Friday, July 1, 2011

Our trash diet- week one

As I mentioned last week (in this post), my family is going on a trash diet as part of a program that's been organized by The Glad Products Company and Seattle Public Utilities.  Last week we had a home visit with a waste diversion project manager, after which I was ready to get going!

Then I got to thinking and realized that if I wanted to really do a quality experiment, I would need a control to compare my results to. Why yes, I am a scientist. Why do you ask? :)   So this week was a week of tracking our waste for my control list- keeping a close eye on what we're using and where we are producing the most waste and where we can make cutbacks.

First off, the stats. For this week we produced one kitchen bag full of actual garbage.  We also emptied our compost bin into the building's yard waste once.  And we produced five bags full of recycling.

I'm actually pretty happy with how we're doing in regards to trash and food waste. The items that we do end up having to throw in the garbage are few, and they seem to be small, so they don't take up much space.  I'm going to try to cut back further on that though. We've already eliminated paper napkins and I have purchased some kitchen towels to use in the place of paper towels. I also placed an order on Etsy for some cute reusable snack/sandwich bags.

I'm not happy with the amount of recycling that we generate though. Even though it's not going to a landfill, it's still entering the waste stream.  But cutting back on our recycling isn't as easy as cutting back the other areas, since the majority of our recycling is from things like sparkling water bottles and soft drink cans and containers for the kids' single serve snacks. Reducing our recycling waste stream is going to involve changing some habits that we've gotten really attached to. I know these changes will be good for us as well as for the environment. We're going to try switching back to drinking water from our filter pitcher and drinks from pitchers in our fridge, rather than single serve cans.  I also need to get back to using my yogurt maker and making our own yogurt, as another large component of our recycling is small yogurt containers.  For the kids, I plan to start buying larger size packages of snacks and portioning them out in our reusable bags or reusable containers.

Stay tuned next week to see how we do!

Disclosure: I was not compensated for this post, but did receive products from Glad and information from CleanScapes to help with our experiment. All opinions posted here are mine and mine alone!


Melissa said...

Wow, seems like your "control" has really got you thinking! I would have been proud enough of myself for having so much more recycling than garbage... but you've gone even further to think about how to reduce all that recycling. Hmmm, now you've got me thinking, too...