June 28, 2012

Conscious Waste Project: Finale

In an effort to reduce my families waste, I'm starting Marvelous Adventures' very first series. The theme of the series is quite simple: Zero Waste. We're focusing right now on what goes in our garbage can - the recycling can will be dealt with another time. Feel free to learn from our mistakes

Week Four Results
Again, another sucky week. I'm still working with training my mom to not stop by the grocery store on her way home. She did that three times this week, and we ended up with so much junk food I wasn't able to grocery shopping all week. Which means, I wasn't able to try any elements of the project (refusing receipts, getting bread and cheese bulk, telling the kids no to processed foods, etc.) I'll continue to work on my courage, but this project is now done and over with. In about 3 months I'll update you on the changes we've made since the end of this project, and how it's affected our weekly garbage output. Stay tuned - and wish us better luck!

Last Week's Trash
Total: 3 1/2 bags worth
  • Leftover food (2 stale bagels, hotdog bun, strawberries, sandwich, chicken noodle soup)
  • Food Packaging (Saltines, danimals yogurt, strawberries, tomato soup, yogurt, rice cakes, cheese sticks, caramel syrup, icecream bars, hot dogs, hot dog buns, butter, cheese slices, frozen berries, candy, yogurt, donuts, bacon, etc.)
  • Wrapping paper
  • Bandaids
  • Ziploc baggies
  • Freezer bags
  • Bathtub cleaner bottle (last bottle - never buying packaged cleaners again)
  • Tissues
  • Cough drop wrappers 
  • Plastic dish scrubby (it's been shredded, no longer usable. We have 2 more to use before we switch to sponges or something else)
  • Plastiwrap
Improvements Made
On top of the weekly project, little changes are being made as problems are realized and research is done. Our budget for change is incredibly limited, so we tend to make the changes that are cheap and will save us money first.
  • Made our own desserts (cheesecake, scones and strawberry rhubarb pie)
  • Switched to fair-trade liquid castille soap
  • Started using our first cast-iron skillet (I'm absolutely in love with it. It's my baby.)
  • The monthly clean-down of the house was done zero waste (and will continue to be done that way). We used baking soda, a scrubber, a microfiber wash cloth, broom, mop and castille soap. Simplest, easiest cleaning ever. :)
  • Switched the whole family to hankies (we're completely through the last box of tissues we will ever buy!)
Improvements to Make
These are improvements my family hopes to make in the near future. Go ahead and try a few if you want.
  • Use a reusable pepper corn grinder
  • Ask farmer that we get our meat from to have an alternative packaging method besides shrink-wrap
  • Toilet-train my little brother
  • Make our own yogurt 
  • Grind our own coffee beans
  • Get coffee in bulk
  • Tackle the junk mail
  • Finish the band-aids, switch to gauze and paper tape
  • Make our own almond/peanut butter (apparently there's fire retardant in the packaged stuff)
  • Make our own pasta (not available in bulk here)
  • Switch to refillable pens (we're still working our way through the plastic dollar store ones)
  • Find a replacement for freezer bags?
  • Get raw milk in glass jars from local dairy
  • Switched to a reusable sea salt grinder (we can get sea salt in bulk)
  • Switch to an electric razor
  • Buy toilet paper in the paper packaging instead of plastic
  • Buy cheese and deli meat in jars at the counter
  • Buy floss in the little packs, instead of individual flossers - a lot less plastic. 
  • Buy bulk beans, rice and grains
  • Switch to loose-leaf tea
  • Can our own pickles (not available in bulk, but we cannot live without them)
  • Can/freeze our own spaghetti sauce (again, cannot live without. Spaghetti is a weekly staple that is not subject to change)
  • Make my own almond milk
  • Get honey in bulk (local health store carries it) 
  • Make our own hotdog buns
Previous Posts in the Series:
Week One: No Wasted Leftovers
Week Two: Less Packaging
Week Three: The Bathroom 
Week Four: Courage
What's your zero-waste journey like?

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