Waste Wednesday update

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

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 ūüôĀ
  • 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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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.

Linen closet audit

I’m not sure what it is about Bea at Zero Waste Home that sometime rubs me up the wrong way. I’m sure she doesn’t mean to make me feel inferior (actually, only you have the power to change how you feel). ¬†But I see some things in her life, and flat out reject that it could ever be me! ¬†So her recent Facebook photo has riled me up, and when my comment got eaten by an e monster, I figured I’d rather type out a whole blog post instead! ¬†Here I look at her (very white) zero waste linen closet, and look at my (not so white) line closet.

Bea, at Zero Waste Home's linen closetsource: www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com
Bea, at Zero Waste Home’s linen closetsource: www.zerowastehome.blogspot.com

 -VS-

Linen closet. Top shelf (r to l): Doona covers and matching pillows case, pillow cases & cushion covers, surplus fabric Bottom shelf (r to l): Bath towel, bathmat, box containing hand towel and face washers
Linen closet.
Top shelf (r to l): Aqua doona covers and matching pillow cases, guest sheets and pillow cases, pillow cases & cushion covers, surplus fabric
Bottom shelf (r to l): Bath towel, bathmat, box containing hand towel and face washers

My sheets:

1 set on the bed (with two pillowcases), 1 set in the cupboard (with two pillow cases).

Justification: I air dry everything, so I need sheets the night of washing day. ¬†I won’t compromise on owning a dryer. ¬†And I don’t have central or other heating to ‘speed’ things along.

Linen cupboard off site storage. Sheets lives in the top of my wardrobe cause sheets dry upstairs AND get used upstairs, so why store them downstairs?
Linen cupboard off site storage. Sheets lives in the top of my wardrobe cause sheets dry upstairs AND get used upstairs, so why store them downstairs?

My ‘other’ sheets:

1 single pink flat and fitted sheet – there’s a small stain on the flat top sheet, so I avoid using it. ¬†With two pillow cases.

1 double pale blue flat and fitted sheet – there’s no need for the fitted, but I use the flat with the pink sheet above. With two white pillows cases

Justification: I have a single foam mattress for guests. ¬†Need to return the blue set to my parents I think – no need for it in my house! <- drafting posts works wonders, I’ve done this already!

My bath towels:

2 white towel: 1 in use, 1 in the cupboard

Justification: I don’t wash daily, more like weekly. ¬†As soon as the towel noticably smells, it goes in the washing basket til I generate enough washing to run a white load

My ‘other’ towels (guests included)

3 small blue towels – one for guests (ie BF, therefore in regular use), one for water polo, one excess (currently for my use at the BF’s place)

1 small navy towel (damaged) – gym towel (or spills etc at a pinch) <– this is headed to an animal shelter, I never like it when I use it, cause of the hole

1 large navy towel – additional guests, spills, mishaps, protect furniture as needed

Justification: I don’t wash the polo or gym towel after each use, therefore they are single purpose. I could perhaps have 1-2 less towel though.

Exif_JPEG_PICTURE
Towels in action at my house recently!

Why was my towel in the kitchen? Well I usually hang it upstairs but I didn’t want to wake the sleeping guests.

Bathmats, hand towel and face washers

2 blue bathmats

3 blue hand towels

3 blue face washers

My doona covers:

1 on the bed – Navy and white + 2 pillow cases *usually on my bed*

1 for whilst the other dries – Aqua stripe + 2 pillow cases

1 that’s become a drop sheet – Black and white check (bless your hearts, professional painters, I’m not sure what I was paying for!) + 4 pillow cases!

