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Zero-waste living

Check out how to live with zero household waste!"Reduce first, reuse second and recycle last" is the Johnson family mantra for living a zero-waste

Check out how to live with zero household waste!

"Reduce first, reuse second and recycle last" is the Johnson family mantra for living a zero-waste life. They clean with reusable microfiber cloths instead of paper towels, shop in bulk using reusable containers, and they brush their teeth with compostable toothbrushes.

Eliminating disposable products from their home means greatly reducing plastic consumption. Plastics are made of petroleum and further our excessive dependence on fossil fuels. They take up huge amounts of space in our landfills for years because they don't biodegrade. Plastics cause hundreds of thousands of wildlife deaths a year, and often contain toxic chemicals such as phthalates. Reducing plastic consumption is one of the most beneficial things a household can do for the environment.

GOPers have been making a lot of noise this past month about cutting wasteful spending (because Pell grants, food inspection and social security are somehow wasteful?). But if they wanted to cut out real waste, they should look toward this family for tips.

Instead, the new Republican majority in the House brought Styrofoam dishes and plastic utensils back to the Congressional cafeteria. Nancy Pelosi first removed Styrofoam from the cafeteria four years ago, bringing in biodegradable alternatives.

UPDATE: The "Green the Capitol Initiative," the energy savings program in the House that once included the biodegradable dishes, has now ended completely. It is being consolidated with a sustainability effort operated by the Architect of the Capitol, which covers the entire Congressional campus, not just the House. Republicans are applauding the move for as a reduction in redundancy of resources. 

But Kyle Anderson, spokesman for the House Administration Committee Democrats, said of the change, "Less than seven months into the 112th Congress, the current Majority has chosen to send a clear message about its lack of commitment to environmentally responsible policies by shifting sustainability and greening efforts to the Architect of the Capitol."