Waste Wednesday – a normal week

Welcome to Wednesday’s weigh in…  Every week, I try to be zero waste, as per my council (City of Sydney’s) catch phrase.  Despite the garbo telling me it’s all a marketing ploy, I choose to track my landfill rubbish, and look at ways I could improve,

Here’s this week’s picture:

Waste weigh in for WEd 15 Jan 2014
Waste weigh in for WEd 15 Jan 2014

184 grams is pretty good.  It certainly helps when there’s no broken plates in there, like last week.

My shopping had a small contribution, all the little plastic hangers from the socks, and the stickers from the toes, ended up in landfill.  I’m wondering, would Bea Johnson of Zero Waste Home find alternatives with no waste, and pay more?  Or would she politely give the cashier back the non recyclable rubbish these generated?  What do you think?

So how am I going with this weigh in business?  Well how about a nerdy little graph for you?

My weigh in's since moving in August
My weigh in’s since moving in August

Not too shabby for a two person household, though I don’t really have a benchmark to compare to.  Here’s my cumulative total since I started at Easter 2013.

Tracking my cumulative total of landfill
Tracking my cumulative total of landfill

Hopefully I can make a year under 15kg. And then next year, I can try and beat it.

For those who are wondering, most non recyclable waste I generate at work, I take home to add to the weigh in. I don’t take home wet tea bags though, that’s just a bit much! I also keep, wash and rinse most single use coffee cups that we end up with out and about. I don’t bring home food soiled packaging, such as if we were to have fish and chips, or a burger out. Sadly, I’m not yet ‘crazy enough’ as some would say, to insist on using my packaging for ‘fast’ foods. Where possible, I aim for little or no plastic with my food, but I don’t always achieve it.

So would Bea Johnson, or you, return the sock’s hangers and stickers to the discount store cashier?  Or would you find somewhere else to buy your socks, and foot the possibly increased cost?

16 Replies to “Waste Wednesday – a normal week”

  1. Sarah, you are doing really well! As for the socks I had to think about this as I don't wear socks, can't stand my feet feeling trapped so also avoid shoes whenever possible. But I guess the answer is that I would remove the hangars and leave them at the store. I have done this when buying clothing for gifts. If there is a hangar I remove it as I set it on the counter to pay and causally comment that I thought the store could reuse them. No one has been offended yet, but then again I don't shop for new clothes often.

    1. I do leave clothes and other hangers at the store, but these were pretty firmly in some cardboard (which was recycled). So I'm not sure they could/would be reused, but in some cases, I agree with the way you suggest.

  2. I love the graph! What's your weekly average? What would it be if you knocked out the highest and the lowest? We are doing better on trash too. Lately we only bring a bag out to the curb for pickup about every 8 weeks. When I buy clothes, I do give the cashier back any plastic hangers, which they often reuse (maybe not the sock ones, though). However, I keep anything that is physically attached to the item (I wouldn't open a plastic clamshell container and leave it behind) – I might be reducing my household waste but someone is still throwing it out. If I want to buy something and I think the packaging is just ridiculous, I will shop around for an alternative, but I won't pay a ridiculous amount either.

    1. I'll answer your questions with next week's post, for everyone's enjoyment! I think I'll knock the top two and bottom two, as they are definite outliers.

      Wow, that's great – how big is the once-every-eight-weeks bag? If it's a shopping carrier bag, then I am amazed!

      I like your measured approach – I had two bra doovalakeys in the discount store – one is a blister pack of plastic for $2 and the other in cardboard for $2.50. I paid the 50c to end up with cardboard which I know is recyclable.

  3. You are doing a great job. I usually do leave hangers at the shop as most shops seem to like having them back. It's amazing all those small things like stickers and how much they must add to landfill overall, when they are really so unnecessary.

    1. I agree, in Target or Kmart, there's special bins for the coat hangers – and when I worked there, I used to remove them for customers.

      Yep, every sticker adds to landfill. Do we really need a sticker in addition to the cardboard – I think not! But these things are so cheap now…

  4. In my hometown, we have a "recycling" bin that takes all kinds of metal and plastics (paper and glass recycling are seperate though) – they sort it afterwards and can reuse about all metals and quite some plastics, but burn the rest. You can put anything from metal pots and pans to foil and even small electronics in that bin. Apparently recycling rates have improved by far since the sorting process got easier for the average person. So, I do put little hard plastic items like this and stickers in this recycling bin, but I'm not really sure how much of my waste is recycled and how much gets burned. My real waste bin is therefore very small and holds only leftovers from meat, like bones, (town's compost takes only plant material), textiles, ceramic shards, wood (all of which are only there if something broke) or something so dirty it can't be cleaned by all means (rare occassion, too).

    1. Welcome Sanna – we too have a pretty inclusive recycling system in Sydney, though I do worry that some of what we send to recycling can't be recycled and ends up in landfill. And some of me hates the idea that I'm just bundling it all up for someone else to put the sorting effort in – especially seeing a lot is still (surprisingly) done by hand!

      I almost never end up with bones – I could put them in my Bokashi waste bin (which decomposes, then you bury it), but I usually just buy boneless cuts of meat from the grocery store or a butcher.

      1. I am only left with bones about once every other month as well. 😉 Really, we have very little waste that doesn't go into some kind of recycling. I'd really like to know what they don't recycle over here though.

        1. Whereabouts do you live Sanna? It's hard to know for sure what is recycled, and what's collected but just burnt or made into landfill. All a little demoralising actually.

  5. If the bits won't be reused, I think leaving them behind still counts as my rubbish even if I didn't bring it into my home before getting rid of it. I appreciate that leaving it at the store can get a message about the unnecessary extras in packaging, but I bought that along with the rest of the product, so it then becomes my waste.

    As far as socks are concerned, I knit mine, so have a paper band from the yarn every so often, which gets recycled – possibly after a stint as a bookmark!

    1. You're right Liz, I think it's only handling over the problem to someone else to leave them in the store.

      Wow, I'm totally impressed that you knit your own socks – does this include 'business' socks, sports socks and warm winter socks? IN my mind, I think knitting, and see warm wooly winter socks, but I'm sure all socks can be knitted, right?

  6. What a great week! 🙂

    I've found socks wrapped in a cardboard sleeve but that's the closest I've seen to zero waste packaging for socks. Maybe next time take a picture of all that waste and send a quick email to the company who made the socks? You would think they could save some money by cutting back on those tiny little hangers and stickers anyway.

    1. I think the hangers must be so cheap and make them easy to hang. I think your idea is genius though, I\’m always taking snaps, so all I have to do is shoot off an email, and let them know my thoughts. Can\’t hurt!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.