Waste Wednesday update

Would it be a Wednesday without a waste audit?  This is more about keeping me accountable and one day, zero waste, than entertaining you readers. However, I hope some people over time might pick up some of my quirks in their own life – and you might share some of your work arounds to make your household less ‘trashy’. (Oh i just love a lame pun!)

This week saw the bathroom bin long overdue for emptying:

Bathroom waste 22 May
Bathroom waste 22 May (626g)

Kitchen waste (in a parcel satchel):

Kitchen Waste on 22 May
Kitchen Waste on 22 May (245g)

For those playing at home, here’s this week’s weigh in and comparisons to past weeks:

22 May: 245g (0.54 Lbs)

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 = 2.147kg (4.7 pounds)

So a big week in the kitchen, which I’ll explain in my breakdown of what’s in my trash.  I’ll also look at what’s in the bathroom bin and look at where I can reduce!

Plastics

  • McDonald’s straws and cup tops: BF had McD’s twice this week (and I had it once).  One time can be accounted for by his power being out and him picking it up on his way to mine.  The other time was a treat for lunch (I never said I was classy!)
  • Choc chips packet – a future post will outline my alternatives to this packaging and my reasons for retaining this wasteful choice
  • Silicon – the bathroom bin’s not been emptied since I did the resiliconing in the bathroom
  • Rags with silicon on them – no hope washing that stuff off
  • Plastic bags – the key to removing silicon from your hands
  • Lollypop wrapper and stick – from after my flu jab 🙁
  • Cotton budszerowastehome says you should just do away with them.  I (re)use ear plugs every night, if I don’t remove some of the wax I’ll be churning through more earplugs, so…
  • Floss – is it plastic? In any case, I’m still working through the existing roll

Non-plastics

  • McDonald’s food soiled cardboard wrappers
  • Tissues – my Sunday/Monday sniffles were excessive.  I’m using the hankies, but my need is greater than the public can handle in homemade pink hankies, though I have been using them a lot at home/in the car etc
  • Blister packs – namely from my lozenges

Overall, I’m ok with the weigh in, even though it’s higher than other weeks. The silicon is a necessary evil (unfortunately).  Blister packs are also something I have no work around for – other than to make my own lozenges, but I just can’t imagine them keeping well, and I wouldn’t be thinking of making them when ill.  Perhaps I can use up my last few, and then not buy anymore, and settle for hot tea.  Tea’s great, except when I’m running to site for work.  Tissues are on a slow decline, though I expect some use to continue when I’m without enough hankies, or I’m not at my home and I fall ill.  McDonald’s, is well, slack! But I’m not trying to change the bf, and I’m not sending him home with rubbish.  I figure it’s just best to be honest and accountable here.  Luckily the unsoiled items did end up in recycling at least.

Waste Wednesday update

It’s Wednesday, must be waste update day! (Just envision a bleary eyed version of me, weighing waste at 6.20am in the morning.  It’s a sight, let me assure you!).  If it makes  your stomach churn (there’s only the one photo below) then stop by tomorrow for my pantry audit.

Waste at 15 May
Waste at 15 May

Weight at 15 May: 98g (= 367- 269)

The subtraction in the parentheses is because I don’t take out the trash weekly, so the number on the scale isn’t the week’s weight, but a few weeks.

And previous ‘weigh ins’:
Weight at 8 May: 98g (= 269 – 171)
Weight at 1 May: 171g
Weight at 24 Apr: 183g
Weight at 17 Apr: 172g
Weight at 4 Apr: 232g

Maintaining the lower number from last week, which is impressive.  Things in this week’s waste:

Plastics

  • Plastic bowl: from farm fresh figs.  I didn’t have an alternate container in my car.  And there’s no recyclable symbols on it
  • Plastic salad lid: again, no recycling symbols.  My lunch on site (the bottom did appear to be recyclable though :))
  • Cling wrap: from half a celery from the green grocer
  • Plastic bag: from 1kg of tomato on sale at the green grocer
  • Zip lock bags: one has bacon in it, and I’m not 100% sure I can get it safely clean for use again.  The other bag was of low quality, so it got binned after a long service

Non Plastics

  • Tissues: there’s still a box lingering at home, and at work.  But hankies are in wider circulation, though I’m not enraptured, I’m allowing myself to adjust
  • Stickers: from fruit, and also from the salad

I’m happy with my progress, but a little frustrated at the same sorts of things always ending up in my bin!  And one of these days, I need to empty the bathroom bin, and that’ll see a spike in my numbers (and some more regular trash offenders!)

