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!

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.

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!


  • 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


  • 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:


  • 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.