My blankets:

1 cotton queen sized aqua blanket *lives on the bed whilst the weather warrants it – 9 months of so*

1 thick knitted grey wool throw *this lives on the sofa in winter, and on the foot of the bed in summer*

1 knitted teal throw *this lives on the sofa in summer (and likely winter too, it’s new and I love it)*

1 single sized quilt cover (signature quilt from school) *this lives on the bed in winter and the sofa in summer*

Overall, I have some excesses – duplicate doona covers and sheets. ¬†And a lot of pillow cases! ¬†Writing this list has promoted me to donate some excess bathmats, and return a sheet set to my parents. ¬†I could have one less face washer and hand towel, but they aren’t ‘nice enough’ for the local op shop, so I’ll just ‘use them up’.

How about you? How’s your linen closest supplies?

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 ‚Äď 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 ‚Äď 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 Рthat 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 ūüôĀ
  • 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)?

The world in stamps

Pinterest be damned – so many good ideas. ¬†And this Easter was the weekend to make the excess stamps from my childhood collection, and poster I’d bought for this almost a year ago, a thing of great beauty! ¬†I shared my pinspiration photo in my long weekend to do list post, and now for the ‘how to’ of what I did, and how it turned out!

Stamp Map of the worldA source (not the original): http://www.designpoi.com/2010/11/stamp-map/
Stamp Map of the world
A source (not the original): http://www.designpoi.com/2010/11/stamp-map/

I realised that I didn’t have enough stamps from China or Russia, or South America to cover the land mass. ¬†So I decided I’d do all the map in Australian stamps – using all my doubles and triples. ¬†It took a while, even with the template.

Seeing if I could use country specific stamps for each continent.
Seeing if I could use country specific stamps for each continent.

1. I struck the template A4 pages together, to make the continents. (This challenged my mind just a little!)

Opps, the Europe A4 page is landcape, that stumped me for a while!
Opps, the Europe A4 page is landcape, that stumped me for a while!

2. Then I had to cut them out – not that easy with a runny nose. ¬†I decided I’d lie on the sofa and read a chapter or two, then cut some, then lay back down. ¬†Seemed to work, but slowed progress down considerably.

Cutout almost complete - the islands are still attached
Cutout almost complete – the islands are still attached

3. Next, I laid out the two sheets of poster paper (which having been stored in a rolled tube, took some weights to coerce back to flat overnight).

4. I traced around my maps that I’d cut out. ¬†I kept little islands (you know, like England and New Zealand) attached to bigger land masses, until I’d outlined everything I could. ¬†Then I cut out the islands, and finished off their outlines. ¬†This way, hopefully most things are in the right location, at least according to the template I used!

5. ¬†Laying of the stamps – this took a while. ¬†I started with the¬†Americas – laid them all out, then shifted them out of place, and stuck each back down with PVA – perhaps not the best glue for the purpose, but what was on hand. (Then I made dinner for my brothers!) ¬†I then got one brother to assist in stamp placement for Africa/Asia. ¬†All in all the laying of stamps and sticking of stamps probably took about 5hrs (?!) ¬†Didn’t help that my stash of Australian stamps kept running down and I’d have to flip through my albums to find more.

North America's close up
North America’s close up

6. The last step is to overlay the country specific stamps in the right location. ¬†Now that I have all the landmasses collage-d with stamps, I don’t need to worry about gaps etc. ¬†I can just find a stamp for the small countries and call it done.

World map with Australian stamps
World map with Australian stamps

With the stamps I have, I could have done the Oceania on a poster page four times the size, and still had enough stamps! But a world map is what this girl wanted, so a world map she made! I have to thank The Crafty Cow for their great template – I was stumped til I had that in my hot little hands!

I might update this post with a photo of it bluetacked to my wall – it’s not the most professional piece of art, but I’m happy with it!

Under the sink contact

A while ago I saw book contact, in the checkerboard pattern. I thought it was so cool – and I’m not sure if it was the chicken or the egg, but I also wanted to protect the base of my under sink cupboard, which occasionally get soaked when I forget I’ve been draining the Bokashi. I’d seen the same product at both Mitre 10 hardware store and Kmart. Always price conscious, I bought some at Kmart for about $5, knowing I could easily return it – days later I noted that Mitre 10’s equivalent products was $42 a roll! Who knows why or how Mitre 10 sells it at that price, but I was mighty chuffed at my savings!

