Waste Wednesday & Corn Chips?

Pyrex saves waste!
Pyrex saves waste!

This Friday was my day off, so I borrowed the BF’s car, and headed to the outlet for Pyrex.  For change from $80, I got the haul above, which I’m impressed with.  These things last well – not one has cracked or chipped in all the back and forth to work, and in and out of cupboards etc.

Now I have enough pyrex for lunch leftovers (I bought 9 when I first moved into the loft, for lunches). Now I have another 10 (!!) so that I can have one with bacon at almost all times, one with pepperoni, a few with a meal’s serve of meat, like chicken breasts. It’s a learning curve for deli staff in Harris Farm and Coles, but I’m patient, and mostly it works… Til I give them a flat rectangular pyrex for a large cube of feta – live and learn!

So, this week wasn’t as good as past weeks – there were three meat trays. We can’t pass up $3 for 500g of beef mince, especially when making lasagne for 8!

Still a modest weigh in, despite three meat trays
Still a modest weigh in, despite three meat trays

I should also show you the weight of the plastics that I take back to Coles, who offer a recycling program that supposedly turns certain plastics into playground furniture:

Back to Coles, for them to recycle.
Back to Coles, for them to recycle.

Mmmm cornchip packets…

Garlic bread wrappers, museli bar wrappers, pasta packets etc
Garlic bread wrappers, museli bar wrappers, pasta packets etc

Reader/commenter challenge: Is there a zero waste way to corn chips? I’ve never seen them in bulk, but I’ve not looked that far and wide. What would it take to make a cornchip?

Zero Waste Wednesday Weigh In

Zero Waste attmepts

Hello fearless readers – another Wednesday peak at my trash weigh in.  Every week, I weigh my landfill trash, in an effort to get to zero waste – for details of this crazy experiment, head to my Zero Waste page.

Zero Waste attmepts
A weighty 1.071kg – a woeful week for zero waste


I’m sad.  That’s pretty high. Actually I came home grocery shopping, shell shocked from the price (~$100 for three meals and some supplies), the size of the store (2-3 times my IGA), the number of people (it was Saturday), the number of choices (but still I couldn’t find cream cheese) AND the packaging.  We went together, the BF and me, and I just went for the path of least resistance.  Neither of us enjoyed the shopping trip.

I WILL get back to the co-op and the bulk supplies they offer soon.

And I’ll start working with a new butcher to get rid of meat trays.

Here’s what (from memory) what’s in this bag

  • meat trays – pork mince for Mexican
  • blister pack from new HDMI cable & mini book light
  • plastic wrapper on a new wireless card
  • egg shells – only got the Bokashi composting back in action a day or two ago
  • plastic ‘slithers’ from the top of the GF wraps

I’ve also started reading Bea Johnson’s Zero Waste Home and she concedes that hardware items (like dot point 2) are really hard to find zero waste alternatives, so I’m feeling a touch better.

And last week? I forgot to include two mattress bags, made of fine plastic.  They some how made it to the building’s bins without my weighing them.  And I let them.  SIGH!

So, it’s a third of my moving waste (which was over 3kg last week), but it’s still twice what I can achieve in a ‘normal’ week.  Once work stops being so draining, and house errands keep me out and about til later than usual, I’ll knuckle down into my co-op and butcher/grocer routines that help trim this number.  The more I can do myself, the less the BF will need to do, cause I’m not sure I can get him using the fabric produce bags just yet!

