Where community and environmental literacy come together:
Relax. Sit down. Enjoy. Connect.

July 15, 2011


Reduce our trash for a week? How'd we do it??

Andree' took the week to pay attention to what her and her family do well and don't do well regarding trash in their house.

She found that her family's strengths included recycling, composting, limiting packaging, reusing plastic bag/plastic containers (i.e., yogurt containers, etc), and re-purposing/getting second hand materials. That will come in handy during no consumption week!

Her family struggles with things that aren't as conveniently set up in their home. For example, she rarely remembers to recycle toilet paper tubes because they are put in the bathroom trash, not in the trash next to the recycling. Coffee filters and coffee - her "compost" goes directly to her chickens, so she doesn't put her coffee grounds in it. She made an effort this week to walk them out to the green waste bin rather than putting them in the trash. She decided that she should still use them, so she set a tupperware next to her "chicken treat" bin on the counter to gather the grounds for her plants.

She is also planning to make some reusable, washable "ziplock" bags out of an old jacket.

Charice carried around her own "spork" for the week so when she was at a conference for two days she didn't use any of their plastic silver ware!

Aaron decided to be a rebel at the grocery store and instead of separating his veggies, use only one bag! I didn't want to butcher his cleverly written story so here it is in original form:

"I was at the Grocery store, trying to fight the unacceptable trend of vegetable appartheid that has gripped our produce sections nationwide. I did the unthinkable. I rejected the notion that vegetables should be kept separate, that each one needs its own container. I ripped one produce bag from the spool. I pried one little green twist tie into my hand. Then I picked up a few carrots, and placed them in the bag. I felt a rush of adrenaline at the anticipation of my next move, as I walked left and lined myself up for the first act of rebellion.

Another spool of bags taunted me from next to the greens. "Keep 'em separated" it whispered to me through the lettuce-wetting mist. I ignored it. The pulse-pounding adrenaline of my rebellion reached a new level as I took my spinach and lowered it into the bag. High on my anti-segregation activities, I pranced over to some fat looking mushrooms and added them too, just to show I meant business. What a rush; I got tunnel vision from the thrill, and I reveled in the knowledge that a balding middle-aged man watched me with bleary eyes and a slack jaw.
I came down from the excitement as I moved on to buy garbonzo beans and minced garlic. A creeping sense of dread snuck up on me, and nagging doubts appeared in my mind. The mushrooms may have been a folly. Did I take it too far? There was something unnerving about my plastic produce mix; the variety of colors was at once fabulous and terrifying. I knew I was going against convention, and I got strange looks from all around the store. I overheard someone call me a hippie, and I felt like I was drowning in a fluorescent world of negativity.

I had to leave. I HAD to leave. But I knew my diverse produce bag would be an unimaginable detriment at checkout. So I walked up slowly and avoided eye contact. Hoping it would attract the least amount of attention, I put the bag on the conveyor belt in the middle of everything. But despite the sneaky placement, the green, orange and white showed through the opaque bag in the distinguishable shapes of the veggies to which they correspond. The conveyor belt advanced as my nerves rose. Now there are only four items between my highschool-age cashier and my non-segratory produce bag. Now three. Two. One. And my youthful cashier, eyes hidden behind a thick mask of makeup, picks up the bag, feels through the plastic at everything inside, and looks at me piercingly. I thought the gig was up, that my attempts at being a good person had entered a harsh checkout-line judgement zone. Then she smiled. "I don't know why more people don't do this. It seems stupid to take a bunch of bags if everything fits into one."

Maria also had a similar reaction when she brought her own ziplock bag to get bulk granola from the grocery store. She was worried about how they would react but the cashier just smiled and said "Oh! that's creative!".

To keep track of everyday trash, Maria set aside a small paper bag under her sink to separate her trash from her roommates. She is happy to say that the majority of the trash (minus one piece of saran wrap and the plastic wrapping of an ice cream container) was all food scraps. Now she's just gotta find a way to compost it! She has gotten around throwing many things away by saving containers. She turns jars into drinking glasses and uses containers from yogurt and hummus etc as containers to bring lunch to work!

At work she was able to recycle paper and keep a pile for scrap paper when we are testing printing and her garbage looks pretty empty besides those few nasty gum wrappers!

Crystal cleaned out every closet in her house over the weekend while her sister and mom were here from AZ to help. She did not throw away one thing! Instead, she had a pile to donate, pile to recycle and things to turn into rags. She listed a few things on KSL for free and donated other things to the DI. She ended up with 5 garbage bags of stuff and none of it ended up in the trash bin!

As far as her day to day household garbage, she is recycling and reusing but needs to get a new compost bin and get to things before her husband does so that he doesn't throw them away! Still a work in progress :)

Thanks for tuning in to our no trash week! We hope you can try some of these strategies for yourselves and your families. Let us know how it turns out and stay posted for next weeks no consumption week!!

No comments: