Zero Waste Week was from Monday to Friday, September 2 to September 6. I took the previous week's trash out to the curb on Monday, but I didn't count that at part of my ZWW trash. In any case, the previous week's trash consisted of 3 bags of litter box/toilet paper and one bag of kitchen and other trash.
The ZWW site had a check list one could download and print, with a column for what the waste item was, why it was thrown away, how it was disposed of, and what could have been done differently to improve the situation. I didn't print it out, however (printer is not working as I haven't replaced the printer ink), thus saving money on printer ink and having to dispose of the empty printer cartridge or the piece of paper. As a result, I didn't keep a very detailed list. However, this is what I did:
-All tea bags, vegetable scraps, fruit cores and seeds, etc., were put in the compost pile. I am not sure what else I could have done to improve on that.
-The 4 plastic bags the beef and ground beef were placed in by the butcher (they were double bagged), were rinsed out and placed in the recycling bin. Rinsing them out, however, used up water, which is a precious resource where we are concerned. Our recent 4 year drought is over, but we live in an arid region and our water has to be brought in from a distance. In fact, during the drought, one of the water conserving measures that were being advocated was using disposable plates, etc., to save on the amount of water needed to wash reusable items! I am not sure what I could have done to improve on that, either. Even if I took a container from home to the store, in which to place the meat, first of all, I don't know if store policy would have allowed the butcher to have placed the meat in the containers as they are very concerned about possible contamination and lawsuits, and, secondly, I would still have to wash the containers. I am not quite willing to become vegetarian, which would be the only real solution to not needing to buy beef or other meat.
- The plastic box the blueberries came in was put in the recycling bin, as well as the two cans I opened (spaghetti sauce and tuna) and the plastic bag the grapes came in.
- I washed the plastic food container and lid from my daughter's Chinese take out dinner, last night, and kept it to reuse it. I reuse them when I am storing food or giving away food. They can also be recycled, if necessary.
- I wash and keep all plastic spoons and forks that come with these take out food; I reuse them for serving Dancer's tuna, and, eventually recycle them. I also read online that, inserting plastic forks with the tines pointed up, fairly closely, can deter cats from using a certain part of the garden - I am saving the forks for when I plant some winter vegetables, later on.
- all the paper such as grocery ads, envelopes, any junk mail that arrived in the mail, grocery receipts, etc., were placed in the recycling bin.
What I did throw away in the trash (to go to the landfill), were two plastic bags with litter box cleanings and toilet paper, the sticky labels removed from my prescription bottles which have information such as my name, prescription number, etc., the paper wrappings and protective seals from the bandaids I used to apply to my dog bite wounds and the used bandaids, themselves, a small amount of cooked food such as a bit of pasta that got left out too long and dried up, and a panty liner which I wore after the pap test in case I bled the way I did, last time. There will be another bag of litter box cleaning and toilet paper, tonight, too (I clean the litter box every other day).
I use reusable canvas tote bags for my groceries and, this week, I tried not to use many plastic produce bags when I grocery shopped. When I do use the plastic produce bags, I reuse them for various other things and recycle them, afterwards.
I use powdered laundry detergent, so there are no plastic pods to get rid of and the cardboard box the detergent comes in can be recycled. I use powdered dishwasher detergent, too, and once the box is over, I can recycle the box.
The one item I am not sure what to do with are the dryer sheets I use. I reuse them a few times, but, because they are made from polyester, they are not recyclable. I am still using the box I bought about four years ago, but, once they are used up, I might consider a different alternative. In the meantime, I'm accumulating used dryer sheets and hoping I might find a project I can do with them, to use them up!
So far, today, I've put aside a used tea bag, the coffee filter and grounds from my daughter's coffee, and the egg shell from my breakfast to be composted.
Participating in the ZWW made me be more aware of what I was disposing of, although I try to recycle or compost what I can. I think one week (five days, actually) is not sufficient, but, it is one way of raising awareness.
Did you participate in ZWW? If so, how did you do?