Waste Wednesday update

Slim your bin zero waste

For anyone new here, I like to weigh my waste every week.  My aim is to one day be zero waste.  I only way landfill waste,  recycling and composting (i use a Bokashi bucket) are not weighed. Monday and Tuesday this week, I moved house – so there’s a lot more than usual in this week’s weigh in!  Let me start with some photos:

slim your bin zero waste
Bag 1 coming in at 562g

This was the weekly waste leading up to the move, so meat trays and similar items.

slim your bin zero waste
276g for the second bag

The overflow of day to day trash (with some McDonald’s food soiled carboard that STANK!)

slim your bin zero waste
987g from bag #3

Things are getting heavy! This was mainly packing tape, with a pair of the BF’s old shoes that the leather had started dying a painful death

Zero waste slim your bin
Leaving the heaviest to last at 1277g

And the final collection of ‘stuff’ at the old house – there’s a plant in there, and a homemade mozzie trap made form a plastic soft drink bottle, sugar syrup and yeast… what a sticky mess!

So, the grand total is 562 + 276 + 987 + 1277 = 3102g = 3.1KG!

Wowzers! To think I was down to single digits recently… Such is life.  There’s no ‘everyday’ waste from the new house (such as food, as Bokashi’s on a holiday to my parents to get buried and returned empty).

More on the new house and new lists tomorrow…  And the drama of Sunday and a hospital visit.  Oh yes, I like to keep it interesting!

Waste Wednesday update

rubbish weigh in

It might be a busy week, but I wouldn’t be myself if I didn’t weigh my rubbish.  So, let’s see how things went in the first (partial) week of the BF living at live-to-list-ville:

rubbish weigh in
Waste weigh in for Wed 31 July 2013

That’s the weight for three weeks worth of trash, so, this week’s weigh in is: 548 – 67 -172 = 302g

Not my biggest week.  Just my second biggest week.  And here’s why

  • meat trays: with all the moving, I settled for meat from the grocery store, in non recyclable trays
  • ice cream wrappers: why does stress come with eating bad things, and thinking it’s ok?
  • cheese packets: yes, I used up TWO of the packets in the photo from last week
  • apple puree cups: I was feeling ill, so I always go for apple sauce to settle my tummy.  Whilst I can buy it in a jar (with cinnamon), I somehow just got single portions pack, with three cups and three pretend foil lids.
  • tortilla bag: I’m not sure I can buy these without plastic, though I could look into making them?
  • plastic wrapping from a lamp: this cellophane wrapping was removed to show the lamp’s fabric (like it’s already un-plasticed twin)
  • tea bags: yes, I still have a stash.  And I could empty out the tea leaves to the Bokashi, and just trash the string and staple, but I’m not that vigilant (yet)

So I’m not that happy, but it’s not *that* bad.  I’ve got to focus on work, and packing my house/showing my house, so I let other things slip.

I also indulged in a cleaner to do the bathroom and the oven yesterday.  She emptied the bathroom bin (curses – seriously, my boyfriend thinks I’m the only person who’d have a problem with a cleaner emptying bins!).  Thankfully, I found the bin liner and contents in the kitchen bin, so I weighed them.  There’s ‘wet’ stuff still inside, so it’s heavier than it I did it later:

Bathroom trash weigh in
Bathroom trash weigh in

It’s by no means ‘full’ but this is 216g since 22 May – so more than two months.  In this bag we have:

  • cotton buds: using the last of the ‘normal’ ones up before buying bamboo ones
  • floss: remember that the silk thread as floss was a failure, so I’m stuck with this waste.  Not yet at rinsing it either…
  • dish cloths: from the cleaner.  I usually use a microfibre cloth and wash it (in the washing machine) and use a little loo paper for the ickiest of wipe downs.

So there in completes my weekly update.  I’m not sure I’ll have a Wednesday Waste post next week – I’ll certainly trash things in the moving day of Monday without weighing them! I’ll perhaps Facebook post any ‘trashing’ in the move process…

On the rental front: There was only one interested couple to apply after two showings.  The other couple found the balcony too small.  I’ve decided to accept the first couple’s application, rather than lower my rent and see if there’s more interest.  The first couple can move in 9th August, which is just 4 days after we vacate, so that’s better than what I might otherwise get.  So that’s one more thing sorted…

Waste Wednesday update

I almost forgot this riveting installment… Oh, how you would have missed it! (Seriously, there was a bolt upright moment when I realised, and I scurried back to the kitchen to snap some photos).  For anyone new to this, I like to weigh my non recyclable waste every Wednesday.  One day, I hope to have zero non recyclable waste.  That’s the aim!  I do the kitchen bin weekly, and the bathroom and bedroom bin when they get full.  For more details, see the Zero Waste page.

