I think that unintentionally, through choosing to live in a small town, I’ve naturally found ways to reduce my waste and environmental impact.

Maybe because of personality? I honestly don’t like shopping and I love being organized… and being organized is easier when I don’t have so much stuff.

Over the years, moving, getting married, having kids… we’re just continually sending things off in the donation pile. We don’t need a lot. In fact, less stuff makes us happier or at least creates less burden in our day.

A year or two ago we started buying our coffee in a refillable jar from our local coffee roaster. It was an obvious choice, as big coffee drinkers. We refill every week. We save money (it’s cheaper by a few bucks per refill vs a bag of the same coffee) and it wasn’t adding to our trash pile!

I’ve begun buying more dry goods in bulk, filling my pantry with mason jars of beans, sugar and flour. Then through our gardening efforts, we found the need to start canning. Something I intend to take much more seriously this year.

This winter, I realized that our paper towel use is a big opportunity for change – as we’re con- stantly cleaning up after kids. We simply have a collection of white washcloths for cleaning and some flannel “unpaper towels” for napkins. They’re easy to clean and it gives the kids a job to do on laundry day folding and putting them away.

Now that it’s spring, we’re getting our compost pile back up and running, reducing our garbage waste yet again.

What could you swap in your routine to create less waste and maybe save money and support local all at the same time?