One item I diligently wash and recycle are take away coffee cups and their plastic lids.  I love a plastic lid (takes me back to a childhood of sippy cups perhaps), but I’ve cleaned up littered areas, and these things are SO annoying.  They are flimsy enough that they flake and turn into small pieces too hard to pick up.  Although they are largely recyclable, I can only hope that by putting them in the building’s recycling bins, I am ‘ending’ their life properly.  But I’m not naive – our building’s occupants really struggle to understand that plastic bags don’t go in recycling – no matter how many pictorial stickers are put up!  It really gets my goat.  Which brings me to:  would you rather trash something that you’re not sure is recyclable, or chance it and add it to the recycling bin?

Waste Wednesday update

Sorry for my AWOL’ness.  Work got busy, basically, and I hadn’t queued posts 🙁

Waste at 8 May 2013
Waste at 8 May 2013

Found an ‘old’ stash of tissues that hadn’t migrated into the bin, so whilst I’m over to using the hankies, these are ‘old’ (and there is still some tissue use). I wish I could get a handle on my allergies. I’m SURE I didn’t have as many allergies before I tried to limit my gluten and lactose. Maybe I’m making it up, it’s hard to know.

Here’s how I’m tracking:

Weight at 8 May: 98g (= 269 – 171 from last week – I don’t empty the trash weekly, as none of it is wet/smelly/icky)

Weight at 1 May: 171g

Weight at 24 Apr: 183g

Weight at 17 Apr: 172g

Weight at 4 Apr: 232g

It’s another good week, but I spent a long weekend in Brisbane – where I met one of my regular readers! I also realise I didn’t take home my waste for take out sushi for Tuesday lunch, now the plastic wrapper on my cheesecake (though I did ask for no bag/box, and ate it like a heathen walking around!).

The round out is dull – there’s tissues, some chocolate wrappers (from working back on Monday night)… Dinner last night generate no ‘trash’ – just the onion skin, and the pumpkin and spices were all in the freezer/cupboard. Yummy pumpkim soup too.

Short and sweet – over and out.

Waste Wednesday update

**Sorry, despite my best efforts, this published prior to the latest updates. Hopefully this won’t cause too many issues.**

Look what I discovered at Coles! (My local IGA doesn't have this)
Look what I discovered at Coles! (My local IGA doesn’t have this)

Here’s the last few week’s progress on the kitchen bin:

Weight at 1 May: 171g

Weight at 24 Apr: 183g

Weight at 17 Apr: 172g

Weight at 4 Apr: 232g

I also emptied the bedroom bin at a weight of 340g

A round up of the latest trash additions:

Non plastics (or mixed material)

  • Fabric offcuts – the bits that didn’t make hankies.  Once I realised I had ‘overage’ I adjusted sizing not to waste anymore

    I spent the best part of Friday (rostered day off) hemming hankies!  Now to wash and start using! The BF thinks my grandkids will inherit unused hankies, I've made so many.
    I spent the best part of Friday (rostered day off) hemming hankies! Now to wash and start using! The BF thinks my grandkids will inherit unused hankies, I’ve made so many.
  • Blister packs – from my pill packet & painkillers – no hope of alternatives there
  • Silicon arm band – from a concert recently, not even sure why I ‘had’ to have it, they made every volunteer have one
  • Silcon from the vacuum, redid around the bath on the weekend
  • Ice cream wrapper & stick – yep… not sure there’s a way around that foily bag
  • Reeses cup – greasy paper cup plus the plastic wrapper.  A gift.
  • Insect repellent impregnated pads and foil wrappers – I’ve moved to a liquid dispenser, so less rubbish less often hopefully
  • Butter wrapper – after using it to grease a pan
  • Band aids – is there any real way around this?

Plastics

  • Yoghurt pots – stolen from the work kitchen fridge.  Actually they were out of date, it’s a community service from my cleaning it out.  Anyhow, I don’t usually buy non reusable yoghurt containers.
  • Tea box wrapper – just silly this is.  I should look at loose leaf teas in the future, when I master some of my other waste offenders.
  • Pen – it’s not working anymore, so it’s just trash 🙁
  • Retractable pass holder – it stopped clipping onto my work pants, so it’s use was flawed.  These fail far too often for my liking, and are all mixed materials.  But carrying the pass in my wallet or pocket aren’t as reliable.
  • Salami packet – will start to buy at deli soon! (UPDATE: did that yesterday!)
  • Membership card – I’m fighting this company from sending me monthly magazines, when I conquer that, I’ll work on membership cards that I never need or use.
  • Toothbrush – this was the cleaning toothbrush, so a long and illustrious life. But it plan snapped in half
  • Sticky tape – removed from a folder, so the folder can have a new and improve use hopefully
Death to the cleaning toothbr
Death to the cleaning toothbr

Regular Offenders

  • Tissues – I’ve purchased a sheet and two baby throws, cut them down to size, next I’ll hem them and have a HUGE stash of hankies!
  • Matches – still in the trash for now?
  • Plastic bags from food – from corn flakes (which I could look into bulk buying), cheese (found a deli near the BFs and they are happy to accept BYO containers to fill), oat cakes (found a recipe to make them!), brownies (could have been taken to Coles form the top picture), Rice noodles (should see if I can buy at the bulk co op store)

So overall, a bigger overall total, and a little more in the kitchen bin since I started ensuring trash generated at work from my eating etc, was added in.  Don’t want to be rigorous at home and lax at work.