Waste weigh in for Wed 24 July 2013
Waste weigh in for Wed 24 July 2013

Blurry picture at 6.30am, sorry, but that’s 239g.  Adjusted (as this is two week’s trash) total is 67g.

That is a RECORD! I’ve never had it that low since I started weighing weekly in April.

Inside the bag
Choc chips, last of the bulk bacon (from freezer), mac and cheese packet… 🙁

It’s weird, cause I was sure the yucky bacon packet would take me over.

Oh and for people who remember all my cheese grating efforts (to lessen waste), here’s some photos of what happened when the BF’s fridge was emptied into mine this past weekend:

All the 'inherited' cheese
All the ‘inherited’ cheese
The freezer 'before'
The freezer ‘before’
The freezer AFTER the cheese invasion
The freezer AFTER the cheese invasion

And to think, this was after I consolidated all his half packets into one package, where possible. If there’s one thing I teach the BF, it’ll be to ‘use it up’ when there’s just dregs in the packet… I mean, who couldn’t handle one more sprinkle of cheese to empty the packet?

So, that brings us to… the best week yet, but some bad weeks anticipated in the new future. Any tips on how to keep the BF on board with my waste minimisation targets?

Waste Wednesday update

Oh, it’s Wednesday again.  Best get my ‘crazy’ on weighing my rubbish!

Waste weigh in
Waste weigh in

A heavy week at 172g.  Third week in a row on the increase – bad Sarah!

There were some unrepairable sunglasses.  There was gluten free macaroni a friend gave me in its plastic bag (she’s so on board with what I do and don’t eat, it’s lovely).  There was a *cough cough* garlic bread wrapper from IGA – yes, me the gluten free pasta girl had a gluteny garlic bread.  Sigh.  There were block cheese wrappers, and band aid wrappers.  Really usual stuff mostly.

How I’d curb this rubbish?  Plastic sunglasses are probably always going to be a curse.  Pasta can be bought at the coop, but I won’t deny the gift.  I could make my own garlic bread (as the bf suggested) but this was a ‘I’m starving, I need lunch NOW without eating out’ purchase – if I was to buy bread, then butter it and garlic it, I feel like I really am putting a lot of effort in.  Of course, he’s right, I should make it at home… I make sweet chili sauce now, and grate cheese, garlic bread really isn’t a stretch now is it?

Short and sweet today!

Zero Waste & dental floss

*sorry to anyone who got this before it was ‘finished’!*

For regular readers of this blog, it’s a weekly obsession of mine to aim for zero landfill.  Each week I weigh in, but there’s some recurrent items in my waste.  Today I’ll look at whole I’ve conquered dental floss.


Whilst floss is negligible in weight, it’s still something I was regularly adding to the trash heap.  The only solution I could find was silk thread.  Given I’m not a vegan, I don’t have a huge concern with this option, and it can be composted.  So from plastic box, wheel and nylon floss (I assume it’s nylon), I’ve gone to silk thread, of course on a plastic spool.  Ah well, you win some you lose some.


In practice? It was a FAIL.  The thread is too thin, and it tears.  And at $6.70 a spool, it’s not cheap!

Lucky I got it in a colour I like, I should be able to find a use for it.  Oh well, you have to try to know!

This week’s weigh in:

Waste weigh in on Wed 10/7/13 (total for two weeks)
Waste weigh in on Wed 10/7/13 (total for two weeks)

220g – 95g = 125g. Not too shabby, as the bf’s nachos was made again, complete with foil chip bag & meat tray.  There was also turkey & salami packaging from my road trip meal.   I’m ever vigilant – in buying the salami I asked about BYO containers, and we talked about the logistics.  It seems possible, but difficult.  Another deli made it seem simpler, but it’s more of a walk.