Before
Before
Halfway there - Checkerplate book contact
Halfway there – Checkerplate book contact

I contacted the back half of the cupboard a while ago. I had to do it in two pieces (to get it around the pipework. I also chose to create a skirting in contact, for that little extra protection. For reasons I don’t recall, after I did the back half, I called it a day. So this weekend, I thought best to complete the job (and use up the surplus contact I had). Without the pipe having such a great impact, I could lay it in once piece, just trimming it to fit. Sadly, I didn’t have quite enough to make a skirting on both sides, but it still looks pretty slick!

Checkplate contact completed!
Checkplate contact completed!
Here's the cupboard in action - Left: trash; Middle: recycling; Right: Bokashi bin
Here’s the cupboard in action – Left: trash; Middle: recycling; Right: Bokashi bin

Zero Waste update

The things that are making it into my bin ūüôĀ 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?

Zero waste – things I learnt today

So I think I’m doing ok on my waste situation, but today I stumbled on some great things I hadn’t considered, and will look at starting to do.

Plastic funnel

Admittedly, I don’t currently have any funnels – I think I’m a pretty good pourer! ¬†(I also don’t have a potato masher or a pastry brush – might have to acquire the former!). ¬†However, I was made aware by Sarah at Suburban Pioneers that you can make them out of old plastic bottles. ¬†BRILLIANT! ¬†I’ll get on that with some of my excess recycled plastic bottles.

Simple and smart!Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com
Simple and smart!
Source: simpleliving-sherrie.blogspot.com

Rubber Bands

I do have a stock pile of rubber bands from eating produce (if you read Sarah’s post, it’s quite funny as she suggest if you’re not collecting them you’re either not eating healthy or well.. not eating healthily!). ¬†But I never thought to make them out of rubber gloves. ¬†I don’t use rubber gloves to wash up anymore, but recently I’ve seen the damage it’s done to my hands. ¬†So at least when I next buy gloves, I’ll have a ‘reuse’ in mind.

Fly paper

I don’t buy this, but I’ve been starting to think I might/could/should. ¬†There’s some pesky little flying things, I’m not sure where they come from, but they aren’t leaving. ¬†So I shall entice them with honey and sugar laden paper (cause I’m certainly not making a dent in my supplies of either over lent). ¬†Trash Backwards had a great how to here.

Trash Backwards

Cling Wrap

I already don’t have cling wrap (though parchment paper and alfoil still hang out at my place). ¬†I do have two ‘Abeego’ wraps¬†(sadly I lost the most versatile large one), which are a company that make beeswax impregnated food wraps. ¬†Now I know I can ¬†DIY reusable food wraps¬†myself. ¬†Admittedly if I’m mailing ordering beeswax, perhaps it’s easier just to order the wraps from Abeego from Canada. ¬†They do send lovely little messages on the invoice!

So versatile source: www.abeego.ca
So versatile source: www.abeego.ca

Furniture Protectors

Oh my, I’ve been to Bunnings Hardware FAR too often, and sometimes for little felt ‘feet’ for my dining chairs. ¬†They come with velcro on one side, and felt on the other. ¬†Weirdly the packets offer ‘extra’ felt, but not velcro, and I got sick of the excess felts, so bought a string of velcros – but of course I only need one side. ¬†No matter which way I’ve been playing it, I’ve had surplus. ¬†So, I was delighted to realise – i could use old thongs (flip flops to those that think I was talking about intimates there!). ¬†My most recent dead thongs have long since done to landfill back in Oct, and my new thongs are going strong.

Door Stops

Now, I only have two doors in my house – the one on the bathroom and the entry. ¬†So doorstop needs are limited. ¬†But I did buy one rubber one, and it’s still going strong. However this is WAY nicer, and given all shoes live near my entry, it would work so well!