Pleased to find a way to recycle plastic bags from cereal and the like, though I’m dubious at how successful the program really is – you know people like to put trash in whatever bin, even when they are special purpose.  Suggestion, as always, are welcomed.

Waste Wednesday update

Another week, another waste audit.  I have started weighing my trash (my last post was the first in what I hope will be a series).  I don’t weigh my organic waste, which I use a Bokashi bin for, nor do I weight everything I recycle.

First things first, I was just reading ‘Love Food Hate Waste‘ and was surprised that they say the packaging your single cucumber in, preserves it better.  Nonetheless, I know that Simply Being Mum and others have tried to avoid the wrapped cucumbers – seems pretty prevalent in the UK, but it’s not uncommon to find them in Australia.  All sorts of packaging is ‘good’ for the food.  And that we waste more food than we do packaging (‘we’ being the UK or England… but the point stands)

Source: http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/content/naked-truth-about-how-packaging-can-help-you-waste-less-food
Source: http://england.lovefoodhatewaste.com/content/naked-truth-about-how-packaging-can-help-you-waste-less-food

As I mentioned above, I won’t be weighing my ‘wet’ organic waste – it’s just a step more than I’m willing to get involved with! But it was ‘food for thought’ (oh, a dad joke, I’m sorry!)

So in this week’s total trash weighed in at 172g (last weigh in was 232g on 4 April).  I was away on the weekend for a wedding, so there’s been less cooking at home than usual.

Non plastics

  • Tissues – I might try soaking them in water, and burying them. Would be lovely to have my OWN garden to simplify this!
  • Matches – like skewers last week, what’s the eco way to trash these?
  • Food soiled paper – grease-proof paper and a cardboard crepe holder.  These might be able to be composted/buried at a stretch?
  • Ribbon off cuts – only the bits I cut to stop the ends from fraying.  I’m sure this organza ribbon is essentially a plastic, but who knows now days?
  • String – from a gift bag that was otherwise recyclable
  • Alfoil – this, I now believe, is able to be put in the recycling bin.  I usually use alfoil more than once before trashing, for a little extra eco credit

Plastics

  • Plastic cup – a restorative juice from the green grocer – no apparent recycling symbols
  • Straw – from the juice above
  • Plastic bags from food – this week there was ones from almond meal & the spice sachets (snipping the tops off to make the resealable bit work).  Plastic bag and tray from savory biscuits
  • Cling wrap – from half a pumpkin – they didn’t have whole ones on display and as it was, half was too much!
  • Sponge – my Bokashi draining overflowed, and it’s a horrible smell, so I disposed of the relatively new sponge after mopping it up.
Wednesday Waste - 17 April 2013
Wednesday Waste – 17 April 2013

What are your thoughts on food waste vs food wrapping waste? I know some of my commenters are committed to a wasteless process with fresh produce, kudos to you. I suppose I could implement my food waste audit into this post (without weighing – that just seems too hard!)?  As always, suggestions on limiting the waste listed will be gratefully appreciated.

Waste Wednesday update

Yep, I’ve resorted to weighing my “trash”. I don’t actually call it trash, I call it rubbish, but it doesn’t have the same drawl… Anyhow.

Week 2 weigh in
Week 2 weigh in

Am I getting any better at getting to zero waste? Well how would I measure that? Which is why I have started weighing bags of the stuff, and so over time we can look at how often I’m sending things to landfill and also how much, in real terms, is being sent.

I have three ‘trash’ bins in my apartment- one in the bedroom, one in the bathroom and one in the kitchen. The kitchen gets emptied far more regularly, with the other two being on a ‘when full’ basis (seeing I don’t have anything decomposing and stinky, this doesn’t worry me, and it saves wasting the precious few plastic bags I have, by having a routine to emptying the bins). My weight totals aren’t likely to be consistent given they rely on reusing plastic bags that enter my home.

Here’s what I’ve tracked so far
610g on 29 March
232g on 4 April

Easter weekend trash bag
Easter weekend trash bag

What was in there? Let me break it down to serial offenders, and one time specials.

