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Friday, January 3, 2014

2014 New Year’s Resolution: Use Less Plastic (Again!)

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope the start of your year has been a good one! We kicked off 2014 with a visit to Pasadena, where he had amazing grandstand seats for the Tournament of Roses Parade (big thanks to our friend Sherri!) and attended a far-too-stressful football game at the Rose Bowl (go Stanford no matter the result!).

Now that we’re a few days into the new year, I thought we could chat quickly about resolutions. I’m not a huge new year’s resolution person, but I must admit that since I started creating resolutions that link food to the environment, I actually really like setting a goal each year. It has helped a lot! It’s time to set my goal for 2014 and it’s the going to be the same one I’ve had for the last two years: Use Less Plastic.

2014 new years resolution: use less plastic from @janemaynard

The first year I made this goal it was very general and I didn’t make much progress. Last year I decided to get more specific and to also revisit the goal throughout the year. That definitely helped and we had a few successes. We’ve started making our own yogurt, eliminating all those little yogurt cups, and I make all of our granola bars, reducing all that one-time packaging trash we were producing every day. I stopped using plastic baggies completely in the kids’ lunches and we only use cloth napkins at home now. (Quick tip: Cocktail-sized cloth napkins are PERFECT for everyday use! I got mine at the Crate & Barrel outlet and love them.)

2014 new years resolution: use less plastic from @janemaynard

Since using less plastic is really important but also incredibly challenging, I’m sticking with the goal for another year. Step 1 for 2014 is to finally use the reusable grocery bags I have stuffed in a closet. It is ridiculous that I don’t bring my bags with me when I go shopping! Once I have that tackled, I’ll get another goal going and will keep you posted on my progress!

Just a few quick thoughts on plastic. First, this infographic is great food for thought in regards to plastic and the ocean, which is just one part of the plastic story. Second, if you haven’t watched the documentary Bag It yet, please do. It’s GREAT and you can now stream it on both Amazon and iTunes.

the plastics breakdownSource: One World, One Ocean

On a completely unrelated note, I am also making a resolution to get more organized with my housekeeping, you know, now that I have a house to actually keep! I think I’ll just make a monthly schedule and try to stick to that. I’ll keep you posted and share the schedule when it’s all put together, in case anyone else wants to join in on the “fun.”

What are your new year’s resolutions for 2014? Would love to hear them! Also, did you join in on the “Use Less Plastic” fun in 2013 or are you planning to for 2014? Please share your tips and tricks for reducing waste, especially plastic! 


  1. 1

    I love the idea of using cocktail size napkins! Off to check them out!

  2. 2
    Kelly J

    I keep my reusable bags in my car and that helps me to use them more often

  3. 3
    Kim from PA

    I like the housekeeping topic! It’s on my resolution list every year and I never quite feel like I master it. I’m always amazed how spotless my parent’s house is and my mother-in-law’s apartment too. Their generation seem like “naturals” at housekeeping which somehow they make look effortless.

    Housekeeping is NEVER effortless, easy, or enjoyable to me. I like a clean house though, so I struggle through it.

    I would love to read any tips anyone wishes to share on organization & housekeeping.

    Other resolutions:

    1. Continue to work on using less plastic- I’m happy to say that reusable grocery bags, cloth napkins, and glass food containers have become habit and I find all three to be so much preferable to plastic & paper that I don’t think I will slide backwards. I started using mason jars recently too. We need to work on using less plastic wrap in 2014. I have not yet invested in reusable bowl covers. I also find paper towels to be a necessity…..not sure if I can give those up.

    2. Eat more beans

    3. Eat more fish

    4. Grow more kale

    5. Listen to live music at least once a month (this is a fun one! Anything counts…street musicians, church, family getting together for a jam session, as well as actual concerts)

  4. 4

    I love the idea of a cleaning schedule! I always struggle with this!

  5. 5
    Stephanie P.

    Cocktail napkins, genius, I bet you don’t have to iron them either, correct? Because that’s our issue with cloth napkins, so wrinkly!

    I also keep reusable bags in my car, and extra stacked in our kitchen so I can easily grab them on my way out, it’s now routine for me and once you get into the habit, easy peasy–when you see how many groceries you can fit into a large reusable bag vs. a plastic one, you’ll know it’s worth it.

    For longer trips (Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods are 90 miles from me) I keep a bag of ice packs in my chest freezer and pop that into cooling bags on my way out.

    I thought the point of having kids was built-in housekeepers!? Haha, maybe yours are still young enough to be more of the house dirtiers! 🙂

    I’m definitely a clean as I go person with regards to my kitchen, and we’re lucky enough to have a house cleaner for most of the rest.

    Quite jealous you were at the Rose Bowl! We so wanted Ohio State to be there, then they failed us in the Orange Bowl too, moving on to next season I suppose.

    @Kim from PA: for bowl lids, I highly suggest Pyrex bowls with lids, the bowls and lids are reusable, microwave safe, BPA free, and come in all the shapes and sizes you can imagine.

    • Jane Maynard

      I totally do NOT iron them. the fabric that these particular napkins are made of are a really fine weave, so they don’t really need much ironing anyway, but the size helps a lot.

      I think I need to get my kids to work! 😉

      we have some good friends that are ohio state fans – such a bummer end to a great season!

  6. Bravo to you on extending your resolution to include more ‘bans’ on plastics. We use only paper grocery bags and then reuse the bags for other purposes. I have a bunch of cloth bags but end up forgetting to bring them with me. One of the things I resolved last year was to stop using disposable dishware, so we have no paper plates or plastic cups in the house. Everything gets washed. That’s a bit of an ugh, but I am please.

    • Jane Maynard

      all year as I’ve run out of disposable “stuff,” I just haven’t let myself buy replacements – yes, more washing, but like you, I’m pleased with the result!

  7. 7
    kelly d

    i am trying to get on board with less plastic too(love the cocktail napkin idea!!)we use paper plates alot..and i am giving them up…(with seven kids this is going to be a to remember those reusable shopping bags is another hard one..but i am working on it..and paper towels..well i use them a lot..anyone have some suggestions for a sub????

    • Jane Maynard

      paper towels…that is a TOUGH ONE! I’m right there with you…I’m going to start thinking hard about that one!

    • Jane Maynard

      I forgot to mention, there are reusable paper towels out there you might want to give a try! 🙂

  8. Our preschool is waste-free so I’ve been sending the kids to school with cloth napkins, reusable containers and thermoses for a while now. For some reason, it never occurred to me until just now that we could be using cloth napkins *at home* too. Hello! I will look into this now. Thanks for the nudge!

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