Have you ever thought about how many plastic cleaning product bottles you have discarded in your lifetime? How many paper towels you have used? How many old school plastic binders tossed into the trash? How about the number of bags you have “consumed” for your groceries and other purchases?
Sarah Jones thinks about ways to avoid using throw-away items every day. She said, “It’s easier and cheaper to use sustainable products.”
Growing up in Annapolis, Maryland, Sarah’s family was environmentally aware, but it was a different time. “Back then,” Jones explained, “there wasn’t that much to throw away. Things were packaged differently.”
Jones said her “aha” moment came when she traveled to Europe where people are more sustainably minded. In stores the attitude was, “Why would anyone give bags away? How incredibly wasteful!” Jones always carries reusable bags with her. She likes the little stuff-bags that fit in a purse or backpack. She also has mesh bags for fruits and vegetables. No plastic for her!
Jones and her family use reusable household items. “For five years, we haven’t bought plastic bottles of cleaner. That is lots of plastic saved,” said Jones. Instead, Jones uses cleaning tablets from Blueland and just adds water to the reusable containers. She likes the way the products smell and their environmentally friendliness. She like Drops for her laundry detergent and using dryer balls to dry clothes faster and save energy.
Revealing a stock of cloth napkins she shared, “I don’t iron them.” Then with a giggle added, “I don’t have a staff.” She also has two baskets in her kitchen: one for clean dishtowels and one for used. Paper towels are not to be found.
A large gourd-like object sat in the middle of her dining room table. She scooped it up and explained how she slices pieces of dried loofah, a tropical or subtropical vegetable in the cucumber family, for loofah sponges.
“Just think how many plastic binders are thrown in the trash at the end of each school year.” Jones said. She found a company called Wisdom Supply Company that sells cardboard binders with reusable metal bindings. She said, “You just order the cardboard outer cover and kids can label and color the cardboard any way they like.”
The mother of three saves pasta and jam jars to use for food storage and drinking glasses. She even has silicone sleeves for jars so they don’t clink when carrying them to Farmers’ Markets for the food she purchases. She says the vendors always appreciate her bringing her own containers.
A trademark of Sarah’s comes from living overseas as a military spouse. She loves to wrap things in a furoshiki – a Japanese cloth used to wrap bento lunch boxes or gifts. She explained that by tying it on the top, it is easy to carry and looks festive.
Congratulations and thank you, Sarah Jones, for being the October Emerald Keeper of the Month!