June 2, 2012

Conscious Waste Project: Week Two

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. Feel free to learn from our mistakes

Week Two
Week One Results
No Wasted Leftovers 
Cooking more towards the kids' taste was harder than I thought - they're favorite foods tend to be unhealthy, and heavily packaged (which would reduce our food waste but increase our plastic waste, which is worse). Cooking in smaller portions worked perfectly - if we were still hungry after dinner, there were snacks (nuts, dried fruit, fresh fruit, etc.) and leftovers. 

The most surprising thing, though, was that once I committed to eating the leftovers in our fridge instead of making something new, it became surprisingly easy. I'm hoping to make a habit out of it.

And while my amount of food waste actually went up this week, it was because of the annoying coincidence that the first day of the project a ton of food in our fridge went bad. :P

Project 2
Less Packaging
Now that leftovers are rarely being thrown away, our biggest trash-producer is... food packaging. Thankfully, this one is easier than most to fix.As a family, we'll be focusing on a couple things to decrease our food packaging:
  • Buying in bulk (Safeway and the health food store offer this)
  • Shopping for produce at the farmers market
  • Making our own yogurt, bread and condiments such as ketchup
  • Avoiding packaged foods whenever possible
  • Gathering wild foods (mushrooms, onions, wild berries and meat such as fish are widely available in my area)

Last Week's Trash
Total: 1.25 garbage bags
  • Leftovers (mac and cheese, some disgusting guacamole, pepperoni, canadian bacon, spaghetti, and 1/2 can of soup)
  • Food Packaging (Coffee, jell-o, muffin mix, hot pockets, popcorn, waffle cones, crepes, peanut butter seal, cheese-slice liners and shrink wrap, yogurt container, honey seal, yogurt seal, big container of swiss miss, cliff bars, and fruit stickers)
  • Baby wipes
  • 3 disposable diapers (the box is 6 months old, and now empty. We won't be buying more.)
  • Plastic packaging for the disposable diapers (very last box!)
  • Ziploc - 3 baggies, mom succumbed to the temptation of a whole box 
  • Plastic packaging on a speed ball pen and ink kit (bought in December)
  • Tissues
  • A few plastic scraps from broken toys, and a broken toy car
  • Safeway and library receipts
  • Band-aids
  • 1 paper napkin (where in the world did that even come from?)
  • Broken necklace (non-recyclable, made of some rubbery-plastic stuff)
  • Toilet paper packaging 
  • 9 Cupcake liners (never using them again)
  • 5 milk caps
  • 2 disposable razors
Improvements Made
On top of the weekly project, little changes are being made as problems are realized. Our budget for change is incredibly limited, so we tend to make the changes that are cheap and will save us money first.
  • Use reusable produce bags at the grocery store
  • Got rid of our plastic dishes
  • Switched to glass jars instead of Tupperware
  • Switched to a down-cycled cat litter (made out of old newspaper, at least it will decompose at the dump now) 
  • Quit using garbage liners/bags
  • Quit using cupcake liners
  • Make our own muffins, without the mix
  • Recycled the last of the plastic bags at Walmart
Improvements to Make
These are improvements my family hopes to make in the near future.
  • Switch to handkerchiefs instead of tissues
  • 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
  • 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
  • Make our own desserts/treats instead of the prepackaged stuff (candy bars, jell-o, cake, etc.)
  • Make our own pasta
  • 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
  • Make our own yogurt
  • Buy cheese and deli meat in jars at the counter
Previous Posts in the Series:
Week One: No Wasted Leftovers
What's your zero-waste journey like?

1 comment:

  1. Hi! I'm so proud of all the changes you're making. I was wondering, is your family as committed as you are to reducing waste? Are they willing to change?