Zero waste & cheddar cheese

Pregrated cheese packets were a repeat offender in my landfill trash, so I thought about how I could cut that down. So my first step was to grate the cheese myself. One day, I’ll find a deli that’s not already wrapped the cheddar in it’s own plastic raincoat, and I’ll liberate it to my house, where I’ll grate it and provide it with a reusable ziplock bag!

So, with my wonderful food processor, I was sorted:

Here's what you need to grate/shred your cheese
Here’s what you need to grate/shred your cheese

And in no time, I had this!

Grated cheese (bless that food processor!)
Grated cheese (bless that food processor!)
The solid cheese block wrapper, and the grated outcome (seems more than the 1kg pre grated bag)
The solid cheese block wrapper, and the grated outcome (seems more than the 1kg pre grated bag)
A $1.38 saving in grating my own - though slightly different cheeses.
A $1.38 saving in grating my own – though slightly different cheeses.

Weekly weigh in

This week’s check in is GREAT! (95g) I did a lot of cooking Thursday week ago, and that tided me over for meals until Sunday. Then my cooking on Sunday was homemade pastry for a leek pie – all minimal packaging (though the feta cheese wasn’t all used, to there’ll be plastic to come from that). I also had a belt fall apart (cheap = useless). There’s also some wrappers from choc chips and almond meal in there.

95g weigh in on Wed 3 July!
95g weigh in on Wed 3 July!

And last week? 297g.  Thanks largely to fabric of indeterminate type, so trashed.

Weighing in at 297g of choc wrappers and fabric
Weighing in at 297g of choc wrappers and fabric

I’m thinking I’ll create some sort of graph, and add it to my Zero Waste page so you can see how I’m going!

Zero Waste – Coffee Cups

There’s a twist to these weekly posts. I’ll still ‘weigh in’ but I’ll also share a zero waste changes with you, so you can get on board if something seems easy enough! This week, it’s coffee cups.

My bf loves a coffee, and you don’t need to twist my arm too hard to get one either! However, as I’ve mentioned before, even if all the parts of the take away cups are recyclable, there’s one better. A totally reusable cup! I’m pleased I’m moving away from this:

Trashed coffee cups source: www.wasteman.com.au
Trashed coffee cups
source: www.wasteman.com.au

To this:

Reusable plastic keep cup
Reusable plastic keep cup

I can 95% recommend Keep Cup. (the other 5% is that the bottom of the cup is shaped a little like a wine bottle indent, making it an incy bit harder to clean than I’d like). Let me just say, I’ve not tried any alternatives, but I like that it’s light (being made of the big bad wolf, plastic), and it’s got a great lid that seals. A used cup in my bag’s not spilt it’s last drops into the protective zip lock bag, so maybe I don’t need to worry as much? And that one you see above, that’s for my bf! Yes, he duly noted it matched most everything in my life/house (check out the house tour if you want to see more), but that was strategic in case he rejects my generosity, I’ll have a lovely new cup!

The best thing is, there’s different sizes too! See I thought mine was big, but bf’s is *HUGE* (and there’ll be no complaints there!)

Reusable coffee cup
The new cup dwarfs it’s predecssor

I can’t help but share the cute, 100% recyclable packaging either:

Everything you would want in a cup! Even splash proof
Everything you would want in a cup! Even splash proof

And if all just seems too hard, this was a great thing I found when I was image hunting

Eat cup not keep cup... source: www.disassociated.com
Eat cup not keep cup…
source: www.disassociated.com

Weekly Update
Now for my usual weigh in (for past week’s posts, head to my Zero Waste page)

This week something sad happened right before weigh in.

Broken glass on a concrete floor
Broken hearted… though my heart’s not made of Pyrex!

