Zero Waste

dtrammel's picture

We all know the usefulness of cutting back on the waste we put into the ground. Composting aside, inorganic waste and one use plastics are a blight on both our present and our future. Isabel Montes over on HarpersBazaar.com has an article about her year of cutting waste.

The Ultimate "Zero Waste" Guide for Beginners

(I must first say that I find it hard to believe she cut her waste down enough so that it fit into a mason jar like she pictures. Second, I had to laugh that all five of the top articles were about the recent Met Gala. If there is a poster child for waste, that event clearly is one.)

The article does have some good advice. I liked the idea of having glass jars with their weight printed on them, for bulk purchases of grains and rice. I'll have to check to see if some of the stores I use will accommodate their use.

Freezing your organic waste and then dropping it at a composting site, is useful for a small household like mine, just one person and a cat, which doesn't generate much organic waste as it is, though I do plan on a composting bin once I'm no longer renting.

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BTW, earlier in the year I had a discussion with one of our members about holding a month long online "zero waste" project, where we'd dedicate a temporary Circle on the forum and try and cut our waste down as much as possible. There might be online/skype type get togethers too. Is this something that would interest people?

I think it is good that the Zero waste media personalities draw attention to the issue. You are right that it is not always comparing apples to apples. For example, the health food store gets a box of almonds which consists of cardboard box, tape, inner plastic bag, and the almonds. They put the almonds in a bin and a person comes in with a glass jar or washable cloth bag and buys some almonds. So this is better than buying a small amount in yet another plastic bag. But, it is NOT less trash than the family that directly case buys the 25lb box of almonds and takes them home in the cardboard box and plastic bag liner. The second case has more "trash" at home, but both are responsible for the creation of the same amount of cardboard/plastic bag liner. So when comparing waste streams, you would need to discount bulk bought waste since this is the same either way. This is only a consideration of bulk bought things, like a household who buys the entire 5 gallon container of soy sauce, dishwashing or laundry, case or bag of a good, entire 5lb block of cheese, etc..... If you household does not go thru that much of an item, then yes, you should bring a reusable container to the healthfood store and fill up your soysauce jar, dishwashing dispenser, get your cheese wrapped in paper, if you can find a place that does that, etc....

I would happily take part in a measure your waste month.

If you are not composting or burying your cat litter or dog poop on site, this counts as waste. All "recyclables" count as waste. But, many have no choice on the animal waste so we should have seperate columns for that -- so a category for "animal waste" ; compostables sent off site to an actual composting program ; Everything else, ie., " trash" or if people want they can keep track of how much is clean paper, aluminum cans, glass......

Right now I am buying milk ( in a glass jar), and I am sure that a years supply of plastic bottle caps will more than fill a mason jar

Still, I think doing all these things is the way to go, just saying that we dont realy know where our recyclables go and if they are realy recycled alot of the time. Still WAY better than palstic packaging

Hi David,
I've never done this but I've been told this works beautifully for apartment dwellers:

Worm composting.

They make undemanding pets and the landlord will never know.
They eat your organic food waste (with certain caveats about meat and strongly flavored veg) and turn it into worm castings and worm tea for your potted plants.

You might want to look into it, especially if you raise any veg like tomatoes or lettuces in your apartment.

Teresa from Hershey