April 20th - 26th 2008 Garbage Tally

Find out what other people have been trying not to waste during No Trash Week and share your own stories and opinions about the event! All comments are welcome, regardless of how much trash you are actually eliminating. We'd like to hear about what's been successful, what's difficult, and how you feel about the process. Feel free to jump in midweek or send comments after the event if you are trying it out at a different time!

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Day 1

Elise writes:
Unfortunately, I have already made some trash... So far I've tossed the seal to a new bottle of saline solution (each bottle usually lasts me about 4 months), a sticker from an organic pear, and the unrecyclable sharp metal top to a can of cat food (the kitty eats one can of cat food in about 5 days). I have also eaten some shared food which was made from ingredients with disposable packaging (cheese, matzo mix, chicken, cream, butter, pasta). I will be able to reuse the jar my pasta sauce came in, but it will eventually break or get recycled. I would like to see the glass jar industry standardize jar shape so we could return our jars to the grocery stores for pickup and reuse directly by sauce companies.

Brandi writes:
It's usually more convenient to make less trash on the weekend, but it's harder to manage when you go to an event.
foil from potluck baked potato, 1 paper napkin
1 paper program from church (which I plan to hang on to for a bit but will eventually recycle)
2 receipts (2!) from the coffee shop
1 gigantic receipt from Safeway
2 veggie cans (recycled)
We went into the coffee shop specifically to get a 'for here' drink in the middle of a long walk and even asked for no receipt. But the barista ran my card as credit rather than debit so ofcourse, unnecessary garbage. I'm going to try to carry more just-in-case cash on me this week.

Ashley writes:
I rode the bus to work today (as usual) armed with a nalgene bottle for water and a reusable thermal mug for coffee/tea to drink throughout the day. I drink a ton of liquids at my desk, which as you can imagine means lots of visits to the women's room. Consequently, for the first time I am realizing I use about 15-18 paper towels every workday (there are no dryers provided, and it takes 3 towels to dry each time!). Today I brought a clean, terry-cloth hand towel and have been taking it with me to the restroom. It's almost no hassle, the towel is so much softer to use than scratchy paper towels, and I'm saving lots of trash!

Jared writes:
Thrown out: Square of wax paper from deli pizza
Recycled: Root beer can
Used from containers that will eventually be discarded: toothpaste, deodorant, flossing stick

Margo writes:
- Trash -
fruit leather wrapper
plastic top to broth carton
tape/sticker from onions
floss
dustpan full of living room sweepings
birth control
- Recycling -
broth carton
2 grocery bags of junk mail, newspapers, magazines, etc (it was house cleaning - we generate that about every 4 or 5 ish months)

Day 2

Elise writes:
11:30 a.m. - Oops, without thinking I had some cookies which came on a circle of unrecyclable waxed paper... so that's one thing in the trash so far today. I've also had some rice milk which comes in a carton with a plastic cap, and the carton itself will have to be recycled eventually. I would like to see milk and milk substitutes sold in bulk from dispensers like they sometimes have in cafeterias. Many of us already refill our soap and olive oil containers, so why not milk?
9:30 p.m. - After some morning mistakes, the rest of the day has been going pretty well. The only thing to report is a few inches of thread from a shirt fixing project. However, I still have to go to the grocery store tonight, so I will have a receipt to recycle later. I'll go with empty paniers so it can hopefully be my only purchasing event of the week.
I learned tonight that a thin stick with a layer of my bath towel over it works almost as well as a q-tip for drying out my ears after showering, so I guess I can stop buying q-tips!

Jared writes:
Thrown out: Tissues
Recycled: Receipt
Used from containers that will eventually be discarded: toothpaste, deodorant, flossing stick, shampoo

Margo writes:
- Trash -
vitamin wrapper (they are individually wrapped calcium supplements)
apple sticker
tea bag (why didn't I compost it? I dunno, I forgot and tossed it without thinking)
banana stickers (I made banana bread, so there were about 3)
break cables (got my bike's cables replaced - they were in need)
- Recycling -
tea bag wrapper
strawberry container

Day 3

Elise writes:
Technically this morning, but I was still awake from last night... I threw out a string of dental floss. I had washed and reused it from the night before, but it started to disintegrate and became useless. I also used a work-provided towel for my shower after biking to the office and the stack of clean towels had been wrapped in shrinkwrap. I will use the towel a few times before sending it back to be washed, but from now on I will try to remember to keep my own at work instead. Then yet more floss got tossed as I prepared for my dentist appointment. At the appointment, I managed to rinse by cupping water in my hands rather than using a disposable plastic cup from their provided dispenser, but I'm sure there were a few disposables used during the procedure that were sent to the landfill on my behalf :( For dinner, I was half responsible for a small receipt from the teriaki restaurant. I think the ingredients use for the food mostly came without much packaging. Restaurants like that tend to get rice, vegetables, and sauce in very large quantities, without much wrapping, but I'm not sure how they buy their tofu or dispose of their fry oil. We brought our own wooden chopsticks to use, but I somehow lost one of them on the way home, which somewhat negated the effort, expecially since we stopped home first for the sole purpose of fetching the utensils. I should get in the habit of keeping a small set of utensils in the car for situations like this.

Margo writes:
- Trash -
vitamin wrapper
2 small plastic cups
napkin
tissue
q-tip
- Recycling -
2 reciepts

Jared writes:
Thrown out: A couple tissues, plastic bag and lable from suet package
Recycled: Receipt
Used from containers that will eventually be discarded: sunflower seeds from 25 lb. bag

Day 4

Elise writes:
One plastic bread bag and one waxed paper cereal bag re-trashed, a piece of plastic wrapper I found abandoned on the kitchen floor. I also peeled off a 2 square foot sheet of paint which was coming off the make-shift lid to our backyard compost - it's better that it will no longer be chipping into the soil where we grow our veggies, but now it's headed to the landfill instead, which also sucks. Ohhhh, I really want some ice cream. I miss the self-serve soft serve cones they used to sell at PCC... it was a wonderful trash-free dessert. Dinner tonight was bulk-purchased organic brown rice with dumpstered salt from a reusable glass spice jar and a stirfry of organic broccoli, organic local mushrooms, and parsley grown in a friend's garden, sautéed in bulk-purchased olive oil.

Margo writes:
- Trash -
vitamin wrapper

Jared writes:
Thrown out: Just tissues

Day 5

No notes yet for this day.

Day 6

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Day 7

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After Thought - Overall, how did it go?

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