November Trash

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November trash amount

A busy month behind me, including my birthday and my first field trip with 37 middle school students; this month brought with it, yet again, its highs and lows in regards to zero waste.

Starting with the highs:

+ first successful ZW road trip (see Road Trips 101)
+ bought my first bamboo toothbrush (Brush Naked)
+ bought a duo stainless steel lunch container (LunchBots)
+ bought a bamboo hairbrush (Olivia Garden)
+ above purchased with a birthday gift certificate

Now the lows, starting with my shameful Styrofoam container:

– sushi date leftovers put in a Styrofoam container
– napkin from a cookie tin gift
– twist ties from produce
– produce stickers
– found dried up super glue in cupboard
– found old plastic straw in cupboard
– a prong broke off my hairclip
– rubber piece from eyelash curler; replaced and gave away
– burnt macaroni that perished in the oven
– package shipping sticker
– random packaging: cream cheese, feta plastic seal, olives plastic seal, chocolate wrapper (gift), cashew bag (gift)
– glow stick bracelets: convinced to wear this at Halloween
– many receipts

There are some avoidables and non-avoidables in there.  I could have avoided the Styrofoam by bringing a container and assuming I’d have leftovers.  I could have found an alternative to cream cheese for a soup recipe, and prepared a container for olives (bulk is an option here).

Produce ties and stickers get me, especially in the winter when there are no farmers’ markets.  Receipts I get every time I buy groceries.  There are also those times when things just break; it’s annoying, but I will use my hairclip until all the prongs are busted.  Does anyone have sustainable alternatives to hairclips?

Those are my November trash totals.  I love reading updates from everyone else and seeing how they fare each month.  It gives me new goals and challenges to strive for!  How did you do in November?

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17 thoughts on “November Trash

  1. You are going great! I have yet to work out a really polite way of saying I don’t want your gift because it is wrapped in a kabillion layers of packaging. So far I have been saying thank you, accepting the gift and then subtly talking about my efforts and hoping the next gift will be unpackaged. Is there ever a nice way to say I don’t like/want your gift because it is bad for the environment? I haven’t come up with one! Well done on your efforts, great to see!!

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    • Thank you! I honestly haven’t found a good way either; to be fair, most of my friends are aware of my efforts and really do their best! I doubt anything I say will convince my 88 year old Oma though 🙂

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      • My friends are slowly getting there. My family on the other hand are not. They need constant reminding. I reminded my dad the other day not to wrap my christmas present and he just laughed. I am unsure if this means it is already wrapped or he thinks this is a bit of a joke. I will wait and see. I think I just need to be better at communicating that this is the way I am living now, and how important it is to me. Maybe I am not conveying this well. I will keep trying!!! As with you, I hold little hope with my grandmother 🙂

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    • I just picked up Zero Waste Home from the library again and gave it to my mom to read. She’s supportive but kind of confused, so I’m hoping it will help. Other people always screw you up the worst, but it’s because they care so I’m trying to appreciate the thought more than bemoan the waste.

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      • Getting them a book is a great idea. I think I may have a zero waste family dinner and tell everyone that it is zero waste and then explain what I am doing and what it means for me and also for them. I absolutely appreciate that they care and that is why they have bought me a gift, I just feel that maybe my message is getting garbled somewhere. Hopefully the dinner will set everyone straight. My younger sister understands, I will recruit her to help me. I hope the book helps your mum. Thanks for the idea 🙂

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    • They’re exciting products! The only thing about the receipt paper is that it can contain plastic and harmful coatings, so it may not be best for the compost, especially if you’re using it on a vegetable garden. It’s worth looking into. If it’s just regular paper that’s not cheating at all; it’s a lot better to compost paper than to recycle it 🙂

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      • Hadn’t thought about coatings – oops!
        I was wondering whether composting or recycling was better for paper. I have been ripping up and composting all paper and cardboard recently just because it keeps my household more aware of how much we use. It’s great for aerobic digestion in our compost bin, but wasn’t sure if it was the “right” thing to do! Thanks for that 🙂

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      • Paper and cardboard are awesome for compost, especially if you don’t have a lot of yard waste, like leaves, that add the carbon materials needed for breakdown. Some receipts are just normal paper, but I usually find those in smaller local shops, or just thrift shops. The other receipts have the glossy coating, and BPA typically too. Bah! Well, good luck 🙂

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      • I didn’t know that about receipts- I thought they were compostable. I usually recycle them, but maybe I should be composting *if* they’re regular paper! As for the to-go container. I always carry such gear in my trunk and that came in handy last weekend when we had leftover pizza. I ran across the street and begged my husband not to accept a box while I was gone! 🙂 Great job on all your highs. I always find that I learn from my lows, as I’m sure you do too :). Can’t imagine a field trip with middle schoolers- I teach K/1. Maybe you can’t imagine a field trip with them?!

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      • Hahaha absolutely spot on with the last sentence! I definitely admire K/1 teachers 🙂 I for sure learn from the lows as well, so I’m trying to get into the habit of not calling them “fails”; if I didn’t experience lows to learn from, there wouldn’t be much of a journey to blog about now, would there? 🙂

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  2. I also struggle with those produce twisty ties, although they’re better than the hard plastic container alternatives available here. You could check and see if you have a local scrap yard that takes metals that can’t go in curbside recycling? I’ve been able to separate the metal and paper from mine, recycle the paper part, and am saving the metal pieces with other things for a trip to the scrapyard someday.

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