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Trash – No Impact Week

Trash, trash, trash, today was all about trash, and producing less of it. Here’s our refuse from today:

Tuesday's Trash

  • 1 plastic wrapper from an Ecover automatic dishwashing tablet
  • 1 plastic band from a jar of sauerkraut
  • 1 mysterious piece of plastic wrap found in the bag of gifts brought home from a family Boxing Day party
  • 1 brown paper toilet paper tube
  • 1 tissue paper toilet paper wrapper
  • 3 paper wrappers from individual bags of black tea
  • 1 green plastic mesh bag that held Brussels sprouts
  • 1 heavy stock paper card that held a ring child M brought home from school, a gift from a friend
  • 2 pieces plastic-coated wire that held ring to the aforementioned paper card
  • 1 plastic balloon and curling ribbon child A brought home from an after school birthday party
  • one small piece of tissue paper with plastic foam sticker, remnant of one of Child M’s art installations found on floor
  • Assorted food waste – Jar in photo holds trimmings from aforementioned Brussels sprout, leftover baked potato from the kids’ plates, and stale tortilla chips discovered in the kitchen. Not pictured: 1 unbleached paper coffee filter with grounds, 3 bags of black tea, drifts of dog hair and crumbs swept from the floor, and unidentified bits of food from the sink trap.

And here’s where it’s all headed:

To the landfill:

  • plastic band from the jar of sauerkraut
  • plastic balloon
  • plastic-coated wire pieces from ring packaging
  • plastic foam sticker from Child M’s art piece

To the recycling bin:

  • plastic wrapper from Ecover dishwashing tablet
  • paper card that held ring
  • tissue paper from Child M’s art piece

To Child M’s “Imagination Station” at school:

  • toilet paper tube

To be re-used at home:

  • curling ribbon from the balloon – for future gift wrapping or art projects
  • tea bag wrappers – for grocery store lists, then tinder for fire pit
  • toilet paper wrapper – to wrap fragile items for transit and/or tinder for fire pit
  • mysterious plastic wrap – to be washed and re-used to cover food in the fridge
  • green plastic mesh bag – for collecting wild mushrooms (the spores can fall right out onto the forest floor), or for beach glass and marine plastic collecting trips (sand and muck can be washed right out without losing items)

Food for hens, worms, and compost:

  • all food waste and organic floor sweepings

This was a pretty typical day for  us, except for the balloon and the packaging from the ring – We don’t attend after school birthday parties and receive swanky presents from friends every day, after all. Still, I’ve learned over the past year of monitoring our plastic intake that almost every week brings items to us that we didn’t select ourselves, but that become ours nonetheless. So this atypical stuff is actually fairly typical, over the course of the week or month.

Both of my children take their lunches to school each weekday, and we’ve managed to make those close to zero-waste. We pack their food into various stainless steel containers, using unbleached natural waxed paper when necessary to protect things that need to stay dry. They each carry a cloth napkin (we collect them at garage sales and thrift stores) and steel or wood utensils in their cloth lunch boxes, and take water in their steel bottles with plastic lids. M took an organic turkey frank in her lunch today which came in a plastic package with its meaty brethren, but that package won’t enter our waste stream for another day or two.  They each bring home all leftover food bits/peels/waxed paper wrappers, so that we can add those to our chicken/worm/compost buckets. I work primarily from home, but I have the same kind of containers and utensils for myself to use whenever I eat or drink away from home.  I also keep a package of bamboo utensils in our car, so we can pass on plastic utensils when we’re eating at a potluck or to-go from a restaurant.

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