I opened the dishwasher and a precariously placed Pyrex bowl fell out and smashed.  Sad sad face.  That stuff isn’t recyclable, so it had to be trashed.  So I have a ‘pre’ weigh in at 95g – a mere 6g increase on last week’s adjusted total. Last week, I reported in at 112g, but adjusted down to 89g – see why

Before the accident
Before the accident

And a radically heavier weigh in at 607g (518g adjusted – making 512g a pyrex bowl and the associated vacuum fluff and glass shards)

After the accident :(
After the accident 🙁

I’ll miss my smaller pyrex bowl and might try to find an op shop replacement. Otherwise I’ll be back to the outlet nearby for a new one.

Do you drink take away hot beverages?

Waste Wednesday update

Welcome to Wednesday’s waste update.  Here’s the damage:

Weighing in at Wed May 29th
Weighing in at Wed May 29th

I’ve taken another photo, with the ‘recyclable’ bags removed, so the weight is down a little more!

Waste weigh in  with recyclable bags removed
Waste weigh in with recyclable bags removed

29 May: 112g 89g
22 May: 245g
15 May: 80g
8 May: 98g
1 May: 171g
24 Apr: 183g
17 Apr: 172g
4 Apr: 232g

Bedroom 340g on 1 May
Bathroom 626g on 22 May

Overall total = 2.259kg 2.236kg

This week, there was no McDonald’s missions, so that kept waste down (cause thankfully City of Sydney accept pizza boxes in recycling :D)


  • Toilet paper bag: used as a ‘bin bag’ to collect and easily weight my waste.  I could move to paper wrapped loo paper from the co-op
  • Almond meal bag: something the co-op doesn’t sell in bulk.  Maybe I should look into making my own?
  • Noddle bag: again, rice noodles not a bulk item at my co-op.  Wonder where else might sell them bulk in Sydney?
  • Cookie bag: gift from a colleague – waxy paper with a plastic window
  • Command 3m hooks packaging + backing strips: Y’all know how much I love these things, and I needed to expand my spice ‘rack’
  • Jar seals: Why do glass jars with metal lids come with a plastic ‘seal’ over the lid? Is the ‘pop top’ not enough.  Grr!
  • Razor tray: yes I bought a large quantity of razors (a long while ago) and I just tidied the drawer they were in and removed the plastic ‘tray’ they came in.  I’d hoped buying 10 would lessen the overall impact of the packaging, though I’m dubious.
Here's what's inside the bag of trash for this week.
Here’s what’s inside the bag of trash for this week.

Non-plastics/or ‘I’m not sure *what* that is

  • Butter paper: someone suggested I could compost/bokashi these, but I’m not 100% sure?
  • Baking paper: Usually I’d reuse it, but this got a little brown and crispy
  • Foil-y bag: from a snack on site, which was protein balls.  Why didn’t I just get a banana?  Hindsight is 20/20
  • Sticker: from a yoghurt pot I’m reusing.  If the pot is recyclable, is the sticker?  Or is that something removed in the recycling process?  I wasn’t sure, so I trashed it
  • Blister packs: the last of the lozenges

Back on track after a ‘heavy’ week last week.  Whilst in some ways it’s seems like I’ve plateaued, I’m still turning things over in my head.  Looking at the choices I’m making, and what alternatives there are, which I’ve drafted a post on.  Things like, a metal handled razor, or even a razor with replaceable blades (rather than ‘disposable’ like I use now).  Toliet paper could be bought elsewhere. I could do away with some food stuffs that keep coming up with non recyclable packaging?  Seeing two are gluten free products, I’m loathed the limit my diet further!

Actually, I need to familiarise myself more with Coles’ supermarket’s plastic bag recycling policy, as pictured in this post, to see if some bags could head there for recycling.  Right! That’s on the to do list for the week. <– done this, see the edit above!

As always, alternatives and suggestions warmly welcomed.