got a sense that the supply chain would slow down around the world and began to collect more of the plastic containers which could be turned into funnels or feed boxes for our chickens or into other useful tools. We store our flour blends for the County Road Bakery in oversized plastic containers that originally housed coffee, and use them again and again (handles are molded into the container!)

More importantly, we began saving the feed bags that we get with our birdfeed supplies from the lovely Cochecton Mills. The bags are woven (probably made of polypropylene), and thus last forever.  We use them as an insulation and windbreak wall on our coops, and as collection bags for storage (they have a 50-pound capacity).

Scarcity creates a sense that we can re-use many of the items we typically throw away and personally I’m glad for the eye-opening experience.

Personal preference meets brand: I have a small brand born out of the pandemic called Sustainably Slaying. I used clothing to make masks when the pandemic started and that sent me on a mission. I’ve also been making purses and bags out of other peoples jeans that don’t fit; purses out of plastic, such as fake stained glass, window clings etc. I took the legs off of a desk and made my son a table out of a discarded Aldi sign I had held onto for years.

reduce, reuse, recycle


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