Inching Along Towards Green

One week trash challenge
January 12, 2009, 7:43 pm
Filed under: Recycling, Zero Waste

One of the things that got me to really look at my trash and recycling was Sustainable Dave’s 365 days of Trash.  He kept all of his trash/recycling for 2007 in his basement and charted it on his blog.  All premised on the idea that “away” as in throwing something away isn’t gone, just moved to another location.  Anyhow, his blog became a source of fascination and inspiration for me.  He concluded his year by making a challenge to others to keep their trash for a week in January. 

Well, my husband is supportive of my recycling and even bought me a worm composter for Christmas, but saving all of our trash (or even just mine) would be pushing his boundaries a little too far.  So I settled for logging it, spreadsheet style.  What I found was that I generate less than one pound of landfill trash and about 1.5 pounds of recycling per day.  The whole family creates about 20 ounces of food waste per day, about half of which goes to the worms.  Here in the Pacific Northwest, our wet weather makes winter time composting a challenge, so the extra goes down my garbage disposal. 

What I discovered in the process: 

I create more trash Monday through Friday than on the weekends.

I have increased my recycling and general awareness (good), but still have a lot of non-recyclables in use in my home (bad).

I need to look at the recycling number before I buy packaged goods.

I need to eliminate packaging whenever possible – buy bulk.  We are lucky enough to have a food co-op in one direction and  a Winco in the other, both about 20 minutes from my house.  One trip per month would save both money and packaging.  On granola alone (which my son eats for breakfast) – QFC $7.00 per pound, Food Co-op $3.68 per pound, and Winco $1.58 per pound.  Since cost savings is a huge driver for me, I vote Winco!

I should make it myself when I can – this eliminates packaging and is usually much less expensive.  I make my own maple syrup and it is much cheaper than buying it at the store.  I keep it in the fridge in a juice bottle.

When I screw up, I shouldn’t be too hard on myself, just try to do better the next time.


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