Trash Backwards' great idea  source:http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop
Trash Backwards great idea at http://blog.trashbackwards.com/2012/06/01/trash-hacker-worn-out-footwear-to-doorstop

The best part of the Suburban Pioneers blog was Sarah saying if you’re so good that you don’t generate any of the things for reuse, your neighbours or friendly surely do! Awesome, and oh so true!

Zero waste home (or the truth about my garbage)

Inspired by one of my favourite bloggers, I thought I’d speak a little more on my aim to be ‘zero waste‘.

Firstly, when I moved into my own place, I bought a Bokashi bucket. ¬†Interestingly, both my local friends also ‘bokashi’ their food scraps. ¬†Alas, both of those couples have gardens. ¬†I do not. ¬†So I need to find a home for my ‘compost’ periodically – either taking it to my parents (and I fear I’ll accidently drive like a maniac and the contents will spill in my car!), or offer it on freecycle.

Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/
Photo credit: http://www.bokashi.com.au/bokashi-one-composting/bokashi-one-composting/

Whilst I like having next to no ‘wet’ waste other than that the Bokashi contains, I’m not 100% behind the Bokashi experience. ¬†It does smell a fair bit, which means every time I open the lid, or drain the liquid (which I then put down the sink as advised). ¬†I wish it was all just a little more¬†pleasant¬†for me!

I also recycle all paper, glass, aluminium and plastic that’s suitable in our council area.

In order to limit my waste I

– use the butcher for meats (I take an ice cream container). ¬†Sadly, meat trays from the super market are not recyclable in our area, even though the materials themselves are ūüôĀ

Рbuy bulk occasionally Рhowever, I have to take a bus, which is far more planning that the block to the grocery store.  However, where my ingredients come in plastic, my preference is the co-op.  Except, they have EXHORBITANTLY priced chocolate bits (which I use in brownies v v regularly), so I try to get my friends to grab some when they are at Costco.

– refuse – every time I get junk mail from companies I use, I ring them and ask them to stop. ¬†I also have a no junk mail sticker, but it seems take away menus and apartment sales flyers still end up being deposited ūüôĀ

– return – where I get a container such as my chinese medicine, I take it back to them to reuse the container.

– solid shampoo – way simplier in my opinion. ¬†Solid conditioner leaves a lot to be desired, so I just cut my hair off (ok that wasn’t the reason!)

What ends up in the trash?

РPlastics!!! They drive me nuts.  My new work uniforms come with a plastic bag РI try to reuse that as a bin liner.  The ring pulls in some milk cartons.  The little foil/plastic caps on juise bottles

– My choc chip packets from IGA often end up in there – as did the dried apricots I buy for the BF.

– Broken rubber bands from herbs and vegies (I collect the intact ones, but my collection is exceeding my needs!).

– Butter wrappers – whilst I keep them on hand to grease tins, I can’t endlessly stockpile them.

– Cotton buds (or Q tips) – a habit Bea at zerowastehome.blogspot.com suggests I break, but it’s not happened yet!

– Tissues – when I use them (ie when I’m sick) ¬†I think the quantity is far too high to add them to a composting system. ¬†And again, on quantity, it’d be A LOT of hankichiefs!

– Blister packs from tablets – almost everything we get here is in a box and a blister pack, rather than a bottle like in the US.

Rubber bands
Source: en.wikipedia.org
Cotton Buds
Source: cellonline.ordg
Source: www.istockphoto.com
Source: www.istockphoto.com

If I’m honest, a large reason for my elaborate system (composting, sorting recycling from trash etc), is because I’m lazy – I don’t want to have to take out stinky waste too often. ¬†Twice a week, the bins aren’t even in the bin room, they are out on the street, which is even more hard work. ¬†(amusingly, my apartment is physically the closest to the bin room and the street side pick up – just getting there is convoluted!)

I plan to continue to track what I produce in non recyclable waste, and look at how I can continue to reduce it. ¬†Here’s hoping it doesn’t all get too hard!