Around the farm, I try to have as little waste as possible. Luckily, a lot of our waste can be used by our animals (like the pigs or chickens). But, there are some household goods that just have to be thrown away, like paper towels, plastic baggies, and paper plates. I have reduced our consumption of those in a major way. We use cloth napkins all the time. Cloth napkins can be expensive, but my first batch was simply some old rags. The next batch was some cotton fabric that I serged the edges of. I just throw them in the regular laundry and *voila!*, no more paper napkins. I try to use glass containers for packing foods in as much as possible as well. We rarely use paper plates and I really don't mind washing the dishes all the time.
I've been trying to reduce the amount of plastic we use in our home in a lot of ways, including taking my own bags to the grocery and shopping. I'm not a big fan of plastic and it seems we're learning about more and more negative effects it has on our bodies, not to mention our earth. Up until recently, we've been using those reusable plastic cups and straws for drinking. My girls are past the sippy cup age, but not quite to the age where they can be trusted with glasses without lids.
I was not happy with the cups. #1, they are plastic. #2, they're really not meant to be used over and over again and get to looking pretty scudsy after a few rounds in the dishwasher. But, I had yet to find a solution that I was pleased with. Other lidded receptacles or those with built-in straws were hard for me to keep clean. After being inspired by my SIL, I came up with these bad boys:
This,readers, is my new best friend. I should come up with some clever name for it, like ... well, I don't know. But, anyway, I used a mason jar (which I find to be very stout and hard to break), drilled a straw-size hole in the dome lid, and screwed the lid on. I purchased some metal straws and *ta da* a reusable, dishwasher safe, drinking cup for kids. The cool thing is, you are not supposed to reuse dome lids again for canning. BUT, I can totally use them for this purpose! No more throwing away dome lids! Yay! (Okay, fine, I bought these cute gingham looking ones for this purpose, but from now on I'm going to reuse!)
My niece Dorothy (left), and Lila really liked them! I missed the photo op of them smiling at one another across a child-size picnic table sipping their water gleefully, but here is one of them clinking their glasses. =)
The next thing I think would be nice is some wine charms like this or this so the girls would be able to tell their drinks apart easily. But, overall, I am really happy with these!