Thursday, June 23, 2011

My family is going on a "trash diet"

My family is going on a "trash diet" for the next month. No, this doesn't mean that we're going to focus on eating unhealthy foods- it means that we're going to try to reduce the amount of waste that we produce in our home! We're participating in this with the help of Seattle Public Utilities and The Glad Products Company.  Here's a bit about the program, from an email that I received:
 ...the City of Seattle has a goal to divert 60 percent of its municipal solid waste to recycling and composting by the year 2012. But did you know that recyclable paper and compostable food scraps make up more than 30 percent of our landfilled garbage?

The Glad Products Company sent us all sorts of useful things, like a garbage can with a recycling bin built in, a new compost bin, and a bunch of trash/compost/recycling bags.  In addition to those products, we received some personal support and training, thanks to a home visit from Candy Castellanos, a waste diversion project manager at CleanScapes.

During Candy's visit, she gave us some great information to help in our quest to cut down on our waste production. We went through the lists of what can be recycled and what can be composted and what belongs in the trash.  Thanks to a very user-friendly recycling program here in Seattle, we were doing pretty well on the recycling front, but there were some things that we were recycling in error and some things that belonged in the recycling that I was putting in the trash.  We also talked through the compost program- even living in a city condo, I'm able to collect my food scraps and the city uses them for compost.  This is a newer program for my building, so this was especially useful information for me.

Although a lot of the information that I received from Candy is specific to my city's recycling/compost program, she did have some great tips that can be put into use anywhere. The first suggestion is to put away my paper towels and use reusable cloths instead.  This is a big one for us- even though I have cloths that I can use, they're in a drawer, so I default to grabbing the paper towels instead. And we go through a lot of them- which means a lot of waste!  We're also going to switch from paper napkins to cloth napkins for the next month- if it works well though, we'll stick with it!

Another suggestion for reducing waste while also having fun was to do recycled art products with my kids. It's summer now and I'm looking for ways to keep them entertained- what better than an art project that uses things we were going to throw away! 

I'll be blogging during the next month about our trash diet and how we're reducing our waste. Stay tuned!

Here are some resources that Candy shared with me. Many are specific to Seattle (so if you're local, definitely check these out!), but others are more general and contain information that would be good for anyone to read.


·         Seattle “Recycling Game” (Seattle Public Utilities)
http://web1.seattle.gov/spu/recyclingIQgame/

·         King County Household Hazardous Waste information
http://www.lhwmp.org/home/HHW/hhw.aspx

·         ReUsies (washable, cloth snack and sandwich bags)
http://www.reusies.com/
·         Recycled arts & crafts resources
http://weeklytips.cleanscapes.com/2011/02/get-crafty/
·         US EPA Kids Club
http://www.epa.gov/kids/club/

·         Washington Farmers Market Directory
http://www.wafarmersmarkets.com/washingtonfarmersmarketdirectory.php


·         Take It Back Network (CFL bulb and electronics recycling)
http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/takeitback/index.asp
·         E-Cycle Washington (electronics recycling)
http://your.kingcounty.gov/solidwaste/takeitback/electronics/index.asp
·         Packing peanut drop-off directory
http://www.loosefillpackaging.com/pages/hotline.htm
·         Styrofoam recycling
http://www.styrorecycle.com/

·         ReTex Northwest (shoe and clothing recycling)
http://www.retexnorthwest.com/default.htm
·         “Weekly Waste Reduction Tips” e-newsletter
http://weeklytips.cleanscapes.com/
·         “Beyond Waste at Home” checklist
http://www.cleanscapes.com/upload_files/CS_BeyondWaste_at_Home.pdf
·         TerraCycle
http://www.terracycle.net/

·         Kids Books
Choose to Recycle by Elizabeth Bewley
10 Things I Can Do To Help My World by Melanie Walsh Recycle! By Gail Gibbons
Where Does the Garbage Go? by Paul Showers
The Three R’s: Reuse, Reduce, Recycle by Nuria Roca
Don’t Throw That Away by Lara Bergen
Trash and Recycling by Stephanie Turnbull
Easy Going Green by Julie Radlauer-Doerfler (these are 52 flash cards for kids)
Disclosure: I received products from The Glad Products Company and the home visit from CleanScapes to help with this blog program. I was not compensated in any other way and all opinions posted here are mine and mine alone.

2 comments:

Mama Spaghetti said...

What an interesting idea! I hope you post a follow up about your "Trash diet." I'd love to know what worked and what didn't!

I wanted to say thank you for stopping by my blog and entering my giveaway. I hope to see you around again soon!

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