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?
I think you did a pretty good job of being aware of your habits and what you may or may not want to change. There are a lot of issues out there that affect our natural resources and sometimes if you focus on only one that could be at a determent to others. As you pointed out, the amount of water you might use to clean something enough to be recycled might not be the best way to use what you have where you live. Then you have to decide what's more important--the water supply or the land fill. Both are important and compromises have to be reached.ReplyDelete
Thank you, Live and Learn. Yes, it is a multi-faceted thing. Wash and reuse is fine if there is sufficient water. I am also glad that, this week, Dancer didn't throw up, because I use paper towels to clean up and then, toss the paper towels in the trash. I could use a rag and then, wash the rag, but, again, I am not sure I want to do that, either!Delete
I absolutely love your blog!ReplyDelete
This is my first time commenting but it is the first one I turn to each day.
Used dryer sheets can be used for dusting or stabilizer for quilting projects when you are piecing.
Have a great day,
Hi, Helen. Thank you! I'm so glad you decided to comment. :) Thank you, too, for including your name, because, in general, I don't publish any anonymous comments (too much spam!)Delete
Yes, I now remember that I had read about using used dryer sheets as stabilizer for patchwork! I think that's what I will do with my dryer sheets. :)
I look forward to hearing from you, again.
I am big on composting. Like you, I make my own laundry detergent; I also make soap. I take my one magazine subscription to the local library, and they give them out to patrons. I cook almost all of my meals at home, and reuse containers from sorbet, gelato, etc. I wash my dishes by hand.ReplyDelete
I have always wanted to make my own laundry detergent, but, I haven't tried it, yet. Haven't made my own soap, either, although I always admire you and others who make soap.Delete
I think the recycling issue is enough to drive us nuts. Our rules keep changing and now we can no longer put plastic bags in the recycle box, nor black plastic containers that mushrooms sometimes come in. I reuse plastic bags as much as possible for garbage in the kitchen, even if they are not full size for the bin under the sink, so some of them do get a second use. I take shopping bags to the store all the time and avoid getting the plastic shopping bags unless I need a couple. I think we could do a lot better if there was not so much packaging on non-food items. Those plastic and cardboard containers that are a struggle to open are particularly bad. I no longer use dryer sheets as I believe they are toxic (although good for repelling mice from cars), and I have a couple of dryer balls to soften up the clothes. If I hang towels outside and they come in stiff, 10-15 minutes in the dryer on cold with the dryer balls will loosen them up.ReplyDelete
Bushlady, thanks for the idea of the dryer balls! I have never used them, but, will try them, sometime.Delete
I'd completely forgotten about dryer balls but they will solve my problem so will look in to getting some.Delete
I found that most of my waste is from over packaged goods and the plastics that can't be recycled. All the rest either goes to kerbside recycling collection, skip recycling, compost bin, or I reuse in some way (usually for freezer things).
Eileen, I read that one can made dryer balls with 100% wool, rolled up into balls and felted. I have a sweater that I knitted, which got felted when my daughter washed and dried it (she disregarded my instructions to wash it by hand!) - I am thinking of making some dryer balls with it!Delete
That's a good idea, Bless. My own dryer balls are plastic and I wrapped them in old cotton socks and fastened them with a few stitches, to lessen the noise they make!Delete
Thanks, Bushlady. I was at Walmart, today, and saw dryer balls, selling for $4 something for a package of two. I considered buying them, but, I am going to see if I can make some, instead. :)Delete
I haven't used fabric conditioner for years. I rarely use the dryer so I don't have any dryer sheets either. I must investigate d/w powder. I went over to tablets along, long time ago. (a) They seemed less messy (b) my friend had to take her toddler son to hospital after he managed to get her box of powder and eat some of it! Tabs seem safer. But I no longer host a young mums group at my house...ReplyDelete
Yes, the dishwashing powder can be messy when pouring out, although my box has a pour spout. I generally wash my dishes by hand, but, I've been told I should run the dishwasher at least once a week to keep the hoses from drying out, so, about once a week or once in 10 days, I collect a couple of days worth of dishes and wash them. The box of powder I have has lasted me for a long time!Delete
I think you did really well with your efforts to reduce your waste. Like Live and Learn said, sometimes just being more aware helps in the changing of habits.
I try really hard not to waste water or any resources. I have a water barrel and water my plants with that water. It's reduced my water bill in the summer months greatly and it feels good to do things that way. Plus every morning in the summer I empty my dehumidifier into s bucket and use that in the garden too. I have a shady backyard and live in a much cooler climate than you so those efforts usually suffice and keep me from using the hose.
I am keenly aware of food waste and really keep an eye on what we have and what needs to be used up.
It's good to read about your efforts - it will keep me more mindful of my own.
Thank you, Debra. Yes, often, being more aware is the first step! It sounds like you are doing a lot to conserve and use resources wisely.Delete
I considered getting a rain barrel, last winter, when it rained so much! But, I didn't. Maybe I will look into getting one, this winter (and watch, it will be a dry winter! LOL). I did collect my shower water to reuse to water the plants during the drought, but, I've got out of the habit of doing that.
I used to be very good about not having food waste, but, lately, I've noticed that I don't always cook what I buy before it spoils or don't eat everything I cook and it sits in the fridge for too long. :( Not a good thing.
The Dollar Tree sells lingerie bags for washing. They re light enough to use for holding produce instead of plastic bags. The washing of bottles and cans to recycle bothers me since I try to conserve water, too, even though we get 60 inches per year. dryer sheets used on items keep them from absorbing moisture--diapers, towels, etc. Use old dryer sheets to cover hole in pots where you plant flowers or vegs. I use plastic jugs o ALL Free and then use the jugs to store water for flushing commode or some washing use is the water is off. I am allergic to powders.ReplyDelete
That is a very good suggestion for produce bags! Thank you! Good suggestion for the dryer sheets, too! :)Delete