Serial offenders:

  • Tissues – will too many of these disturb the Bokashi bin’s balance?
  • Backing from 3M adhesive – I don’t ‘always’ have this, but often enough that it features regularly. There was a lot this week due to the lighting in the dining room coming with it.
  • Backing from contact adhesive (for under the sink protection)
  • Plastic bags from food – apricots, again! cheese – again! snacks – again! Rice noodles – something that’s not at the bulk store. Rocket – plastic tray AND bag (the green grocer was out that day, otherwise I did almost dodge this waste)
  • Meat trays – from the grab and go section, so things like prosciutto, prawns and the like. I really need a local deli to cut this one out.
  • Plastic wrappers from recyclable bottles – I think I’m just esoteric.  These are probably recyclable.  But seeing I separated the bottle from the bottle for another purpose, I just went and ‘binned’ the plastic sleeve.
  • Sponge – despite everyone’s thoughts that these are germ hoarders, I remain a sponge user. Every now and then, they get too old, smelly, fall-apart-y and they get trashed. I know I can be compostable ones from the US, but the mailing costs (even within the US) are exorbitant…
  • Wooden skewer – conflicted on these – they aren’t really compostable, but then they aren’t really trash… nor recycling. And when in doubt :s
  • Band aids – not sure I will ever be using a zero waste adaption
4th April trash (reusing the toilet roll bag)
4th April trash (reusing the toilet roll bag)

One time offenders:

  • Old silicon
  • Cracked mug – these aren’t permitted for recycling, and wouldn’t be worthy of a second hand shop.
  • Stamps – I skipped a lot of trashing with my recent DIY stamp map, BUT, I did discover stamps that were too damaged for collecting/swaping/using, so they went in the bin
  • Chocolate tray – to celebrate the end of Lent, my friends brought me some Lindt chocolate balls, which come with a pesky inner tray that isn’t recyclable 🙁
  • Baggage tags – I refuse to boycott travel so I don’t have this type of waste – this was a friend’s baggage tag though.
  • Easter egg foil – at least it’s not regularly Easter. Wonder if this foil might actually be recyclable?
  • Sim card – mixed plastics with metals. At least it’s not a regular trash item

This post is inspired by the work done by Everyday Life on a Shoe String to Slim your Bin and as always Zero Waste Home.

Any helpful suggestions and comments on how I can reduce the regular trash items (or one time offenders)?

Zero Waste update

The things that are making it into my bin 🙁 I welcome suggestions from readers (as well as offering my own, to date) on how I can keep the bin waste down! (I’ve decided to go without images – there’s no need, you all have imaginations I hope!)

In the trash, there’s been

  • old underwear: well I’m not going to go without, and there’s no way I can ‘recycle’ these, so maybe let that one through to the keeper?
  • muesli plastic bags: I have a preferred muesli, due to it’s low sugar content.  I suppose I could make my own, with all the individual ingredients.  But normal oats vs the oats in muesli are different (from the muesli, I was eating oats everyday for a year or so straight – and I just got fed up!)
  • gluten free snack bars: I love that I can ‘grab and go’ and they are GF and sugar free.  Individual wrappers – not so great.  I need to find a ‘snack’ recipe or 10 so I can make my own and nix the waste – suggestions welcome.
  • dried apricot & date bags: I saw these in the bulk bins at the co-op but the apricots were black (obviously more natural, but might turn the BF off them), and more pricey…. decisions
  • stock cube wrappers: I like that they are small, and shelf stable.  I do not like trying to crush them up!  And of course the waste.  The issue with DIY stock is that I’d need a much bigger freezer… :s
  • plastic mailing bag: thank you to 71toes.com.au and her blogging group for the mail, but the plastic mailing bag, while thin and durable, is just plain waste.  And I can’t help how people chose to mail things to me.
  • meat tray: this is a rare ‘waste’ – as I try to take a reusable container to the butcher.  However, the butcher’s hours are shorter than the supermarket’s, so on this day, I missed the butcher.   I can easily fix this one!
  • cheese bags: how can I get cheese (any cheese) without waste, given I don’t have a local deli or similar?  I admit I could grate my own (rather than buying grated packs) – but whilst all supermarket cheese is wrapped, I’m going for the ‘easiest’ option of the cheeses!
  • cotton buds: I know they are bad for me, but it’s a hard habit to crack – suggestions?
  • floss: both the thread, and soon enough, the container it comes in.
  • tissues: I’m just scared I’ll ruin the balance in my bokashi bucket.

Have you got any miracle solutions to these waste woes?  Anything that’s worked for you?